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Friday, October 25, 2013

World Series shows MLB’s dearth of black players - Sports - The Boston Globe

A fundamental problem is that baseball didn’t have to emphasize its greatness, its beauty, and its allure to previous generations.

It was America’s Game. The national pastime. That is no longer the case.

Baseball has to restate its worthiness to a new generation, one that didn’t grow up breaking in new gloves with plenty of oil and a couple of nights under the bed post — for those who don’t remember Bo Jackson scaling an outfield wall or Dave Parker throwing out Brian Downing at third base on a bullet from right field.

Otherwise, the sport is simply selling itself on history and tradition, and as with many other genres, that isn’t good enough for the young folks.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:21 AM | 146 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, marketing

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   1. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4583370)
I wonder what Jon Jay thinks about this.

Never mind. Further googling revels he is Cuban. Never would have guessed that.
   2. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4583379)
All of MLB's black players are in Atlanta. This is why right thinking people root for the Braves. (We're gonna get us a Brandon Phillips too!)
   3. Moe Greene Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4583380)
This World Series needs more Ray King.
   4. base ball chick Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4583381)
jon ain't all the way Black, like quinton berry and,
uh
um

nevermind

   5. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4583383)
"Dearth" seems to be one of those words that only show up in newspaper headlines. (Another example is "irk"..."Obama irks GOP", "UAW irks GM", etc.)
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4583384)
I fondly remember all those World Series games I saw Bo Jackson play in.
   7. Dale Sams Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4583385)
“You can even look at broadcasters if you want to and say there’s 30 teams and there’s one black full-time play-by-play announcer [Dave Sims in Seattle].”


Or Rod Allen.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4583386)
Damnit, I've never seen anything selling history of the game.
   9. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4583387)
Starting lineup for your 1980 AL champion Kansas City Royals:

Willie Aikens, 1B
Frank White, 2B
U.L. Washington, SS
George Brett, 3B
Willie Wilson, LF
Amos Otis, CF
Clint Hurdle, RF
Hal McRae, DH

Pretty straightforward math, there.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4583389)
I'm getting kinda sick of these type of articles. Imagine if someone reversed it about whites and the NBA playoffs?

people play what they want, there is no reason to think that there is something preventing black players from becoming professional players. There is literally no longer a blockage to that event happening. You want to ##### about something, ##### about real issues or at least real racial issues in baseball... There is still a clear argument to be made that upper management is anti-black, and with it now becoming more ivy league that argument is becoming more clear.

1. I don't see how you can say "David Ortiz" is not black, regardless of where he grew up. Of course the article uses "african american" instead (####### stupid ass expression)

2. he pulls the "kids don't play this because of the games lasting three hours argument." ..... Football games last longer on average, and considering that basketball last roughly 2 and a half hours, I don't see much of a difference.

This is seriously a dumb article that does a half ass attempt at rationalizing something that is clearly too complicated of a concept for this writer. Only thing missing is a chart showing tv ratings and a claim that it's indicative of popularity. As if black kids are raised by tv, while pure white kids are raised by good old fashioned american values.
   11. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4583390)
We should bring back Brian Downing so black people can throw him out at third base.
   12. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4583391)
You know, all snark aside, the Braves are rumored to be interested in flipping Dan Uggla for Brandon Phillips, and are mentioned regularly in the "get David Price" rumors. Maybe they are going all in on the AA talent pool.
   13. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4583392)
Imagine if someone reversed it about whites and the NBA playoffs?

Who wants to see a 80% white NBA? I sure don't.
   14. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4583396)
Baseball skews white, old, and slow. At this point, in the US, it's a game constructed and marketed to appeal to Whitey, and it's Whitey's game.

That's obviously going to have cultural spillover effects.
   15. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4583398)
Imagine if someone reversed it about whites and the NBA playoffs?


