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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Bud Selig to create task force on blacks in baseball

Major League Baseball, alarmed by its historic low 7.7 % of African-American players on opening-day rosters this season, will announce the creation of a formal task force Wednesday to help reverse the decline, three MLB executives told USA TODAY Sports.

The executives spoke on the condition of anonymity because Commissioner Bud Selig has yet to announce it.

The 17-member committee will consist of owners, executives and coaches, including Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Chicago White Sox vice president Kenny Williams, Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and Southern University baseball coach Roger Cador.

Selig is urging them to find ways to increase the pipeline of diverse athletes to baseball, particularly African-Americans.

The African-American percentage in baseball this season is the lowest since the Boston Red Sox became the final team to integrate its roster in 1959, according to a USA TODAY Sports study that includes major-league players on the opening-day disabled lists. It’s a drop from 8.05% last season, a dramatic decline from 1995 when 19% of the rosters were African-American players, and far from the peak of 27% in 1975.

“I never thought I’d see anything like this,’’ Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday. “But I’ve seen it coming. There, for a long time, there were a lot of African-American players to look up to and emulate, but there’s not enough big stars now to dissuade them from basketball and football.’‘

...“I’m not sure there’s a way to stem the tide,’’ said Morgan, Cincinnati Reds senior adviser. “There has to be more involvement to attract athletes to come here. Let’s hope this committee will help. There’s no doubt the movie will open eyes, but after that, let’s wait.’‘

Thanks to Wreck.

Repoz Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:36 PM | 359 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:46 PM (#4409300)
Something like the most black players drafted in the first round ever happened last year.
   2. Mark S. is bored Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4409310)
Something like the most black players drafted in the first round ever happened last year.
Quiet. You're upsetting the narrative.

Amazing how the announcement is timed to coincide with the release of a movie on Jackie Robinson.
   3. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4409319)
They put this article out every April.
   4. smileyy Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4409344)
Wait, the headline says blacks, the body says African-Americans. Which is it?
   5. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4409345)
And they act like it's some great travesty that everyone should be concerned about, while I continue to not see what the big deal is. Baseball isn't going to die off from reduced interest in the sport in black communities, nor is baseball ever going to de-integrate. I guess the quality of play is a bit weaker as a result, but not in a way that I'd imagine anyone can actually notice. If the black population is harmed by a shift towards football and basketball, I don't understand how.
   6. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4409346)
Bud Selig to create task force on blacks in baseball


I initially read this as "Bud Selig to create task force on blocks in baseball." And I was like, well, I am happy to hear they're going to try to address the silliness of home plate collisions, but I didn't think they needed a "task force" to do this.

Addressing how catchers block the plate via a task force seemed more plausible to me than addressing the non-issue of blacks in baseball. (And I thought "blacks" is an offensive term now?)
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4409353)
“I never thought I’d see anything like this,’’ Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday. “But I’ve seen it coming. There, for a long time, there were a lot of African-American players to look up to and emulate, but there’s not enough big stars now to dissuade them from basketball and football.’‘


Even if true, how in the world is this a problem? African Americans are playing basketball and football now? So?

...“I’m not sure there’s a way to stem the tide,’’ said Morgan, Cincinnati Reds senior adviser. “There has to be more involvement to attract athletes to come here. Let’s hope this committee will help. There’s no doubt the movie will open eyes, but after that, let’s wait.’‘


So even Morgan, who thinks there's a problem, doesn't think the problem is racism.

So what are we doing then, exactly?

--

And I thought the low percentage of black players was a result of increased international scouting that opens the pool of potential major leaguers up to many regions around the world. Has the percentage of white players decreased? If so would this be deemed a problem as well?

It's probably also a result of an increasing mix of ethnicities in American society, which is not a bad thing, and such mixed-race players are probably not being classified as "black" or "white" -- though I'm less sure of this.

If Dominican and Latin players are increasing, is this a sign of racism?
   8. Morty Causa Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4409356)
(And I thought "blacks" is an offensive term now?)


"Krabappel? I've been calling her Crandall. Why didn't someone tell me? I've been making an idiot out of myself!"
   9. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4409363)
What I want to know is where is the task force to reverse the decline of white players? Picking a year at random, in 1940 nearly 100% of Major League Baseball players were white. Today, that number has dropped under 60%, well less than the 72% of the US' population that identifies itself as white. There's got to be a way to dissuade America's European-American youth from golf and tennis, no?
   10. Morty Causa Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4409367)
Not to mention nuclear physics and Rap.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:34 PM (#4409369)

If Dominican and Latin players are increasing, is this a sign of racism?


Who said the problem was racism?

As I see it, the number of blacks (or whites, or Asians, etc.) in major league baseball is rather insignificant. However, if a large number of blacks (or whites, or Asians) are not interested in baseball at all, that's something that MLB should look into, as it's a potential fanbase that it's losing.

From my vantagepoint, as the father of a young ballplayer, the issue isn't black vs. white, but rich (or at least non-poor) vs. poor (which may have the result of having a greater effect on African-Americans than some other groups). Baseball has become quite expensive to pursue at any kind of competitive level, even for the very young, and, as a result, the sport may not have the interest in the urban areas it once had.

That is a problem, from baseball's perspective, because if kids aren't playing baseball now, they may be less likely to follow the sport in the future. It won't signal the demise of the sport, but if it cuts into potential revenues, then MLB damn well ought to be concerned.

So yes, that's a real issue. The question baseball then must ask is a) what can be done about it, and b) what should be done about it.

The number of African-Americans playing at the highest level is only a problem if its caused by the absence of opportunity (and, to a lesser extent, interest) at the lower levels.

   12. bobm Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:50 PM (#4409375)
Major League Baseball, alarmed by its historic low 7.7 % of African-American players on opening-day rosters this season


I thought 0.0 % was the historic low, most recently in 1946.

The African-American percentage in baseball this season is the lowest since the Boston Red Sox became the final team to integrate its roster in 1959


Oh.
   13. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:01 AM (#4409384)
The 17-member committee will consist of owners, executives and coaches, including Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Chicago White Sox vice president Kenny Williams, Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and Southern University baseball coach Roger Cador.


We've found an owner for the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars.
   14. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:37 AM (#4409411)
And they act like it's some great travesty that everyone should be concerned about, while I continue to not see what the big deal is.

Having really good athletes playing your sport is good for the sport and, if case you haven't noticed, the black community churns out a ton of really good athletes. It makes all the sense in the world to try to re-engage this segment of the population.

