March 18, 2004

The few, the proud: Number of black starters dwindles in majors.: A Miami Herald article notes that MLB this season will have half as many African-American starting pitchers as Antonio Alfonseca has fingers on one hand. Cause for concern? What is the cause?

posted by werty to baseball at 12:32 PM - 6 comments

A few days ago I ran across an interview with Jim “Mudcat” Grant and Al Oliver that touched on this subject. Particularly interesting is their disappointment with the way the RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner cities) program was being handled.

posted by Jugwine at 01:00 PM on March 18, 2004

Isn't this coming at a time when there are more Latino players than ever? And aren't black players pretty much dominating the starting lineups in NFL/NBA? Why is this a concern?

posted by billsaysthis at 07:31 PM on March 18, 2004

Exactly, the real story should be how many non-americans are getting positions. It's all spin.

posted by usfbull at 08:44 PM on March 18, 2004

Interesting article. Thanks Werty. The cause for concern, according to my comprehension of the article, is that baseball, for all its beauty, is in trouble: it is not attracting the better athletes. It is loosing the larger marketing war against other sports. That this phenomenon might be particularly strong in the African-American community is more worrisome to some than others. That, historically, there may have been a systematic rejection of black ball players to pitch is also mentioned, although given today's state of pitching I think we can rule this out as a contemporary reason. Although maybe not: racism tends to attract other behavior which one might classify as "stupid". (Note: I am not an African-American. If I were to align myself with any group as such it would be American-French-Canadian at which point, culturally speaking, I would likely have little to say about baseball. But I do love the game. Football and basketball are just fillers for me.) I personally think that fighting this war is a loosing battle. Major League Baseball needs to work within its own "space" and stage the battle within itself. It will never compete with football and basketball. Indeed, it should not. That competition is akin to museums competing with movie theaters as just another entertainment venue. That's not what going to a museum is about and baseball should not be about the same feeling one has when going to a football game. /veer off topic

posted by Dick Paris at 05:42 AM on March 19, 2004

The cause for concern, according to my comprehension of the article, is that baseball, for all its beauty, is in trouble Oh yeah, let's get out the violins and do some crying together!

posted by billsaysthis at 09:25 PM on March 19, 2004

Well it kinda bothers me a little, speaking as a black woman who is a big baseball fan. There's such a tradition of great Black American players in the sport. Nowadays, I'm lucky if I see more than a handful of other black fans in the stands much less on the field. I wonder if my (as yet unborn) kids will even be interested in it. Granted my kids will also be mixed race and I need someone out there more appealing than slimeball Derek Jeter. More than anything, I'm just curious about the causes of the decline. ESPN2 did a article about this a year or two ago too.

posted by Marla Singer at 01:43 PM on May 07, 2004

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