Because we never, ever hear about the lack of American born white players in the NBA.
   16. Flynn Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4583400)
It's a better article than I thought, but I think it's too top down. Marketing and game length is important (though it begs the question of why does this affect young black people more than young white, Latino or Asian people) but the problem is lower down the pecking order. I don't think the black community is hostile towards baseball, but short of RBI growing by a hundred-fold, there is a vacuum where poor black kids, even if they love baseball, are steered towards football or basketball due to a lack of investment in baseball.

Baseball needs to market its stars, but perhaps it also needs to market its ability to give an 18 year old a living. That would certainly help baseball considering you still have to serve at least a couple years of indentured servitude in hoops or football.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4583407)

Baseball needs to market its stars, but perhaps it also needs to market its ability to give an 18 year old a living. That would certainly help baseball considering you still have to serve at least a couple years of indentured servitude in hoops or football.


This. You can make money NOW, right away, out of high school in baseball. Granted its not a lot of money, but its more than nothing, which is what you make in the NCAA. And your earning potential is way greater in baseball over the course of a career.

OTOH, the NCAA life is pretty cushy. You can be a star immediately, have access to terrific facilities, be swooned over by hot chicks, play in front of 100,000 people. I guess I can see why athletes choose that over riding the bus for $300 a week.
   18. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4583414)
I really think a lot of this is just the conversion of sports and entertainment into niches. The NBA has had a big majority black playership forever, but blacks didn't really consciously make it their game until the mid-90s with (the great) SLAM! magazine and the fusion of the sport with hip-hop culture. That's a lot for baseball to compete with, and it's perfectly understandable that it's getting utterly routed.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4583417)
There has been an influx of African-American talent such as Matt Kemp, Jason Heyward, David Price, Adam Jones (Berry’s high school buddy), and Andrew McCutchen, but many of those players would go unrecognized by the casual sports fan.


Whereas everyone would know Adam Wainwright or Jacoby Ellsbury if they bumped into them on the street? Andrew McCutchen has to be one of the more recognizable players in baseball at this point.

It seems to me that there is as much young African-American talent in the majors as there has been in the past decade or two. In addition to those mentioned above, there are the Upton brothers (one of whom is good), and Domonic Brown, Brandon Phillips, Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter were all All-Stars this year. I personally am the proud owner of a Dexter Fowler t-shirt.
   20. BDC Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4583421)
I'm of two minds as always. I honestly do think that the "baseball community" in the United States, the arena in which young athletes learn baseball, play travel and select baseball, get scholarships and draft slots and the like, does tilt white and suburban. (Similar football and basketball communities have different biases.) So yeah, just given talent and aptitude and athleticism, white kids get overrepresented in MLB.

But I don't think that systematic racism is involved – though one would have to be naïve or libertarian or both to believe that no youth-baseball coaches anywhere exhibit racial bias, in 2013. I don't think there are systematic forces that underpay or underpromote or underutilize African-American professional baseball players. Or if they linger, they are a fraction of a shadow of what they were even 35 or 40 years ago. So when it comes to the color of the people I'm watching in the World Series, I think it's really just aesthetics to wish there were more black players now. Heck, I am a card-carrying red doper diaper baby who thinks that most things in America are about race. But it just doesn't bother me that most of the players in my favorite sport are white; I'm not that guilt-stricken. These white lads are good baseball players, and I don't think they are blocking any Satchel Paiges or Josh Gibsons – or even any Elston Howards or Tommy Harpers.
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4583422)
I'm getting kinda sick of these type of articles. Imagine if someone reversed it about whites and the NBA playoffs?

See, this is because they are overrepresented on BTF. Periodically we seem to have an active campaign to make people annoyed by even contemplating the topic of an an article, by incessantly posting articles that say the exact same thing. Whether it's linking to every single Murray Chass blather, or linking every example of an old player saying "back in my day men were men, and steriod users would have been drawn and quartered". This year, we linked to 900 complaints about the lack of black people in baseball. Who knows why.

Anyway, the alternate-universe Tigers-Dodgers WS would have featured plenty of black players, in addition to being superior in innumerable other ways. So there, article.
   22. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4583425)
At this point, in the US, it's a game constructed and marketed to appeal to Whitey, and it's Whitey's game.


