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Blacks in Baseball (HBO Real Sports)


pacopete4
"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.
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Thanks for whoever helped me out with labeling it.
"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.
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Interesting watch... but when Rock points out the lack of color on the Stillman College team (saying there's only one black player), in the team photos there are clearly two light-skinned black guys in the bottom row. Not saying it disproves his larger point, but still.
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Good video, though he doesn't really explain why there has been a decrease since his mid-1980s hypothetical. Evidently the games have gotten marginally slower, but I doubt that has much impact at all.

 

In terms of black players, there are a lot of issues. One of which is that NCAA nonsensically caps baseball scholarships (versus basketball or football - football teams get like 70 scholarships for some absurd reason), which makes it much harder for lower-income players to go to college and/or focus on baseball.

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Good video, though he doesn't really explain why there has been a decrease since his mid-1980s hypothetical.

 

This was one of my main thoughts as well. The unwritten rules of baseball existed in the mid 80's as well, maybe even more-so.

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Good video, though he doesn't really explain why there has been a decrease since his mid-1980s hypothetical.

 

This was one of my main thoughts as well. The unwritten rules of baseball existed in the mid 80's as well, maybe even more-so.

Agreed. During a Bob & Brian radiothon here in Milwaukee, Robin Yount once spoke about a great story in the early 80's where Kent Hrbek (a rookie) laid Gumby out at 2nd base. He never really slid, just basically ran Gumby over. So the ensuing inning, Yount comes to the plate and gets on first. And as luck may have it there is a ground ball to 2nd base. So Yount takes out their SS. Without hesitation Vukovich and Ted Simmons made a bee line for Kent Hrbek and pounded him good. Yount "There are times where retaliation is needed and he had it coming" ... "he had to learn that isn't the way how to do it"

 

That story would never happen today

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I've tried to quantify why there are fewer black men playing baseball. Maybe the increase in competition from around the world is primarily responsible. Possibly, but I don't think so.

 

One thing that has struck me is that high school athletes don't play as many sports as they used to, choosing to concentrate on one. When was the last time we had a two sport star like Bo Jackson, or even a Deion Sanders? I know that Russell Wilson wants to play baseball. I don't know how good he is, or if he even has a realistic shot at the Majors. It could be that he's in camp more as a publicity draw.

 

But let's be honest here. Yes, the NFL offers a much shorter career span. I don't know what the average career is now across all positions, three years? Four? The NBA may not have that extreme, but I believe the average career length is shorter than in baseball, too. Fewer players per team, and I would think the risk of injury in the NBA is somewhat higher. More leg injuries jumping up in the air, and coming down hard on somebody else's foot.

 

But, the one thing that both the NFL and NBA offer over Major League Baseball. The chance to play right away. And if I'm a young black man, and incredibly talented athletically, with equal upside in all three major sports, what would look most attractive to me? If I sign with an NFL team, I have a chance to compete for a starting job right away if I'm an offensive talent. Even if I'm a defensive talent, or not a front line starter, I still have a great shot to make the team, even as a special teams player. NBA? One and doners abound. Most of the really good kids you saw in the NCAA 64 are going to be in the NBA this time next year.

 

Then, there's baseball. The big talents will sign a nice contract. They'll get a few million up front. But to reach the Majors, they still have to spend a few years in the minor leagues proving they can hack it at the Major League level.

 

Is it that the other sports offer the chance to play now, where baseball makes even the best talents go through the kiddie leagues? Is that drawing young black athletes away from baseball?

 

I think it is a combination of these things. More competition from around the world, and the chance to play right away in the other sports.

 

Of course, I could be way off, but I don't think I'm that far off the mark.

There are three things America will be known for 2000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball. They're the three most beautifully designed things this culture has ever produced. Gerald Early
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In baseball you are looking at probably at least 6 years before you see any real money. 3 years in the minors and 3 in the majors. If you are really good.

 

Baseball isn't as easy of a game to pick up as football or basketball. It is much more difficult to practice with just a couple people.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9186117/why-african-americans-play-pro-baseball

 

The committee members need to see the industry of youth baseball for what it has become: A business enterprise designed to exclude those without the means and mobility to participate. Over the past 15 to 20 years, the proliferation of pay-for-play teams in youth baseball -- and the parallel proliferation of parents willing to pay for them and coaches willing to cash their checks -- has had more of an impact on African-American participation than anything another sport has to offer.