"Baseball: Sure it's slow as hell, but not much head trauma! You might recognize your grand kids!"
   15. SteveM. Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:45 AM (#4409415)
If my years in academia has taught me anything, it is that the quality of the committee work is in proportion to the food budget.
   16. SteveM. Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4409418)
Double post deleted.
   17. TerpNats Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4409424)
It's not just that there are relatively few black major leaguers; it's that relatively few black colleges now field teams (and many of those that still do have a disproportionately high percentage of non-blacks on their roster compared to the percentage attending the institution), and few inner-city, predominantly black high schools play baseball, either. Relatively few black fans are now seen at ballparks. Compare this to the "old days," even before MLB was integrated. The Negro leagues were well supported by the black communities of Chicago, Washington, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and other cities. I'm surprised how many people here are shrugging this off or, worse, making light of the whole situation. Allowing a significant part of your population to lose all interest in baseball hurts the business as much as it does the level of play.
   18. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4409448)
So what is the justification for this? Is there an assumption that blacks are better athletes than whites/Asians/Latin men? So is the threshold, in this case, the percentage of African Americans in baseball needs to at least meet or exceed the share of African Americans of the US population?

No problem encouraging increased participation in baseball among blacks or any group, but when the only metric seems to be how many black faces on a MLB team, I think we miss the point.

Final thought AA % in MLB vs AA share of US population.... if you consider MLB now has a global talent pool, in the Americas with the Caribbean, Mexico, Venz a little Colombia and Panama. In Asia with Japan and Korea, AA % of this pool would probably net out to no more than 10% of MLB, if you really wanted a representative slice.

If people are fixated on or expecting more MLB output, then they must be going with the racist theory that African Americans are superior athletes.
   19. zachtoma Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4409450)
And what do the numbers look like if you count Afro-Caribbeans?
   20. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:19 AM (#4409457)
I agree it makes sense for MLB to do things to reach out to pretty much everyone. I don't see why it's important for any individual or group to care about baseball. Baseball's not going anywhere for a long time, and when it does, we can all watch and talk about blernsball instead.
   21. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:28 AM (#4409467)
A point about what might be driving the decline.....youth sports specialization has increased and if you were to survey African American youth their preferred sport to focus on at an athlete you'd expect basketball and football to be far ahead of baseball. The other comments just about cover this annual topic.

Lets agree to call this target marketing and be done with it. I do wish they (MLB/Media) would stop focusing on share of MLB players that are AA especially while looking at a share number from 1975, before the US had much of a Hispanic presence, and comparing it to 2013 when the Hispanic US pop has exploded.

It's like pointing out Bud and Miller beer share in 1975 and wondering what changed in 2013 to reduce everyone's share.
   22. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:37 AM (#4409471)
Is there an assumption that blacks are better athletes than whites/Asians/Latin men?

God this is so dumb. So there are three options. Either blacks are worse athletes than that group, or they are better, or they are exactly the same. The odds of it being an absolutely dead even, flat-footed tie are astronomical, so that's out. It's either better or worse. You all have TVs that get other sports and, I assume, the track and field portion of the Olympics, which do you think it is? It's not actually racist to identify that certain races might be a little better or a little worse at some things than some other races. To assume they are all exactly the same at everything is, of course, idiotic.

And of course all the idiot disclaimers apply here: Not all blacks are great athletes, not all black athletes are better than their not-so-black counterparts, there are plenty of elite level not-so-black athletes, yada, yada, yada.
   23. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:43 AM (#4409472)
You all have TVs that get other sports and, I assume, the track and field portion of the Olympics, which do you think it is?


For track? Yes, blacks do well there. But frankly, they don't dominate that many sports. Just a couple. So I ask, is there an assumption blacks should be excelling at baseball, doing better than whites, Hispanics or Asians. I never really heard such an assumption related to baseball.

As for your post in #22. Stating the obvious in the detail you did was redundant, right?
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:55 AM (#4409474)
I don't see why it's important for any individual or group to care about baseball.


It's important to baseball* to have all groups care about baseball. If any groups are being turned off, for whatever reason, then baseball damn well ought to see why. There may not be a good way to get that group re-engaged. But god damn, they sure as hell have to look.

Yes, it's a shame that people, including MLB, continue to frame this argument in terms of the percentage of players at the big league level. That number, if it's indeed lower than what you'd expect (however one would determine that), would not be a problem in and of itself, but merely a symptom of the real problem.

* It's also important to me. Baseball's ####### great. If there is a population that has turned away from the game, particularly if it's a result of lack of opporunity, rather than by choice, than that group is missing out, and I want that to stop.

   25. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4409481)
As for your post in #22. Stating the obvious in the detail you did was redundant, right?

It was an attempt to meet you at the level of post 18.

Please tell me more about how feeling that African Americans are better athletes is racist. Whom is it racist towards? Whom do I apologize to? Our most athletic sports are competed by all races yet largely dominated by African Americans, who is behind this racist conspiracy to give all these great paying jobs to African Americans?

Edit: Obviously this is all stupid. I love the 'just turn your brain off and pretend everyone is exactly the same' way things have to be discussed these days. It's an awesome way to have a meaningful discussion.
   26. madvillain Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:40 AM (#4409485)
This Guy woulda been a helluva CF.
   27. GIANTlhbASS Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:46 AM (#4409487)
A task force? Just a task force? What -- like there can't be two Blue Ribbon Committees going at the same time?
   28. Bhaakon Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:08 AM (#4409489)
Having really good athletes playing your sport is good for the sport and, if case you haven't noticed, the black community churns out a ton of really good athletes. It makes all the sense in the world to try to re-engage this segment of the population.


African Americans certainly dominate basketball and football, but I'm skeptical as to how much overlap there is between the talents required for those sports and baseball (basketball especially). Being big (to a point) and strong and fast certainly helps baseball players, but they're not as important as, say, throwing 95 MPH or recognizing a breaking ball out of the pitcher's hand, neither of which are necessarily the key skills for success in the NBA or NFL (quarterbacks aside).


This Guy woulda been a helluva CF.


If he could hit real pitching, or read a fly ball off the bat. There have been plenty of center fielders with tremendous foot speed who couldn't do either.
   29. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:05 AM (#4409495)
* It's also important to me. Baseball's ####### great. If there is a population that has turned away from the game, particularly if it's a result of lack of opporunity, rather than by choice, than that group is missing out, and I want that to stop.