And he'll listen if you call!
   23. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4583429)
Anyway, the alternate-universe Tigers-Dodgers WS would have featured plenty of black players, in addition to being superior in innumerable other ways. So there, article.


Clearly, God hates black people.
   24. Bob Tufts Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4583432)
The fastest growing demographic in percentage terms is the Asian community. The demographic that is growing fastest in terms of raw numbers is Hispanics. Baseball is actually set up fairly well to deal with this reality.





   25. Dale Sams Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4583435)
or Jacoby Ellsbury if they bumped into them on the street?


If you're a girl and you follow baseball, you sure would.

OTOH I might recognize Tom Brady, the Mannings, and Kobe Bryant....and that is IT for football/basketball.
   26. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4583445)
Black people don't Play The Game The Right Away. Also, their beards suck. Given these realities, I'm not sure why it should be surprising they are not well represented in this World Series.
   27. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4583446)
Anyway, the alternate-universe Tigers-Dodgers WS would have featured plenty of black players, in addition to being superior in innumerable other ways. So there, article.

Seriously. The Tigers have 3 prominent black (African-American) players, and in the playoffs, most of the time the only white American player (depending on how you classify Alex Avila) was the guy on the mound. In the late innings or in Anibal Sanchez starts, they were entirely "of color," though I don't much like that phrase.
   28. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4583448)
Baseball skews white, old, and slow. At this point, in the US, it's a game constructed and marketed to appeal to Whitey, and it's Whitey's game.

That's obviously going to have cultural spillover effects.


Of the four major professional sports that are popular in the United States, baseball is by far the most reflective of the actual racial demographics of the country.

Hockey, now THERE'S a sport that really skews white.
   29. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4583450)
Black people don't Play The Game The Right Away


Dusty Baker.
   30. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4583451)
26 brings up a good point. The Red Sox have all these guys with crazy long hair and beards, so it's a real shame that we aren't seeing any Oscar Gamble or Bake McBride looks. The blame here falls on David Ortiz for not participating in the beard frenzy, and Xander Bogaerts for not being able to grow facial hair.
   31. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4583457)
but it's a real shame that we aren't seeing any Oscar Gamble or Bake McBride looks.


If SBB wants to cite the falling popularity of Afros over the decades as a prime indicator of society's precipitous decline, I'll be inrigued & will be signing up for his newsletter.
   32. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4583461)
Hockey, now THERE'S a sport that really skews white.

Canada's fault.
   33. Astroenteritis Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4583463)
“You can even look at broadcasters if you want to and say there’s 30 teams and there’s one black full-time play-by-play announcer [Dave Sims in Seattle].”

Pretty sure the Astros radio play-by-play announcer, Robert Ford, is black. He's pretty good, too.
   34. tfbg9 Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4583465)
Zzz.
   35. Morty Causa Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4583468)
Who wants to see a 80% white NBA? I sure don't.

Well, at one time about 80% of the fans of pro basketball did. That was about the percentage white people made up of the whole population when basketball was white.
   36. dejarouehg Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4583472)
Baseball needs to market its stars, but perhaps it also needs to market its ability to give an 18 year old a living. That would certainly help baseball considering you still have to serve at least a couple years of indentured servitude in hoops or football.


This certainly makes sense. Professional sports should try to appeal to the AA community by promoting the opportunity to make a living. AND, the NY State Lottery should appeal to them about their chances of earning a living by winning Lotto, considering the odds are not that disparate.

Maybe, just maybe, when the AA community recognizes and pushes education as the way to go as opposed to the unlikely/incredibly difficult routes of professional sports or entertainment, will they actually emerge from their situation.

Folks, there's a lot more money in education than sports, especially for AA's and college.
   37. Bitter Mouse Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4583473)
Well, at one time about 80% of the fans of pro basketball did. That was about the percentage white people made up of the whole population when basketball was white.


There is a logical leap in this statement.

However to the topic overall, other than as a place for people to post their favorite racial theories (a valuable thing to be sure) I am not sure why anyone cares who is playing what, or perhaps more to the point what people could do to make the percentages change in any meaningful fashion.
   38. BrianBrianson Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4583476)
   39. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4583478)
We should bring back Brian Downing so black people can throw him out at third base.


