Skip to comments.A Different Take On Jackie Robinson
Posted on 04/16/2014 7:28:08 AM PDT by LeoMcNeil
Yesterday wasnt just tax day, it was the 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. For those games not washed away by rain or snow, teams wore #42 jerseys in his honor. ESPN, as usual, used the anniversary to lament the dwindling number of black baseball players. The number of blacks playing major league baseball has gotten extremely low in recent years. It goes right along with a massive decrease in the number of black kids playing baseball and going to baseball games. In many ways the decrease in black interest in baseball dates back to Jackie Robinson.
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What stopped you from posting your full content, Leo?
Don't like it? Stay home.
All this navel gazing racial nose counting is getting really boring.
Especially when directed at one particular sport but not at another.
There are a few reasons for the decline of black ballplayers. One is that many black young men play basketball or football. Nowadays, in high school and college, players are discouraged from playing other sports. They are encouraged to specialize and play just one, which for many black athletes ends up being football or basketball.
Another reason is the huge influx of foreign players in the major leagues. American born players of all races are competing with increasing numbers from Latin America and Asia. Arguably some American born players from all backgrounds are being squeezed out by Latin and Asian players.
Good point. Rather than navel gazing about the decline of black ballplayers, we should be happy that there is no discrimination any more. Best players get to play. If there are not as many black ballplayers in the pipeline to the major leagues as in previous decades, it is not due to discrimination.
Nobody would ever navel gaze about the sharp decline of white American born players in the NBA, would they?
To the best of my knowledge, there are presently no barriers that keep black athletes from playing baseball.
I would conclude that less black athletes simply don’t want to play baseball. They choose to use their skill sets on other sports or in other professions.
Besides, with everything being called racism these days I'm beginning to doubt the public's ability to recognize the real thing.
I see LeBron James was whining that he doesn’t make as much as Miguel Cabrera. If I were Cabrera I would suggest that James play 160 games per season before whining about only making only $19 million per season.
After all, being superior althetically blacks dominate the NBA and the NFL; were it not for racism they would dominate MLB.
I feel so cheated. /s
Here's a thought: baseball takes more dedication and discipline than other sports; and the black community doesn't value commitment. It is hard to achieve in baseball coming from a broken home, surrounded by addictions, with no positive male role model. Now is that waaaaaayyyycist?
LeBron has a big ego, doesn’t he???
Sheesh. LeBron has no problem paying his bills. Let LeBron get with his agent to re-negotiate his contract if he’s so underpaid. Geez louise........
Scan the crowd of an NBA game and you'll see pretty much the same. Same with the NFL? Maybe it more ticket prices than disinterest?
I agree, fewer black kids want to play baseball. I’m simply exploring reasons why that may be.
Lebron James makes considerably more if you look at it according to number of games played in a season.
$19 million for approximately 80 games in the NBA vs $21 million for 160 MLB games.
So if I am reading the article correctly, you are saying Blacks liked baseball when they could see all black players. When the MLB allowed blacks, blacks spectators still only wanted to see black players and not any of the white players on the teams.
So Blacks don’t like baseball anymore because Blacks are racist?
LeBron is complaining about $21 million vs. $19 million? Geez, they are both well into the allegedly evil 1%. They are both set for life financially if they handle things properly. What’s the problem with him? Just big ego??
To borrow a phrase from Hillary - at this point what does it really matter? And it this case since no one is dead and no one is being denied access to anything what does it really matter?
I think one of the big reasons why we don’t see blacks at baseball games is that integration destroyed the negro leagues, which were the baseball outlet for black fans for half a century. When the Dodgers left Brooklyn their fans didn’t become Yankee fans. I think the same applies here. Fans of the local negro league team didn’t become fans of the local major league team. That trickled down 60 years now to the point where baseball is less favored by young black athletes compared to basketball and football.
And what’s the plan to get more white, Asian, and Native American players in the NBA?
Only if we apply ridiculous leftist logic to the situation.
I would disagree with the notion that baseball requires more discipline than football. Historically the negro leagues offered very competitive baseball.
The reason fewer Black kids want to play baseball is because of the disproportionate number of MLB Players who are known Blog Pimps.
