A few African-Americans are found in the studio before and after games. I’m referring to the presentation of the game, the sacred theater that could help baseball promote diversity and save the sport from its undeniable, decades-long erosion in the black community. Watching games on Fox, I typically see two white guys in the booth and one on the field as a reporter. When I turn on ESPN, I typically see three white guys in the booth and one on the field as a reporter. TBS and the MLB Network have pretty much the same composition for telecasts.
The game announcers are whiter than the ball itself.
This must change, as the numbers show.
Forget play-by-play guys. None are black. ESPN primarily uses Dan Shulman, Dave O’Brien and Sean McDonough. Fox primarily uses Joe Buck, Thom Brennaman and Kenny Albert. MLB uses Bob Costas and Matt Vasgersian. Dick Stockton is shared by two networks. Shouldn’t Fox have found a baseball spot for Gus Johnson, a spirited play-by-play man who could make a 10-0 ballgame exciting and just happens to be African-American, instead of assigning him to … soccer overseas?
Analysts? In the booth, ESPN usually uses Orel Hershiser, Aaron Boone, John Kruk, Curt Schilling and Nomar Garciaparra. Barry Larkin, Chris Singleton and Glanville, all African-American, are typically found on “Baseball Tonight,” the studio show, with lead host Karl Ravech. Fox’s top game analysts are Tim McCarver and Eric Karros, neither black. TBS’ game commentary stars are John Smoltz and Ron Darling, neither black. MLB has a popular African-American voice, Harold Reynolds, but he’s used as a studio mainstay. I see a lot of Smoltz and Jim Kaat, neither black, on MLB. The rising Tom Verducci, also white, is shared by two networks.
Reporters? TBS’ Craig Sager certainly has a colorful sport-jacket collection, but he is white. Fox’s Ken Rosenthal is white. MLB’s Sam Ryan is white. ESPN’s Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian are not African-American, nor is Pedro Gomez.
...When the networks sign lucrative broadcast deals with MLB, they become a partner of Selig. Why, then, don’t the networks try to promote diversity by employing more African-Americans in the booth? Joe Morgan, an African-American, was a mainstay for years on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” He was chased out, in part, by seeming legions of Morgan haters on social media. Since then, I’m basically seeing Hershiser, Boone, Kruk and Sutcliffe on ESPN — same guy, same down-home voice. At least Schilling produces compelling commentary.
Posted: August 13, 2013 at 07:45 AM | 60 comment(s)
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