 

THIS. You want to understand why african american youth dont participate and stick with youth baseball? Its because the cost outweighs the benefit in the short-term, not the long-term, and the cost makes the long-term unattainable.

 

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/left-out/

 

read McCutchen's story. Its more about family economics than pretty much anything else. baseball has become more suburban over the years, making it tougher for inner city youth to participate in leagues. On top of that, the NFL and NBA champion their inner city programs, so if you had to choose between programs that are easily and readily accessible, where you see your peers finding success? no question.

Posted: July 10, 2014, 12:30 AM

PrinceFielderx1 Said:

If the Brewers don't win the division I should be banned. However, they will.

 

Last visited: September 03, 2014, 7:10 PM

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Baseball is expensive to play is reason #1. Except you take a look at the Latin American kids who learned to play using a wad of tape for a ball and milk jug for a glove and that's worked out pretty well for them. But the other reason is scholarships. I don't know how many D1 football scholarships are typically given out but it's a heck of a lot more than baseball or any other sport. If you want to excel in a sport with the intent of getting a college scholarship, football is the way to go and it's not even close.
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Baseball is expensive to play is reason #1. Except you take a look at the Latin American kids who learned to play using a wad of tape for a ball and milk jug for a glove and that's worked out pretty well for them.

 

Little League participation is down across the board in America.

 

That said, i saw something on TV a few years ago on this topic and they mentioned how in many larger cities where large amounts of the black population lives, things like baseball diamonds were often either badly uncared for or vanished completely, leaving kids nowhere to play. Little Leagues in those areas no longer taking place. So for those kids, it was a lot easier to simply grab a basketball and shoot hoops at random playgrounds.

 

I think about when i was a kid, there was a baseball diamond at a park about a mile from where i lived. The park was well kept up, including the baseball diamond. Friends and i would walk there all of the time in summer to hit and just practice. Then i also joined Wilson Park Little League which was very well run. Had there been no diamond anywhere near me to play around at with friends and/or no Little League near me to join, odds are i never would have invested so much time playing in my youth and instead would have spent more time say shooting hoops.

 

Now, i wasn't good enough to play beyond through high school, but had i been a better talent to make it to the pros, i'd have never known that without access to a park to practice at and a Little League to join. So with so many of those places no longer available in mostly black neighborhoods for the kids to play on and a lack of black faces on MLB teams for kids to look up to, it's all combined to what we see now, few black faces on MLB rosters. Most black youth want to be the next Jordan or LeBron, without even thinking about being a major league baseball player.

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I took it as more of an entertainment piece rather than true social commentary

 

First of all, the Negro Leagues players played the game "the right way"

 

Secondly, there is no such thing as one singular Black culture. There are Black scientists, Black nerds, Black people who can't dance, Black people who aren't athletic, Black people who like Country music, etc etc

 

Rock is perpetuating a lot of stereotypes in that piece. The percentage of White Americans is also decreasing in MLB. The ratio of White Americans to African-Americans in MLB might still be fairly similar to what it was in the the 70's/80's

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!
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There are four major sports (excluding soccer). Three have an ethnic composition that is far out of whack from the general population. Baseball is actually the closest to the general population.
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I've tried to quantify why there are fewer black men playing baseball. Maybe the increase in competition from around the world is primarily responsible. Possibly, but I don't think so.

 

One thing that has struck me is that high school athletes don't play as many sports as they used to, choosing to concentrate on one. When was the last time we had a two sport star like Bo Jackson, or even a Deion Sanders? I know that Russell Wilson wants to play baseball. I don't know how good he is, or if he even has a realistic shot at the Majors. It could be that he's in camp more as a publicity draw.

 

 

AAU is a scourge on the earth that must be eradicated.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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The landscape for all youth sports has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Kids that show talent in a sport are pressured into specializing by 11 or 12. Baseball gets less of the athletes because in most of the country it can't be played for much of the year because of the climate. In large metropolitan areas, there's competition just to make a high school team in sports like basketball and soccer. Spending your summer playing baseball puts kids way behind their classmates in the other sports.