This makes sense. I wonder whether the international draft will reverse the incentives of teams to develop academies in the DR and Venezuela but not in the US or Puerto Rico. Or will it just mean that none of the academies will thrive? I kinda think that if there were no draft at all then teams would be falling all over themselves to develop their own talent pipeline the way the Cardinals did in the 1930s and the way the richest soccer clubs do.
   30. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:40 AM (#4409508)
Haven't RTFA, but haven't they been working on this for, like, 20 years? http://web.mlbcommunity.org/index.jsp?content=programs&program=rbi

Agree that market demographics are a legitimate concern, but the excerpt talks solely about players on MLB rosters, with barely a nod to the secondary effect of increased fandom.
   31. Blastin Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:49 AM (#4409517)
I agree that market demographics matter in general, and I do find RBI really useful. It seems more about money than race at this point (they sure do have some nice fields in the warm-weather suburbs), but as a black baseball fan (my handle here is short for "Black Justin"), sure I'd like to see more young black stars.
   32. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:09 AM (#4409524)
(And I thought "blacks" is an offensive term now?)

Actually, every word in the English language is now considered offensive, you filthy, stinking bigot! (Note: the words that I use are not offensive, because of my obvious moral superiority. Nice how that works.)
   33. JJ1986 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:16 AM (#4409527)
First step - make it much harder for teams to buy drafted players out of football or basketball commitments.
   34. depletion Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:41 AM (#4409540)
I think we need more Asian-Americans in politics more than we need more African-Americans in baseball. 7.7% isn't horrible, just not great. Just make a promo film of Robert Griffin III or Michael Vick being carted off the field.
   35. Dale Sams Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4409548)
Our most athletic sports are competed by all races yet largely dominated by African Americans,


Soccer?

But, sure, I can buy into the possibility of track and field...but when you get more complicated like basketball or soccer I have a more difficult time believing in a genetic component as opposed to a cultural one.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:02 AM (#4409552)

Something like the most black players drafted in the first round ever happened last year.


Seems like the Top prospect lists have a fair number of African-American players on it too. Jackie Bradley and Aaron Hicks just made their debuts, and you have Courtney Hawkins, Taijuan Walker, Billy Hamilton, Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, Mason Williams, Michael Choice, Brian Goodwin, Delino DeShields, Addison Russell, and Chris Archer waiting in the wings.

I think MLB should do what it can to attract inner-city African-Americans to the sport, but I'm not as alarmed as they seem to be.
   37. Canker Soriano Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4409555)
A task force? Just a task force? What -- like there can't be two Blue Ribbon Committees going at the same time?

Did he say blue ribbon? Committees don't get any better than that.

Seriously - this comes up every year, and the hand-wringing goes on for a few weeks, and then it goes away. I predict that the committee will issue the same report that we always see. Increased participation in inner cities, figure out whatever it is that makes blacks want to come to games and try to do that, get your black Hall of Famers to go to schools and explain why kids should be willing to spend up to 4-5 years in the minor leagues making next to nothing and hoping they don't get injured before there's any kind of real payday instead of going to college to be treated like kings, then right into the NBA/NFL making millions, etc.

Hmm.

That injury thing, particularly for the NFL, is something that MLB should probably be subtly hitting pretty hard. There's probably some kind of gentleman's agreement that the different pro leagues don't talk #### about each other publicly, but if they're serious about wanting to siphon black kids out of football and into baseball, that's probably your best argument (along with the whole NFL careers average about 3 years, while in baseball you can play for 20+, or more if you're a soft-tossing lefty).

   38. SandyRiver Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:12 AM (#4409560)
African Americans certainly dominate basketball and football, but I'm skeptical as to how much overlap there is between the talents required for those sports and baseball (basketball especially). Being big (to a point) and strong and fast certainly helps baseball players, but they're not as important as, say, throwing 95 MPH or recognizing a breaking ball out of the pitcher's hand, neither of which are necessarily the key skills for success in the NBA or NFL (quarterbacks aside).

From a basic physical standpoint, nearly all NBA/NFL players are within MLB size/wieght parameters, or would be if they weren't bulking up to be able to fight off 300-lb OTs or DEs. Perhaps centers and most power forwards, nose tackles and many othe DL/OL would still be outsized, though Adam Dunn as DE would play at 300+.

However, it might be defensible to claim that, other than for the Bryce Harpers of the world, consistently hitting MLB-quality pitching has the longest learning curve of any activity in pro sports. Whether because of cost, preference, opportunity, whatever, an awful lot of young folks never get far enough along that curve to discover if they have "it". I agree with SOSH - if there's anything systematically working against any ethnic group's participation (as players and/or fans) in baseball, that's not a good thing.
   39. JJ1986 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4409564)
Mason Williams


I did not know this. In my mind, he's a guy who looks like Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott.
   40. Canker Soriano Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4409567)
Mason Williams

I never saw this prospect name before, but tell me he's a pitcher with a dominant fastball. It would only be fitting.
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4409570)
Our most athletic sports are competed by all races yet largely dominated by African Americans,


Not really true. A subset of blacks (those of West and Central African descent) dominate sports that depend largely on foot speed over short distances. Another subset of blacks (those of East African and Ethiopian descent) dominate endurance running.

Sports that don't rely on either of these are not particularly dominated by blacks, and sports that emphasize upper body strength tend to be white dominated.

Given that foot speed is relatively unimportant to baseball, especially relative to the other two major US sports, I don't see any reason we'd expect blacks to be particularly well represented in baseball. Right around their share of the population makes sense; and when you include foreign players, US blacks are within spitting distance of their share.
   42. BDC Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4409590)
Please tell me more about how feeling that African Americans are better athletes is racist. Whom is it racist towards? Whom do I apologize to? Our most athletic sports are competed by all races yet largely dominated by African Americans

Well, it's not racist at all to point out that a huge percentage of NBA and NFL players are African-American.

Still, it doesn't really follow that African-Americans are "better athletes" than other ethnic or cultural groups. It just means that basketball and football are popular, and culturally encouraged, among African-Americans. A huge percentage of the best javelin throwers in the world are from Finland and neighboring countries; that doesn't mean that the best throwing genes in the world are concentrated there (nor that there's some ingredient in Baltic seawater that just makes you want to fling things).

What makes more sense to say is that over very large groupings like "white" or "black" Americans, there's a huge pool of talent that manifests itself variably depending on how athletes get fostered into various sports. Obviously athletic ability has a very large genetic component. It's certainly plausible that some families in Kenya just got better distance-running genes than the rest of us. But over entire populations of many millions, this effect dissolves.

