As a newly minted M.V.P., McCutchen, 27, will have his own platform. He is the first African-American player to win an M.V.P. award since Jimmy Rollins in 2007, and he has a chance to make a positive impact in an area of increasing concern to baseball.
“I think it’s huge that McCutchen is one of the faces of Major League Baseball,” said Cliff Floyd, a retired outfielder and first baseman who works for MLB Network.
“I think that’s going to help. When you look at this game, we know the percentages. In my opinion, the only way to change that is to have guys like McCutchen step up and win M.V.P.s. That’s the only way you’re going to see this game get back to the point where African-Americans believe this is a great game.”
Black players from the United States made up 8.5 percent of opening day rosters this season, down from a peak of 19 percent in 1986, according to a study by Mark Armour from the Society of American Baseball Research.
McCutchen said he grew up rooting for Ken Griffey Jr., who was the A.L. M.V.P. in 1997, when McCutchen was 10.“He’s someone I wanted to emulate, someone I wanted to be like,” McCutchen said Thursday. “He was definitely a big influence on myself when it came to playing the game and choosing baseball. I feel like I can be an influence in that.
“Baseball and the players union, they’re doing things to try to expand the game and give knowledge to kids and show them that baseball is fun, baseball is a great sport to play, and they’re doing everything they can to spread that word. I’m going to do everything that I can to spread it with them.”
Posted: November 15, 2013 at 06:53 PM | 9 comment(s)