These poor kids are trying to elevate themselves out of he cycle of moral turpitude and sociopathic dependency that is endemic im blog pimpery.
That is clearly the case. Baseball, compared to football and basketball, requires patience and a certain discipline.
There is no "instant gratification" in baseball. A player does not move directly from college to the "big leagues". Natural athleticism is important in baseball, but there remains several layers of acquired skills that must be mastered as well.
Playing the game correctly involves more self-discipline than other sports -- there is no "showtime" in baseball. Moreover, there is an unspoken "code of conduct" among the players that reinforces this self-discipline.
Maybe that is because there are few black families. No Dad to play catch with in the backyard means all the young black athlete can do is practice his grandstanding for when he makes a tackle or run, basket or rebound.
Add to that the fact that baseball requires a lot of practice and game experience to reach MLB level as compared to someone dropping out of college as an underclassman to enter the NFL or NBA draft and it is easy to see why the black athlete follows the path of least resistance.
More often than not, a baseball player is capable of making a Major League 25 man roster after his 800th to 1000th lifetime game from Little League, Senior League, High school, American Legion through college and/or the minors.
And then there is a little thing called trouble with the curve...
Advancement to major league baseball can be a lengthy process. The transition from HS to collegiate & the minors can take years. Money is limited and the chances of career-ending injury are always looming in the background.
Contrast this with basketball. An economically disadvantaged player who is also physically gifted can play as little as 1 year of college basketball before going into the NBA lottery. Plus that rookie contract could set you up for life.
Football also offers accelerated paths to the NFL though the money is not entirely guaranteed.
For many teenage athletes playing professional sports is about the lifestyle. I just to think that professional baseball offers quite the same in that area.
Leo, who-—besides you and, possibly, a bunch of power-mad federal bureaucrats and race hustlers-— even cares about what races are or are not represented in professional?
Why SHOULD anyone care? I thought we all bought in to what Martin Luther King, Jr. said way back in the 60s.
With some exceptions it takes class to play baseball, I see little in football and none in hoops.
One thing I’ve noticed among black MLB players is a fairly high rate of players who have both parents who are still married.
And I think we can agree that the era of the negro league was decidedly different than today; thus an unfair comparison. The negro community isn't producing the men that rose from that era: that is my point.
One of the best sports articles I have read is how Jason Heyward of the Braves made it to pro baseball. His commitment from the age of 15 was incredible, but another aspect highlighted was the amount of money and time it took from his family.
His dad drove 80 miles per day to have him practice and play. He played on one of the best travel team organizations in the country, East Cobb in the Atlanta area. He practiced with his team 6 days per week, even after games they had practice. In addition, from the age of 15, he hit 1,000 balls per week, apart from what they did at team or school practice. He is a great natural athlete, and still had to do all of that to make it to the big show.
All of those things, as I can personally attest with a promising young player myself, costs money and a time commitment from the whole family, which I’m sure is abundantly present in the inner city communities.
Those wringing their hands about the lack of black players should take a realistic look at the incredible effort it took from Heyward and his family, and see how that is the limiting factor for most other players, regardless of race. It takes a lot of time and money in the USA to develop the skills to be a pro-baseball player.
“....which Im sure is NOT abundantly present in the inner city communities.”
I personally couldn’t care less if there is a massive increase or decrease in the number of blacks playing baseball. Numbers don’t particularly matter. I’m more interested in the reasons why there are fewer blacks because it isn’t racism keeping them from playing baseball. I’m seeking to offer a reason why blacks choose not to play baseball.
Former MS State coach Ron Polk was crucified for bringing up how Title IX was playing a role in ensuring that poor inner city kids would be eliminated from college baseball.
Baseball is passed from father to son.
Which is probably the number one reason you don’t see many blacks
Also, there’s very little showboating in baseball. The Mannies being Mannies are few a far between. For some reason Blacks are drawn to that.
Catch a pass in the endzone, even if you are down by 21 you get to dance around like a fool.
Hit a homerun and jog too slowly around the bases, or stand there admiring it for too long and you will be plunked the next time up.
Baseball is an interesting generational game that ties generations of spectators together.
My great grandparents were all serious Tiger fans and were always happy to talk about baseball till the day they died.