That was Jim Rice getting thrown out at third. Downing made it past third, and Parker threw him out at home.

Just one more data point showing that Brian Downing was a better player than Jim Rice.
   40. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4583479)
Black people don't Play The Game The Right Away. Also, their beards suck.


Rick Ross disagrees.

   41. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4583480)
Even with RBI, it COSTS a helluva lot more to play organized youth baseball than it does football or hoops. Plus, you don't have open fields in urban area (yeah, yeah, stickball, WHATEVER, it's not 1952 any more) and I am not sure how you reverse this trend.
   42. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4583481)
Well, at one time about 80% of the fans of pro basketball did. That was about the percentage white people made up of the whole population when basketball was white.


Bill Russell in 1956-57 was the first black superstar (though not the first player). Shortly followed by Wilt and Oscar. I don't think the audience changed nearly as much as the population on the court did in a relatively short period of time.

Was Basketball more popular, or less popular, in 1965 vs. 1955?
   43. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4583485)
The fastest growing demographic in percentage terms is the Asian community. The demographic that is growing fastest in terms of raw numbers is Hispanics. Baseball is actually set up fairly well to deal with this reality.



Why aren't there more Asian-Americans in baseball? Baseball should be promoting Kurt Suzuki and Hank Conger more.

Pretty sure the Astros radio play-by-play announcer, Robert Ford, is black. He's pretty good, too.


You know, I listened to him for years do post-game for Royals games, and I even follow him on Twitter (which has his picture) and I never realized he's black til you just mentioned it.

I AM POST-RACIAL.
   44. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4583490)
The participation of African-Americans has been dwindling to the point where there is not one black starter or front-line player in this year’s Fall Classic.


Big Papi will be surprised to learn he's not black.
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4583491)
A guy named Hank Conger is Asian-American?
   46. pep21 Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4583495)
"Even with RBI, it COSTS a helluva lot more to play organized youth baseball than it does football or hoops. Plus, you don't have open fields in urban area (yeah, yeah, stickball, WHATEVER, it's not 1952 any more) and I am not sure how you reverse this trend."

Yep a lot of rich Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans and Cubans have a significant advantage over the youth of 'Merica.'
   47. rufus was here Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4583503)
You can even look at broadcasters if you want to and say there’s 30 teams and there’s one black full-time play-by-play announcer [Dave Sims in Seattle].


Ken Singleton comes to mind, though I guess none of the YES guys for the Yanks are really full time except for the loathsome Michael Kay.

(I think Singleton is terrific, by the way.)
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4583512)
Guys like Singleton and Allen would be color analysts, right? Not play-by-play? Jim Rice, Frank Thomas, and Darrin Jackson do some games.

Ford, I believe does play-by-play.

But yes, the broadcasting booth in baseball does seem pretty white.
   49. Gamingboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4583516)
Again, I'd like to note that this is actually more a result of there being more foreign players in MLB as ever before, and that amongst American-born players the % that is African-American is roughly in line with the proportion of African-Americans in the United States.


...

Baseball skews white, old, and slow. At this point, in the US, it's a game constructed and marketed to appeal to Whitey, and it's Whitey's game.

The fastest growing demographic in percentage terms is the Asian community. The demographic that is growing fastest in terms of raw numbers is Hispanics. Baseball is actually set up fairly well to deal with this reality.


Baseball is full of old white guys and young Asians and Latinos! In other words, baseball is JUST LIKE AMERICA! National Pastime FOREVER!
   50. The Good Face Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4583520)
Ken Singleton comes to mind, though I guess none of the YES guys for the Yanks are really full time except for the loathsome Michael Kay.

(I think Singleton is terrific, by the way.)


