General discussion and observations about life in these United States. Topics include politics, economics, and general commentary.
Published on June 3, 2007 By jdkeepsmiling In Baseball
Here is the statistic: 8.4% of Major League Baseball players are currently African American, as opposed to over 15% just 10 years ago. This has quite a few people in the baseball world rightfully upset and worried. So what are the causes for this decline?

Many people cite economics or college scholarships as the reason. They say that blacks are more likely to get a scholarship for football, and therefore that is where they invest their time and talent. Also, with more scholarships given in football then in baseball ,the sheer odds are better that they will receive a football scholarship.

Then there is the race card. Detroit's own Gary Sheffield, who I actually think is a rather standup guy, had to throw it out recently. He claims that African American's are passed up over Latinos because they are "harder to control." He states "I called it years ago," Sheffield said, "What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out." Sheffield went on to say that MLB picks Latin players over equally talented African-Americans because they're easier to control. I personally think that is a load of crap. There are many upstanding young black players coming into the league. The great thing about sports has always been that talent trumps color. THat is what Jackie Robinson was all about. Sport has always been the great equalizer. If you can play ball better then everyone else, no one cares if you are Japanese, Samoan or Canadian.

I think that a columnist for CNNMoney hit the answer on the head in his column (Link Below). I encourage you to read it, but he basically says that the rise of the Latin player is simply due to economics. Because players from other countries are not affected by the draft, good scouting replaces lottery chances. It is simply a better return on invested capital to look outside the US. I have not been able to find the percentage of MLB players who are Caucasian, but i bet that had dropped almost in step with African-Americans. This once again would not be racism, but rather strict economics.

So what is needed is not a huge investment in urban baseball fields, although is is great in it's own right. What is needed is a comprehensive look at the MLB draft and the way that talent is brought through the system to the major league level. Because baseball, more than any other major sport, draws international talent, this must be addressed. Until it is, the owners have only their own best interests in part and MLB will not move forward on this issue.Link

Column Link:

on Jun 03, 2007

Am I playing the race card if I ask why there isn't the same levels of concern for the apparent decline of jobs for whites in the sport?

Yeah, I know that 'we' (us whiteys) get some of the jobs.  But then we also have to make sure that any jobs that open up in the front offices are offered to minorities.  And then we have arguments over whether the jobs have gone to the right minorities, or why the minoroties were passed over in favor of whitey.

Baseball has been in decline for 'America's' Youth for some time now.

Sadly kids just aren't interested in it.  They'd rather play basketball where they get to score more quickly, and aren't as dependent on others (teammates) to get their wins.  Maybe soccer where they can kick the ball around and run up and down the field.  Or, maybe video games of many different types.

I don't think any of this is happening because of some grand conspiracy on the part of the MLB to pick more controllable players.  If the talent is there to be found, I'm sure that MLB would love to find it and put it to work as a future star to help bring in millions and millions of dollars for the robber barons that own the teams.

on Jun 03, 2007
What bugs me about this is that blacks seem to be the only minority that matters. As you rightly point out, baseball is a truly international sport. Are you suggesting that baseball teams blacklist the best qualified players and promote players through the minors to meet a color quota on the major league roster? That's patently absurd, and racist.

on Jun 03, 2007
"In 1995, according to figures from the University of South Florida's Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the NBA was 82 percent African-American. By 2002, the percentage fell to 78."

Yes I Understand, the decline of white people in basketball worries me as much as the decline of blacks in baseball worries you, To think that many fine white athletes are passed over because they can't jump {heh heh} I mean to think that only 18% of all professional basketball players were not black in 1995 and in 2002 only 22% of all professional players were not black makes me wonder if some kind of racial thing is happening to white players. Are they being passed over because the color of their skin? I must wonder if the whites are making teams due to some kind of quota, meaning that there must be at least one or two white players on each team.
on Jun 03, 2007
I am no way advocating such a system as quotas. What I am saying is the fact that international talent can bypass the draft hurts the chances of ALL American players of the game, and rigs the system against them. Because teams can acquire talent for lass money elsewhere that is what they do. All players wishing to enter the majors should go through the same system. This way talent will become the trumping factor that is should be. This will help the game and ALL players, regardless of race. I believe that what we really have here is a falling percentage of Americans (any color) in America's pastime, and some of that is due to pure talent, which is fine, and some is due to economics, which is absurd, when it can be easily remedied.
on Jun 03, 2007
What I am saying is the fact that international talent can bypass the draft hurts the chances of ALL American players of the game, and rigs the system against them.

As far as I know, ANY player can bypass the draft. Baseball is known for holding a lot of open tryouts, especially at the minor league level.

As far as international players (yes, I am a Mariners fan), in Japan, they play ten years before they get their release. I believe they should be allowed free agency, but that's not my position to decide. Whatever the case, they should not have to stand in line for the pseudo wealth redistribution of the draft (which is usurped by free agency ANYWAY).
on Jun 04, 2007

As you rightly point out, baseball is a truly international sport.

And the "World Series" is becoming just that!  The decline in the percentage of blacks in Baseball is only racist when one categories Sammy Sosa as "non-black" just because he was not born in the USA.

Personally, I dont think it has to do with Race, the Draft, Handling or any conspiracy.  It has to do with teams wanting to win, and going anywhere in the world to get the players to do just that.