But the push to bring baseball to all corners of the globe comes as one of the sport’s key demographics continues to vanish right here at home.
For the first time in memory, the Giants, reigning champions, have no African American players in camp this spring. It’s a stunning development on a team whose history is molded by Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson and Dusty Baker [...]
MLB’s Urban Youth Academy is designed to support those who want to go further in the sport, providing year-round instruction and educational programs for young baseball and softball players.
There are seven academies in place and plans to expand throughout the league. The longest-running program is in Compton (Los Angeles County), and according to Darrell Miller, MLB’s vice president of youth and facility development, the academies have served more than 10,000 kids in seven years and more than 100 of those have been drafted.
“Most kids who are playing at a higher level are in travel ball, paying to play and paying for instruction,” Miller said. “But a lot of kids can’t afford that kind of support. We try to give kids more opportunity.”
The forces at work against minority players are numerous, from the high cost of travel ball programs - the primary platforms where young players can be noticed - to the lack of college scholarships.
Under NCAA rules, Division I baseball programs are allowed 11.7 scholarships to divide among a roster of about 35 players. In contrast, football offers 85 full scholarships for a roster of 70 and basketball offers 13 full scholarships for a roster of 15.
While football and basketball players are guaranteed full rides, a player opting for baseball will still be stuck with most of an enormous tuition bill or have to enter the general financial aid pool.
Posted: March 17, 2013 at 09:10 PM | 81 comment(s)
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