Singleton is very good. Nice voice, calm delivery, well informed and relatively sabr-friendly.
   51. base ball chick Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4583526)
hello tyrus

"Black" and/or "African-American" means a person of African Negro descent who was born either in the USA or Canada and whose ancestors were slaves

people of African Negro descent who were born elsewhere or who immigrated to the USA/Canada within the past 150 years are not being discussed

FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLAINING ABOUT NO BLACK PEOPLE IN BASEBALL

we all know perfectly well that david ortiz is dark skinned and has african Negro ancestors, like lots of other players who are from the caribbean. they have a different culture and grow up playing baseball and are ENCOURAGED to play lots and lots and lots of baseball, unlike kids here

why do we keep having to have these definition thingys argument/discussion over and over???!!!

playing little league takes a serious time committment from at least one adult because you have to have SOMEone who can take the kid to the games/practices - not to mention buying equipment. most schools do not have baseball there. very VERY few kids who are hs stars THESE DAYS have no outside coaching/travel team/advanced league that takes MONEY and lots of it. where do you think kidz are gonna practice hitting/throwing?????


also
the days of junior griffey/derek jetah are gone - i mean, where MLB really ACTIVELY tries to market its stars. they try to keep ballplayers as anonymous as possible - i guess so fans root for "laundry" and don't form attachments to players like they did to mickey mantle way BITGOD

   52. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4583527)
Doug Glanville is black.
   53. base ball chick Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4583530)
robert ford is Black, but he is on the radio

hank conger is korean, adopted by White people. i wish the players who come from japan/korea to play baseball spoke english/spoke it better. would like more munenori kawasaki!!!! he is japanEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESEEEEEEEEE
   54. base ball chick Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4583534)
oh yeah

Black guys who want to be successful at broadcasting have to make sure they talk like White People (see doug glanville) and remember eric young and all the complaints about how HE talked (more, um, urban, not urbane)
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4583540)
I'd love to see baseball try to attract more AA players as a way of further expanding the talent pool, but I'm not sure there's any foolproof way they might go about it, not unless they increase the funding of inner city youth leagues twentyfold. And even then I'm not sure how much that'd work. You can lead a horse to water, etc.

The real reason for the drop in AA players since the 70's isn't all that hard to figure out. Prior to the late 70's/early 80's, southern colleges were first white only, then integrated in drips and drabs on the graduate level, then integrated in drips and drabs on the undergraduate level, then integrated in drips and drabs on the varsity sports level, then integrated a bit more on the varsity level, and then finally all barriers were dropped and the recruiting wars began in earnest without any racial quotas or restrictions. But this final stage didn't begin until the late 70's/early 80's.

At the same time, northern colleges, which for the most part had always had a few black varsity players, now joined the all-out recruiting race and wound up at pretty much the same point. Put today's 100 top college football or basketball teams in blank uniforms and you can't tell the southern teams from the northern ones, with a handful of exceptions from states with virtually no AA population.

The result is that every year, many thousands of top AA 18-year-old athletes are recruited heavily by colleges, whereas 40 years ago there probably were only a few hundred. Throw in the partly true cliches about "young and hip" vs "old, slow and boring", the ease of finding a basketball pickup game, and the intense recruitment of baseball talent from all over the world (also a product of the past 30-35 years), and is it really surprising that the African American percentage on the Major League baseball fields has shrunk since 1980?

Figure out a way to reverse all that on the college level, and you'll see the percentages start to rise again. But how is baseball going to do that when college baseball can never remotely approach the popularity of college football or basketball?

Racism has almost nothing to do with any of this. If anything, it was mostly racism that kept the percentage of AA NFL and NBA players artificially low prior to the 70's, which was to baseball's temporary benefit.
   56. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4583563)
I'd love to see baseball try to attract more AA players as a way of further expanding the talent pool, but I'm not sure there's any foolproof way they might go about it, not unless they increase the funding of inner city youth leagues twentyfold. And even then I'm not sure how much that'd work. You can lead a horse to water, etc.

I'm somewhat familiar with inner city youth leagues. The West Side Little League in Manhattan extends up to West Harlem and it's essentially free to play. (*) In now four years, ages 5-8, that SugarBear, Jr., has played, there have been -- max -- five black kids in the entire league, and it may be as low as zero (the non-white kids were almost certainly Hispanic).