The evidence would suggest that the "races" of the world are pretty equal in athletic terms. As Dale points out, soccer is the most widely played sport in the world, and is cheap to play (so it doesn't present the class barriers of, say, downhill skiing). And I defy anybody to say whether "blacks" or "whites" worldwide are better at soccer. It can't be done.
   43. BDC Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4409602)
A subset of blacks (those of West and Central African descent) dominate sports that depend largely on foot speed over short distances. Another subset of blacks (those of East African and Ethiopian descent) dominate endurance running.

Sports that don't rely on either of these are not particularly dominated by blacks, and sports that emphasize upper body strength tend to be white dominated


That theory is presented by Jon Entine in his book Taboo as if it were a genetic eternal verity, but I'd say rather that it represents a snapshot of those nations and shoehorned-together-for-the-purpose notions of populations that dominated various athletic events at the time Entine was writing the book. If he'd written it 50 years earlier he'd have found different eternal verities (perhaps the amazing short- and middle-distance genes of the Irish?), and if someone writes the book 50 years from now they'll reach different conclusions.

   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4409618)
That theory is presented by Jon Entine in his book Taboo as if it were a genetic eternal verity, but I'd say rather that it represents a snapshot of those nations and shoehorned-together-for-the-purpose notions of populations that dominated various athletic events at the time Entine was writing the book. If he'd written it 50 years earlier he'd have found different eternal verities (perhaps the amazing short- and middle-distance genes of the Irish?), and if someone writes the book 50 years from now they'll reach different conclusions.

Sure, it's the current state of the world, it won't necessary be true forever. Genetics are only a small part of athletic success. Conditions certainly change, which could change who dominates what sport.
   45. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4409629)
the quality of the committee work is in proportion to the food budget.


A Papal Conclave gets the best veal.
   46. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4409649)
A point about what might be driving the decline.....youth sports specialization has increased and if you were to survey African American youth their preferred sport to focus on at an athlete you'd expect basketball and football to be far ahead of baseball. The other comments just about cover this annual topic.

Back in my day (and get off my lawn)..yada, yada..

I graduated from HS in '95. Back then, CIF rules were pretty strict on the dates that each season could "officially" practice. A few years back (I don't remember exactly when it was), they eased up on the rules quite a bit and teams can now essentially practice year round if they like. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but some coaches (especially the bigger sports like football and basketball) are pains about it.

My wife coached cross country last year. I knew a bunch of people that played different sports in high school that ran cross country when their season wasn't in. Lots of soccer players ran just to get in shape before the boys soccer season started. There were a few baseball and basketball players mixed in as well. My wife had very few people cross over from different sports. Basketball and soccer practices were scheduled during the same time, even though seasons didn't start. A couple of her girls played basketball as well and the b-ball coach would punish the kids if they didn't make it to practice.

That stuff didn't happen when I was in HS because it wasn't allowed to happen. I'm sure all of the coaches would have liked to keep their kids year round, but they weren't allowed to. I think the specialization thing somewhat limits the kids who like to dabble in sports other than their primary thing.

Also, while this rant was aimed towards high school athletics the same crap is happening in youth sports as well. When I played baseball, travel ball was non-existant for the most part (it did exist in softball and basketball though). Heck, the youth league I played in didn't offer winter ball until I was 11 or 12 ('88 to be exact, so I was 11).

//end of unfocused rant.
   47. madvillain Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4409848)
Anyone that doesn't believe, as a percentage, that Afro Americans are the best athletes in the world is blind imo. Is it really surprising that after a decade of selecting the biggest and strongest Africans for slaves the Afro-American gene pool is loaded with quick twitch muscles and size?

I dunno, I've had this conversation with some black friends, and most of them agree. It might not be PC to say so, but quite a few people, black and white, believe slavery had a great deal to do with the current athletic prowess of Afro-Americans.

I don't really care about primary endurance based sports like Soccer or some relatively obscure sport like Javelin. The most demanding sport athletic wise is basketball, and basketball is dominated by AAs for more reasons than just culture. Lebron James is the best athlete in the world bar none. 6-8, can run a 4.5 forty, can jump out of the gym, has the hands and hand eye coordination of Pujols, and can play 40mpg for 82 games running on hard wood.

Sorry, Messi, you're quick and possess amazing foot eye coordination but you're not 6-8 240 doing that. Also, pretty much every single track and field record is held by someone of African descent. It's in the genes people. If Lebron had been a swimmer he'd have put Phelps to shame, he's got what, 30 inches of wingspan on him? That's a lot more water to churn up.
   48. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4409858)
Please tell me more about how feeling that African Americans are better athletes is racist. Whom is it racist towards? Whom do I apologize to? Our most athletic sports are competed by all races yet largely dominated by African Americans, who is behind this racist conspiracy to give all these great paying jobs to African Americans?


The feeling is that if one concedes that people of race X are better athletes on average than other races -- which on its face would seem a rather harmless observation -- then the door is thus opened to there being a difference in other characteristics among the various races as well -- namely, intelligence.

That's where the controversy comes in. And it's why the original premise is pushed back on even though the original premise seems innocuous.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4409864)
has the hands and hand eye coordination of Pujols

Hah, hah, hah. He'd hit .100 in MLB.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4409873)
The feeling is that if one concedes that people of race X are better athletes on average than other races -- which on its face would seem a rather harmless observation -- then the door is thus opened to there being a difference in other characteristics among the various races as well -- namely, intelligence.

That's where the controversy comes in. And it's why the original premise is pushed back on even though the original premise seems innocuous.


That may be some peoples' reason, but the correct reason is that genetics are only a small part of what drives success in any endeavor. Culture is likely a much larger component.

Jewish Americans used to dominate things like the Westinghouse/Intel scholars, National Merit Scholars, etc. Now it's Asian Americans.

Did the Jews deteriorate genetically in 40 years, or did their immigrant culture of manic striving for academic success dissipate as they became well off? Are Asians genetically superior, or do they just focus and work harder b/c of a very similar immigrant culture?

   51. Steve Treder Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4409878)
the correct reason is that genetics are only a small part of what drives success in any endeavor. Culture is likely a much larger component.

