Monday, April 16, 2012

Black People Don't Play Baseball. Who Cares?

Yesterday was Jackie Robinson day around baseball as you might have noticed if you turned on the Yankee game and wondered why Mariano Rivera was so much whiter and playing every position. To honor the pioneering Robinson everyone wore his number 42, and it's a classy tradition that MLB has done for a few years to celebrate a truly great player who accomplished a lot for minorities everywhere. Unfortunately, this day also means we have to hear the requisite hand wringing articles and commentaries about the lack of black baseball players problem. Stuart Scott referred to the "troubling" statistics that the Major Leagues are only 8% African American now on Sportscenter. Yes, it's true that there are less and less black players every year, but it's not a problem at all. The truth is black people don't like baseball. That's it. They're not beating down the doors of major league teams only to be turned down by racist owners who want an all Dominican baseball league on American soil. They just aren't interested.

Part of it is the lack of resources in urban areas and the expense of playing baseball i.e. equipment, traveling with a team. But even more than that, black kids just aren't that into you, baseball. Get over it. You've been replaced by more exciting sports like basketball and football that promise immediate huge pay days for those involved as opposed to years riding a bus in the minor leagues. And the "action" of baseball seems absurdly slow to a generation of urban youths raised on hip hop. Basketball arenas routinely play Dr Dre and Kanye beats while the teams are bringing the ball up the court. Besides when A-Rod steps out of the on-deck circle, can you imagine "Niggas in Paris" playing during a baseball game? It just doesn't work. So black kids aren't growing up to be baseball players, does that mean we have a racism issue at work here or Jackie Robinson's achievements were all a waste? Not in the slightest, African-Americans don't want baseball, not the other way around. That's not some kind of tragedy like Jason Whitlock or some other writer searching for a noble cause might want to believe but a simple fact of life. The fact that black athletes have the choice to reject baseball is something that even the original number 42 would be proud of.

1 comment:

  1. A good point, and a better reason for the decline than "there's so few black players, we have to do something about this possible racism." I'm pretty sure no sport, no matter how steeped in a history of questionable ethics, would turn away exceptional athletes, whether they be from the US, DR, or Iraq.