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04/15/2013

Curtis Granderson nailed the decreasing number of blacks in baseball

Curtis-granderson-540x374It's Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball, the perfect time to bring up the staggering decrease of blacks in baseball these days. The number of blacks in MLB is down to 7.7 percent.

The numbers are so low that baseball boss Bud Selig has created a task force to address this issue. That's great. Good luck.

Two years ago I wrote a story on this decline and interviewed high school coaches, college coaches and a handful of major leaguers for their opinions on why this trend has not been reversed.

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson offered the best, and most real, insight:

"I know it's expensive, but I've gone to places and there are fields. You can easily get equipment donated. I don't know how you fight this one. I've heard a lot of kids just say, 'I don't want to.' That's not a black/white thing, that's a kid thing. So they play on their computer, and they say, 'I want to just stay right where I am. I'm not getting into any trouble so you can't force me.'"

Here is the problem not just for young black kids who want to play sports - baseball can be boring. This generation thrives on constant stimulation and that has never been baseball's strength. A Major League game is 3 hours, six or seven times a week, 162 times a year. That is an enormous time investment.

This is not a race issue, this is a time issue. And no sport takes its time any more than Major League Baseball.

Twitter @MacEngelProf

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Comments

Dan G

Mac, that's a good insight. But I wonder why we still have people eying the number of this or that in whatever sport. I thought we had progressed beyond that kind of quota system. If the NBA represented the true American population, it wouldn't be so black, eya think? But this is the perfect example of a real societal phenomenon being at the core of a certain trend, not racism or some perceived economic handicap. When was the last time anyone complained about the lack of blacks in hockey, by the way?

Tumbao

This is an extremely complex issue. One, yes that relates to constant stimulation but also marketing and costs. The argument is getting to, and playing in the major leagues. If this is the base of the argument, I am of the opinion that the costs of getting to that level is cost prohibitive to many talented Black/Hispanic and even working poor Whites. Baseball has become a sport of elitists. It is now on par with Lacrosse, should one want to move on to the next level. Travel baseball can range from $2000-5000 a summer without other ancillary expenses. Showcase events range from $250-$500. Gone are the days where one can move from little league to babe ruth, HS then to college or minors. Little league programs are scrambling to formulate their own travel teams, but limiting the pool to those who can afford the costs. Lets be honest, its also a business in which we have literally and figuratively bought into the idea that paying to play will surround our kids with the best talent and competition. Until access reverses to what it once was then you will continue to see the same demographics in college and major league.

Timearl

Baseball just lasts too long and it's can get boring, it has nothing to do with color. Im black and all my white friends would rather play football or basketball also because it more intense, the season isn't as long and there is action all the time. We all say playing baseball is like watching paint dry and watching it on TV is even worse, it's like watching concrete dry.

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