Exactly. Moreover the concept of "race" is far more a cultural/social construct than a genetic one.
   52. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4409879)
The feeling is that if one concedes that people of race X are better athletes on average than other races


Has anyone actually systemically studied this? I mean, does anyone have data showing what the average 18 years runs 100 meters in, broken down by race/ethnicity?

Yes, the NBA is overwhelmingly black, the NHL is overwhelmingly white, and you want to talk about over-representation- how about Samoans in the NFL.

CURRENTLY the best long distance runners in the world are from East Africa, the best sprinters are either West Africans or people descended from West Africans, despite the similarity in skin color, East and West Africans are not all that closely related genetically (despite the similarity in skin color, West Africans and Australasian aborigines and "negritos" are as distantly related as any humans on earth).

There are ethnic/racial disparities in height, body build, ability to digest milk, etc etc., however, the fact that the current world's fastest man is West African does not necessarily mean that West Africans are faster (in general) - the Masai may be the tallest people on earth (average height), but the tallest man on earth may never have been Masai.

S.Koreans are taller and weigh more on average and are undoubtedly better athletes than N.Koreans- it doesn't mean that S.Koreans are naturally taller/better athletes than N. Koreans.

African Americans MAY indeed be better athletes than European Americans, they may be better due to genetics, they may be better due to socio-cultural factors (ie., working at being athletes where other groups work at being bookworms) , but they may not actually be better athletes at all, its an unproven assumption (one I think likely mind you).
   53. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4409880)
That may be some peoples' reason, but the correct reason is that genetics are only a small part of what drives success in any endeavor. Culture is likely a much larger component.


Culture is likely a much larger component, but that doesn't mean genetics can't be a significant factor.

To be clear: I haven't the foggiest clue whether some races are more intelligent than others on average, genetically speaking. But I don't reject the premise out of hand, either, or deem the subject out of bounds. Since there are differences in physical characteristics among the races (e.g., height, eyes, hair, skin color, etc.), I don't see why there couldn't be differences in intelligence among the races. And if some races are better than others at athletics or music or what have you, that to me would further support that there could be differences in intelligence level.

But it is not a discussion that can be had in the year 2013. (Witness the people who deny that intelligence is even a thing, let alone a thing that can be measured. The discussion is at a stage in which it is pointless to have.)
   54. Morty Causa Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4409881)
The feeling is that if one concedes that people of race X are better athletes on average than other races -- which on its face would seem a rather harmless observation -- then the door is thus opened to there being a difference in other characteristics among the various races as well -- namely, intelligence.


Out of the mouths of babes.

Of course, it opens a Pandora's Box, one that the wily ideologues aren't blind to. Thus, the frenzied activity to reestablish the mount after someone says something that aggravates all the little ants. I could name names and instances, but we'd be back to where we were a few days ago, second verse same as the first.

That may be some peoples' reason, but the correct reason is that genetics are only a small part of what drives success in any endeavor. Culture is likely a much larger component.


Genetics mean a lot generally. Not so much perhaps as to individuals within groups as compared individuals within other groups. Even if it didn't, though, that doesn't mean it's not the deciding factor.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4409889)
To be clear: I haven't the foggiest clue whether some races are more intelligent than others on average, genetically speaking. But I don't reject the premise out of hand, either, or deem the subject out of bounds.

What does it matter? Observable academic and professional success is what impacts people in the real world. Also, it's completely un-testable.

I can never know if Person A is smarter than Person B b/c of genetics, culture, individual motivation, personality, whatever. All I care about is how much practical intelligence they can bring to the job at hand.
   56. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4409901)
primary endurance based sports like Soccer

?

I think soccer is actually a good comparison here. If you have a large, poor population whose children play a game and view that game as a viable way out of poverty, that population will tend to produce a lot of people who are really good at that game. See Brazil and soccer or african americans and basketball.

Sorry, Messi, you're quick and possess amazing foot eye coordination but you're not 6-8 240 doing that. Also, pretty much every single track and field record is held by someone of African descent. It's in the genes people. If Lebron had been a swimmer he'd have put Phelps to shame, he's got what, 30 inches of wingspan on him? That's a lot more water to churn up.

While this is sort of true, it's also sort of silly. Lebron James would dominate Messi and Pujols at basketball. Pujols would dominate Messi and James at baseball. Messi would dominate James and Pujols at soccer. Usain Bolt would beat them all in a sprint, and a bunch of dudes from Kenya would destroy them all in a marathon. It all depends on your definition of better athlete. People tend to be good at the things they do a lot.
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4409904)
What does it matter?


I don't know. What do 99% of things that are studied matter? What does it matter how many species of wood-boring beetles there are in Thailand? What does it matter what the surface of Mars is?
   58. flournoy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4409919)
The most demanding sport athletic wise is basketball, and basketball is dominated by AAs for more reasons than just culture. Lebron James is the best athlete in the world bar none.


I'll take Ashton Eaton over any of your basketball players.
   59. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4409923)
Baseball has become far too whitebread for my tastes, from the baseball poets to the sterile mallparks to the debates over sabermetrics to the rote coaching to the travel teams for 8-year-olds to the conversion and recasting of the General Manager into some kind of public intellectual. The sport has become a heady, scrappy hustler and I've always hated heady, scrappy hustlers.

The recession of American blacks in the sport is symbolic of this whitening and I'd very much like it to be reversed. The sport was much more compelling when American blacks played it, followed it, and went to games.
   60. The Good Face Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4409924)
What does it matter? Observable academic and professional success is what impacts people in the real world. Also, it's completely un-testable.


It matters because IQ has predictive power. There are a lot of ax grinding partisans out there who try to obfuscate this, but they're in the same position as a guy saying, "Sure your idea may work in practice, but it doesn't work according to theory, so let's disregard it."

If you know that different groups have differing IQs due to genetic differences, you can modify your social policy accordingly. That can have tremendous value.

I can never know if Person A is smarter than Person B b/c of genetics, culture, individual motivation, personality, whatever. All I care about is how much practical intelligence they can bring to the job at hand.


Sure. At the individual level, all that matters is the individual, and there can be exceptional individuals from all human subgroupings. Besides, I don't know anybody who believes genetics are wholly dispositive; culture, life experiences, etc. play a meaningful role.
   61. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4409925)
I would bet every cent I have or will ever have that culture outpaces race-wide genetics 1000:1 in determining athletic ability, if it were a testable thing.

But it's not, because culture has momentum and we're still all living in situations dictated by earlier, racist times. I bet the black kids that are adopted to white parents, grow up in white neighborhoods, go to white schools end up playing "white" sports and have success on the same level as their white peers.