 

Bottom line is the kids that do play a lot of baseball are better prepared that their counterparts were in the 60's and 70's but there's just not as many of them. About 15 years ago, there was a black kid in suburban Chicago by the name of Bo Flowers. Flowers was the prototypical 3 sport star in high school. He was a D1 recruit as a QB, a top basketball player and a dominant pitcher/hitter in baseball. He was drafted by Tigers in 5th round out of high school, but found the going rough in pro ball, never making it past class A. My guess is that he just struggled against kids in the low minors that played a lot more baseball than he had growing up. I think eventually he went back to play college football somewhere if memory serves but he was out of baseball entirely by his 23rd birthday. Those are the kind of guys that used to make it with regularity but specialization has made it tough on the all around athletes.

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look at the first link I posted, it shows where 2014 MLB players grew up, and it's predominately California, Texas and Florida.

 

http://www.besttickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Player-Map.png

Posted: July 10, 2014, 12:30 AM

PrinceFielderx1 Said:

If the Brewers don't win the division I should be banned. However, they will.

 

Last visited: September 03, 2014, 7:10 PM

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look at the first link I posted, it shows where 2014 MLB players grew up, and it's predominately California, Texas and Florida.

 

http://www.besttickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Player-Map.png

 

I think that map would look pretty similar for the NFL too. Another thing to consider regarding this map and baseball is that California, Texas, and Florida also have large hispanic immigrant populations.

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look at the first link I posted, it shows where 2014 MLB players grew up, and it's predominately California, Texas and Florida.

 

http://www.besttickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Player-Map.png

 

I think that map would look pretty similar for the NFL too. Another thing to consider regarding this map and baseball is that California, Texas, and Florida also have large hispanic immigrant populations.

 

And, y'know, weather you can play baseball in year-round.

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

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look at the first link I posted, it shows where 2014 MLB players grew up, and it's predominately California, Texas and Florida.

 

http://www.besttickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Player-Map.png

 

I think that map would look pretty similar for the NFL too. Another thing to consider regarding this map and baseball is that California, Texas, and Florida also have large hispanic immigrant populations.

 

http://www.besttickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/NFL_2014-14.png

 

while those states do represent a large majority, the entire south east/east coast dominates the sport. baseball is far more skewed to those three States than the NFL

Posted: July 10, 2014, 12:30 AM

PrinceFielderx1 Said:

If the Brewers don't win the division I should be banned. However, they will.

 

Last visited: September 03, 2014, 7:10 PM

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I can't speak to the minority aspect, but being involved in Little League has given me some perspective on youth participation in baseball.

 

We get huge turnout in T-ball and Coach Pitch at younger ages. Most of the Moms or Dads had played and want their kids to try. As they age, they usually go from 3-4 activities to 1-2. In suburbia, soccer is taking many of the best athletes. Maybe it's basketball in the urban ones. Baseball and softball in our area see much greater drop-offs in participation than soccer.

 

The biggest difference I see in kids that stick around with baseball and those that move on is parental involvement. Baseball is a harder skill to develop than soccer at younger ages. At 8, in soccer it's just go run around and kick the ball...with AYSO there is also more of an outlet for the average player. In baseball, someone needs to spend time with the kid to learn how to throw, catch and hit. When we were kids, we hopped on a bike and played 500 or pickle with our buddies. No longer. Parents either need to get them to practice, lessons or play with them in the backyard. If the parent isn't involved, the kid won't stick. Baseball is also a tougher game to watch at a younger age. Soccer takes an hour and even if they stink they can hide and get some exercise. Baseball puts all the kids in the spotlight and can take forever. Too many kids drop off if they aren't good early even if they are decent athletes.

 

I love baseball. I'm an involved parent and my youngest daughter has taken to softball. We spend a ton of time practicing together. It's a great bonding experience for the two of us. She likes it, but if I didn't spend the time with her on it she wouldn't be doing it. We do lessons occasionally and I am amazed the lengths that parents will endure to get their kids to the place she takes lessons. There are kids of all races and backgrounds there and they all have one thing in common...a parent(s) who's willing to sacrifice either time or money to get them there. For the more competitive kids who do travel ball, etc...the parents have to take it up even more.

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This doesn't have to do with any one race but I know that numbers in baseball struggle after kids get off of the small diamond at the age of 12-13 years old and enter the game on the big diamond. Kids lose interest because pitchers do not throw strikes well enough yet at 60.6 and most kids do not hit the ball out of the infield which really is a boring game to watch and play. This leads to a lot of stand around time and kids move on to other sports where they are more involved (seems like lacross has made a dent) or video games. I know some areas have tried making an intermediate field to play on but if not all places are using this, it is hard to go places to play.
"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.
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