Im seeking to
offer a reason get some blog hits.
There, fixed it for you.
How about the fact that basketball can be played with just one net and a half court space but baseball needs a LOT bigger area;and kids are chased way from any lots big enough.And there just aren’t as many big open spaces as in days past.Especially there aren’t baseball sized lots in black urban areas. Plus the sight of young blacks or whites carrying baseball bats is likely to result in a call to police.
baseball has suffered due to the pressures that sports MUST be organized and supervised;when was the last time you saw kids anywhere playing baseball in the old fashion ?
In 2012 the MLB was 63.9% white. Thats up from the low of 60.3% in 2004. In 2013 the NFL was 29.26% white. In 2012, 78% of all professional basketball players were US blacks.
I think part of the reason that so many bullpens are full of tall athletic white lanky kids throwing 95+ in recent years is that they have started choosing baseball instead of trying to compete with tall athletic black lanky guys at younger and younger ages in basketball.
The great equalizer in baseball is hitting a round ball fair with a round bat, especially when its 90+ and your timing is messed up with slower breaking balls and change ups. If you can do that, some of the other more physical skills that might be lacking dont matter as much. Generally, the skill set of NFL and NBA requires more physical skills. Also, the skill set for baseball at the major league level usually requires very frequent repetition at a very young age, usually from fathers.
Historically college baseball didn’t produce a ton of major league players. That started changing in the 90’s. I don’t think Title IX affects baseball like it affects some smaller sports like swimming, golf, fencing etc.
There are basketball courts available everywhere, and all it takes is ONE basketball among ten players. The requirements for baseball are more complicated and expensive.
There are other reasons, too. Baseball skills are often imparted by a father. Even within basketball, the skills developed vary by socioeconomics. A good jump shot is not developed on a public court, where a player must struggle to get his hands on the ball. A jump shot is developed through thousands of shots taken at a basket at a suburban home.
Or it could all just be racism.
Most of the navel gazing is really just about revenue. When a sport loses an entire demographic they see money going away, and “why don’t they like us anymore” is a valid question to ask.
Yep, about 10,000 hours of practice.
I agree there is an undercurrent of broken families that could affect interest in baseball. Having said that, does baseball have to be passed on to father and son? If so, what makes baseball different than football in that regard?
Personally I love the end zone prancing in the NFL. I can’t imagine that the ability to prance is the difference between choosing sport A and sport B for a kid. Especially when so few have the talent and drive to make to the point where you might have something to prance about.
The showboating/jerkitude quotient in baseball as compared to football and basketball is a good point. Baseball probably has just as many jerks who would love to break out the gyrating buffoonery displays after a routine single, but there is a jerk on the mound as well. That’s why nobody moonwalks down to first after drawing a walk, nobody wants 90+ in the neck. Doesn’t even have to be the same game, series, or player. And all the players know it.
Also as has been pointed out, there’s very few superstars the minors and they rarely have entitlement syndrome, as opposed to the elite free farm systems of football and basketball.
MLB has never had a huge slice of the black entertainment dollar. They started going out of their way 10-15 years ago to try to get it without a whole lot of success. I’m wondering why that is. Obviously the free market is working. Blacks as a group willingly spend their time on money on activities other than baseball.
Actually it’s been getting discussed in MLB circles for a while. The lack of black players is a sign of the black fans. Nobody likes losing 10% of the population from their fan base, and it becomes a bigger problem when it is impacting the pipeline of quality players. No sport wants to see the pipeline diminish because that becomes a vicious cycle, when top athletes don’t want to play your sport quality of play diminishes, which reduces the fan base, which reduces the number of top players interested in your sport... Nobody wants to wind up on the “remember when” pile next to boxing.
Different strokes and all, but I can’t stand the prancing posturing and chest pounding after a 300lb behemoth falls on a loose ball. There is no self policing in the NFL. A million replay angles, the penalty system and modern officiating combined with each game meaning so much makes it impossible, at least in recent years. And I guess I like sports where the cool players can self police the mouth breathers who are really into executing fruity self-congratulatory posturing after even the most mundane of plays. Same thing with the NBA, chest pounding after a near 7 footer dunks with no defender within 20 feet of him is ridiculous.
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