I think the Dutch are now the tallest people EDIT: nation in the world. Tell me that is due to genetics.

   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4409934)
I bet the black kids that are adopted to white parents, grow up in white neighborhoods, go to white schools end up playing "white" sports and have success on the same level as their white peers.

I would be they do better, if only because they get more opportunity because they're "supposed to be" better athletes in many eyes.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4409939)
It matters because IQ has predictive power. There are a lot of ax grinding partisans out there who try to obfuscate this, but they're in the same position as a guy saying, "Sure your idea may work in practice, but it doesn't work according to theory, so let's disregard it."

If you know that different groups have differing IQs due to genetic differences, you can modify your social policy accordingly. That can have tremendous value.


Raw IQ is a terrible measure. I did my Econometrics thesis in my Masters of Economics on this. There are at least 6 or 8 separate intelligence factors, and empirically, they predict academic and economic suggest far better than the single score.

Just from a personal example my (twin) sisters probably test around 120 on a standard IQ test. But that is completely misleading. They are near genius level at verbal skills, and far below average at math and science, and especially have terrible spatial skills (they're awful drivers).
   64. madvillain Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4409943)
S.Koreans are taller and weigh more on average and are undoubtedly better athletes than N.Koreans- it doesn't mean that S.Koreans are naturally taller/better athletes than N. Koreans.


Uh, what? This proves the opposite. If you're naturally bigger and stronger you're highly likely also the better athlete.
   65. madvillain Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4409951)
While this is sort of true, it's also sort of silly. Lebron James would dominate Messi and Pujols at basketball. Pujols would dominate Messi and James at baseball. Messi would dominate James and Pujols at soccer. Usain Bolt would beat them all in a sprint, and a bunch of dudes from Kenya would destroy them all in a marathon. It all depends on your definition of better athlete. People tend to be good at the things they do a lot.


Riddle me this: if Lebron James was raised in a soccer heavy culture, the same exact rearing as Messi, like playing pickup soccer 12 hours a day starting at say age 6 -- who would you bet, the majority of the time, would end up the better player? The 5-7 guy that might weigh 160 soaking wet, or the hulking freak Lebron?
   66. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4409953)
who would you bet, the majority of the time, would end up the better player? The 5-7 guy that might weigh 160 soaking wet, or the hulking freak Lebron?

Considering that Messi is better than literally thousands of professional soccer players who are bigger, stronger and faster than him, I'm going with Messi. And Lebron the soccer player would not be 250lbs. Size is an advantage in soccer but not a huge one, many of the greatest players in history were little guys: Maradona is 5'5", Pele is 5'8".
   67. The Good Face Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4409954)
Raw IQ is a terrible measure. I did my Econometrics thesis in my Masters of Economics on this. There are at least 6 or 8 separate intelligence factors, and empirically, they predict academic and economic suggest far better than the single score.

Just from a personal example my (twin) sisters probably test around 120 on a standard IQ test. But that is completely misleading. They are near genius level at verbal skills, and far below average at math and science, and especially have terrible spatial skills (they're awful drivers).


Generally speaking, there's a strong correlation. Your anecdotes notwithstanding, somebody who has exceptional math skills will usually have above average verbal skills and vice versa. This is like, Psychometrics 101.

While it's possible that even better predictions could be made through more granular data, that doesn't undermine the predictive power of raw IQ.
   68. SoSH U at work Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4409956)


Uh, what? This proves the opposite. If you're naturally bigger and stronger you're highly likely also the better athlete.


They're not naturally that way. They're that way because of the environments they're in.

   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4409961)
Generally speaking, there's a strong correlation. Your anecdotes notwithstanding, somebody who has exceptional math skills will usually have above average verbal skills and vice versa. This is like, Psychometrics 101.

There's a correlation sure, but why use a blunt object when you can define more predictive tests for the skills you're looking for?
   70. Greg K Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4409963)
Riddle me this: if Lebron James was raised in a soccer heavy culture, the same exact rearing as Messi, like playing pickup soccer 12 hours a day starting at say age 6 -- who would you bet, the majority of the time, would end up the better player? The 5-7 guy that might weigh 160 soaking wet, or the hulking freak Lebron?

Soccer fans will be able to cover this more ably than I, but LeBron James' physique seems very unsuited to soccer. Who plays at a high level with comparable size? Zigic? Peter Crouch? (though he's a bean-pole) It seems to me James would either have to be a keeper, or a striker than kind of stood around the penalty area the whole game. Messi kind of is competing against people of James' body-type and is far, far better. Of course he's a bit of a freak.

"Who's a better athlete?" I suppose is a fun question, but ultimately one you can't really take it too seriously. Messi can do things LeBron can't (and that probably no one on the planet can), ditto for James.

   71. Greg K Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4409966)
Baseball has become far too whitebread for my tastes, from the baseball poets to the sterile mallparks to the debates over sabermetrics to the rote coaching to the travel teams for 8-year-olds to the conversion and recasting of the General Manager into some kind of public intellectual. The sport has become a heady, scrappy hustler and I've always hated heady, scrappy hustlers.

Odd, I'm really enjoying baseball right now because it seems to be more diverse than it's ever been. Japanese players are common, and now we're getting Koreans and Taiwanese in the major leagues. Places like Italy, Germany and mainland Holland are even starting to produce worthwhile pro players.

I'd assume "white" participation in the majors is proportionally at an all-time low. I realize your comment was more about the broad cultural representation of baseball...but I think it's a matter of seeing what you want to see.
   72. Swedish Chef Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4409968)
if Lebron James was raised in a soccer heavy culture, the same exact rearing as Messi, like playing pickup soccer 12 hours a day starting at say age 6 -- who would you bet, the majority of the time, would end up the better player? The 5-7 guy that might weigh 160 soaking wet, or the hulking freak Lebron?

Where is he then? Hundreds of millions of kids of all builds play soccer. After Jan Koller retired there's no hulking freaks like that at the top level.
   73. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4409981)
Riddle me this: if Lebron James was raised in a soccer heavy culture, the same exact rearing as Messi, like playing pickup soccer 12 hours a day starting at say age 6 -- who would you bet, the majority of the time, would end up the better player? The 5-7 guy that might weigh 160 soaking wet, or the hulking freak Lebron?

Yeah, I don't know, I might bet on the guy who we know has the physical (and mental) skills to be one of the 2 or 3 best soccer players ever. Lebron's body type is not one that has translated into a lot of great soccer players (of course, not a lot of people have Lebron's body type). I bet he could be a hell of a goal keeper.

Edit to add: soccer as a sport rewards balance, agility, acceleration and foot-eye coordination in attacking players. Lebron is, I'm sure, elite at those skills for a man his size, but I doubt he is one of the 30 or 40 best in the world at them when size is taken out of the equation.
   74. cardsfanboy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4409988)
Where is he then? Hundreds of millions of kids of all builds play soccer. After Jan Koller retired there's no hulking freaks like that at the top level.


Yep, I don't really think of Lebron as a freakish athlete, just a freakishly good athlete for his size. Size doesn't necessarily make one a better athlete, and there is lots of reason to think that exceeding a certain height might be detrimental to physical ability. Basketball is ideally suited for taller people, so when you find the combination of height and ability, you get a great basketball player. There is nothing inherent in those traits that translate to other sports as readily. (except maybe at the positions of wide receiver, quarterback, pitcher...and maybe soccer goalie.)

Edit: or what post 73 said.
   75. Ron J2 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4409996)
#72 Liverpool paid a heck of a lot of money for Andy Carroll (note that I don't call him a top level striker -- though that's what Liverpool paid for) and he's considered a big, powerful guy in the soccer world. He's what ... 6'3" and isn't particularly heavy even when compared to baseball players.

He created an awful lot of matchup problems when he played for a team that focused their offense around getting high balls into the box and he's not particularly mobile (and is less than wonderful on the ball). Somebody with the combination of raw size and agility (plus work ethic and game intelligence) that James has would be a nightmare to mark.

Now he'd be useless defending against Messi but he wouldn't be asked to do that particular job.

EDIT: The soccer world is often very reluctant to use odd talents. I think most teams would have a real problem dealing with the combination of Rory Delap and a really tall guy. Delap's a unique talent that I don't think anybody has taken maximum advantage of.

Did not know this until recently but Delap used to be a javelin thrower. Might be something he learned in that discipline that made him so effective on the long throws.
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4410001)
There is nothing inherent in those traits that translate to other sports as readily. (except maybe at the positions of wide receiver, quarterback, pitcher...and maybe soccer goalie.)

Not even pitcher, that much. Pitching is predisposed on freakish flexibility and endurance in your arm joints to generate velocity, and not snap your arm off. Once you are pre-selected for that, size is a big help. But I'd guess most people LeBron's size don't throw very much harder than the average height person.

There are probably hundreds of thousands of 5'11" and shorter guys in the US that can throw harder than LeBron.
   77. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4410004)
Somebody with the combination of raw size and agility (plus work ethic and game intelligence) that James has would be a nightmare to mark.

Shhh, Tony Pulis will hear you.
   78. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4410010)
The most demanding sport athletic wise is basketball, and basketball is dominated by AAs for more reasons than just culture. Lebron James is the best athlete in the world bar none.


Is basketball the most demanding sport athletic wise?

I'd put up rugby. You need incredible endurance (more distance traveled than in basketball), speed (maybe not as lightning quick as in basketball), strength (obvious), and physical mass (slight-framed guys are going to get killed).
   79. Canker Soriano Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4410029)
Is basketball the most demanding sport athletic wise?

I'd put up rugby.


I've generally heard hockey - speed, strength, hand-eye coordination, plus you have to do it all on skates.
   80. cardsfanboy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4410039)
Is basketball the most demanding sport athletic wise?


I don't even see how basketball is more demanding than Soccer. It's at best on par with hockey, both with different strengths, but neither is clearly above the other.

I mean, does anyone seriously think Shaq would be an all star in either soccer or hockey?

Not even pitcher, that much.

I put it there simply because the longer arm span, with everything else being equal, adds both speed and shortens the distance to the plate, both advantages for pitchers.
   81. madvillain Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4410048)
does anyone seriously think Shaq would be an all star in either soccer or hockey?



He'd have been the best goalie ever coming out of LSU. Go watch some highlights of Shaq with the Magic, he was a 7 foot ballerina. Only later in his career with weight gain did he slow down.

If you don't like the Lebron in soccer comparison then give me pre-ACL tear Derrick Rose verse Neymar. I'm going Rose every single time -- bigger, faster, stronger, quicker laterally and can jump twice as high on headers.

This is an endless argument but I just don't see how AA's aren't the best natural combo of speed, size and strength. The hand eye (or foot eye) stuff is just honed from playing your particular sport from age 6 or so on.

I posted that Calvin Johnson video to show you what a great athlete he is. He was on MLB draft radars coming out of HS but obviously made the right choice with Football.
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4410049)
Joe Sheehan once again hits it on the head in his newsletter:

[Snip praise of Jackie]

So it's with disgust that I once again see Robinson's impact reduced to a nose count by MLB. ... As Ken Arneson quickly pointed out, that [7.7%] figure is innumerate in no small part because it doesn't account for the influx of non-American players. African-Americans are 10.8% of the pool of American players. According to the latest Census data, African-Americans make up 13.1% of the U.S. population. Bud Selig sees the racial makeup of MLB as a problem requiring a solution, which is both innumerate and ignorant.

Robinson didn't just pave the way for Torii Hunter and Curtis Granderson. He paved the way for Adrian Beltre and Felix Hernandez and Mariano Rivera. He paved the way for any player with skin formerly defined as "too dark", no matter what their national or cultural heritage. To use every April, every Jackie Robinson Day, to define Robinson's legacy only in terms of African-Americans is hopelessly limiting. All American-born players have lost jobs in the last 50 years to players born outside the United States. It's because of this that Rany Jazayerli says that baseball looks more like America than any other sport does.

...

The emergence of strong competition for talent of all races and the greater potential for college scholarships in other sports are the biggest reasons why fewer African-Americans are active than there were in 1971. Bud Selig's focus on nose counts relative to a bygone era makes it sound as if MLB is throwing up poll taxes and burning crosses to discourage young black men from playing baseball. As I've said before, though, Jackie Robinson's legacy isn't just in creating the opportunity for young black men to choose baseball. His legacy is also in creating the opportunity for young black men to reject baseball.


   83. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4410068)
Is basketball the most demanding sport athletic wise?

In last decade, # of players whose last season was at age 40+ / age 42+

Baseball: 79 / 27
Basketball: 7 / 2
Hockey: 27 / 7
Football: 22 / 12 (no kickers or punters: 10 / 4)

Now this might not be the most fair comparison, because of larger rosters or more specialization. That would make basketball look the hardest. But basketball is by far the sport that rewards athletic ability the most, so it would make sense.
   84. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4410073)
This is an endless argument but I just don't see how AA's aren't the best natural combo of speed, size and strength. The hand eye (or foot eye) stuff is just honed from playing your particular sport from age 6 or so on.

The best athletes we're familiar with may very well be black, but that is not the same thing as a black race being the most athletic.
   85. cardsfanboy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4410077)
Baseball: 79 / 27
Basketball: 7 / 2
Hockey: 27 / 7
Football: 22 / 12 (no kickers or punters: 10 / 4)


Baseball has 750 active major leaguers... so that is 10.5%/3.6%
Basketball has 450 active players so that is 1.5%/.4%
Hockey has 690 players 3.9%/1%
NFL has 1696 players... that is 1.2%/.7%

Not sure what that proves, just figured if something is going to be listed, it should be listed at it's rate percentage.
(note: this doesn't include minors etc, which of course would make a bigger dent in MLB and NHL than the other two sports)


This is an endless argument but I just don't see how AA's aren't the best natural combo of speed, size and strength. The hand eye (or foot eye) stuff is just honed from playing your particular sport from age 6 or so on.


Don't disagree with it, but I think basketball is a poor way of proving that.
   86. Ron J2 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4410080)
#78 There are positions that fairly small men can play in rugby. Fly half or scrum half in particular.

Jonathan Davies is a legend and didn't weigh 170.
   87. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4410086)
Uh, what? This proves the opposite. If you're naturally bigger and stronger you're highly likely also the better athlete.


Try reading that again, and take careful note of whether or not S. Koreans are "naturally" bigger and stronger than N.Koreans

and if you continue to be puzzled the answer is, "no," S. Koreans are not taller, stringer and healthier than N. Koreans "naturally" - the disparity is because one country is a socialist workers paradise and the other is a cesspool of brutal capitalistic exploitation :-)
   88. cercle Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4410090)
After Jan Koller retired there's no hulking freaks like that at the top level.


Hell, even Hulk is only 5' 11".
   89. Ron J2 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4410096)
#88 And he's not green either.
   90. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4410097)
Is basketball the most demanding sport athletic wise?


I think boxing is hands-down the most athletically demanding sport. It requires impressive strength, speed, power, hand-eye coordination, and agility all while getting your brains knocked in.
   91. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4410103)
They should be hiring the same committee that is doing the 4 year study on the A's moving to San Jose. That will show the rest of the world how serious Bud is about this subject.
   92. Ron J2 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4410107)
#90 I'd think MMA would be more demanding. It's basically at the limit of what a human body can take. Training injuries are the norm.

Almost any top level athletic activity is pretty hard on the body but I don't think there's anything like MMA. When's the last major card that didn't have a last minute change because somebody was hurt?
   93. Morty Causa Posted: April 10, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4410147)
.
   94. cardsfanboy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4410149)
Almost any top level athletic activity is pretty hard on the body but I don't think there's anything like MMA. When's the last major card that didn't have a last minute change because somebody was hurt?


I'm all for giving boxing and mma props, but not sure that it's really a complete athletic endeavor. With hockey you have a combination of strength, agility, coordination, endurance etc..... with the fighting sports, endurance is less important in the same degree. I'm not saying it's a requirement, or it doesn't figure majorly into it once in a while(at least with boxing and 10+ rounds) but it's still not the same.

Of course the farther you get from the major sports, the more options you have of producing a sport that is more physically demanding than one of the majors. Rugby as mentioned is probably the most demanding(although I'm not really sure how much fine motor skills figure into it, like it does with hockey and even basketball)....

I guess it all depends on what you are looking for in a sport as to what is demanding. I think of the most demanding as a sport that attempts to tax all the different levels of physicality available to the human body, not just rely on one or two skills at the extreme. It's why I don't think of triathalons, track and field etc in the same way. Fine motor skills are completely non-important for them.
   95. Ebessan Posted: April 10, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4410172)
Is basketball the most demanding sport athletic wise?

If you want to discount the effect of contact on athleticism, it's tennis in a landslide. Just look at the range of PEDs used by Murray and Nadal!
   96. Greg K Posted: April 10, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4410190)
It's why I don't think of triathalons, track and field etc in the same way. Fine motor skills are completely non-important for them.

How about biathlon!
   97. Maury Brown Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4410210)
Glad to see that the league wants to reach out to the demographic. The massive hole in the panel is that there isn't any marketing execs. The issue is, the cost of playing as a youth, the fact that for the majority, the transition from collegiate to pros in basketball and football is much faster, and the "Jordan factor."
   98. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4410219)
Glad to see that the league wants to reach out to the demographic. The massive hole in the panel is that there isn't any marketing execs. The issue is, the cost of playing as a youth, the fact that for the majority, the transition from collegiate to pros in basketball and football is much faster, and the "Jordan factor."


I'm not clear why people keep citing cost, so I must be missing something. What is the problem with the cost to play baseball as a youth? All you need is a glove (which lasts for years), maybe a pair of new shoes, and a league fee. This is comparable to basketball.

Or is the argument that high schools in various areas can't afford to finance a baseball team?

I get that something like tennis is a lot of money, but the cost to play baseball seems rather low...
   99. Greg K Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4410223)
I'm not clear why people keep citing cost, so I must be missing something. What is the problem with the cost to play baseball as a youth? All you need is a glove (which lasts for years), maybe a pair of new shoes, and a league fee. This is comparable to basketball.

I'm not entirely sure on the specifics either, but it seems on first blush it's a lot easier and cheaper to play unorganized basketball every day than baseball. You need a relatively large number of kids to play a passable game of baseball, whereas basketball you can get by with as few as 4 or 6. And while in baseball you need a bunch of kids, each with his own glove, and shoes etc., with basketball you really just a group of people to come up with one ball between them. Depending on where you live finding a place to play could be an issue as well. Where I grew up it was much easier finding a field suitable to play some baseball on, whereas I can see some places the reverse being true.

As far as relative expense for schools...I would guess venue would also be a big factor. Especially urban schools might have a difficult time finding a baseball field? Whereas I'm sure most schools have a gym with some nets.
   100. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4410227)
Does the number of AA players affect AA attendance/interest? That seems simplistic. I don't think the number of people of my race that play a sport affects how much I like the sport....
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