There's no way MLB is RBIing its way out of that mess.

SBB, Jr. and all his friends are massive soccer fans and could tell you the backup striker on Norwich or Shakhtar Donetsk before they could tell you the Angels 3B. That is the mainstream with NYC 8 and 9 year olds.(**) MLS is getting very popular in the country and the demographics for soccer skew young and devoted. Now that all the European games are on HDTV and the world continues to shrink, I think soccer actually finally could be the sport of the future. All the trends are favorable (***), and it's not going away. I could very easily see it surpassing baseball and maybe even quicker than anyone expects.

(*) $100 entry fee, helmets and bats supplied, fee often waived.

(**) And there's no reason to think that's an NYC, home of the Yankees, phenomenon. It's likely being replicated in cities across the US.

(***) Including football's head trauma. We should fully expect on-the-fence-about-football parents and kids to gravitate to soccer before baseball.
   57. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4583566)
the days of junior griffey/derek jetah are gone - i mean, where MLB really ACTIVELY tries to market its stars. they try to keep ballplayers as anonymous as possible - i guess so fans root for "laundry" and don't form attachments to players like they did to mickey mantle way BITGOD


I just tried googling MLB'ers with the most endorsement deals, and it's difficult. Most lists I found were just highest earners (salary + endorsements).

Besides Jeter (various), Mike Trout (Subway) and Joe Mauer (shampoo), who are the guys with national spots? Surely I'm blanking on some big ones.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4583568)
Besides Jeter (various), Mike Trout (Subway) and Joe Mauer (shampoo), who are the guys with national spots? Surely I'm blanking on some big ones.


Cabrera has that Chevy spot. Beyond that....
   59. smileyy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4583569)
I hate the use of "black" to mean "African-American", which really means "Persons of African descent living in the United States whose ancestors did make any stops anywhere else". Saying (even in a headline) that there's a dearth of black players in MLB does a disservice to all of the black Latin American ballplayers (and Aboriginal Australians, and anyone else who wants to identify as "black" who doesn't meet this narrow American-centric definition).

It also sets up bizarre notions of "racial purity" that leave me uncomfortable (harking back to "one drop" notions), and really don't hold up in a modern multi-ethnic/multi-racial/multi-cultural world.

OTOH, "Boy There's A Lot Of Brown People In Major League Baseball" doesn't make for much of an article.
   60. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4583570)
Besides Jeter (various), Mike Trout (Subway) and Joe Mauer (shampoo), who are the guys with national spots? Surely I'm blanking on some big ones.
Ryan Howard is still on the Subway ads too, isn't he? I don't know about on TV, but he and Trout were both on the ads showing inside the last Subway I was at, a month or two ago.
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4583571)
MLS is getting very popular in the country and the demographics for soccer skew young and devoted.


People have been saying something similar to that for decades. Soccer is never going to catch on in the U.S. It's too slow, boring and not made for TV the way other sports are with natural time stoppage. Kids have always played the game in the U.S. it just doesn't translate to a pro-league.

It might be a niche sport at some time, like Poker, but it's never going to supplant even hockey as a sport that the country is aware of.
   62. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4583574)
People have been saying something similar to that for decades. Soccer is never going to catch on in the U.S. It's too slow, boring and not made for TV the way other sports are with natural time stoppage. Kids have always played the game in the U.S. it just doesn't translate to a pro-league.


You should probably look up MLS's attendance figures before you say things like this. If a league is building sport-specific stadiums that sell out every home game; if there's a competitive bid process for the next expansion city; you're likely looking at a popular sport. MLS rules Seattle more than the any league other than the NFL. MLS sells out Philly and NY. Arthur Blank is ruthlessly pursuing an MLB franchise to play in his new Falcons stadium when the NFL is not in season/in town.

In 20 years, MLS will be as big or bigger than MLB.
   63. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4583576)
People have been saying something similar to that for decades.


Reminds me of how we were assured in, I think, 3rd grade that we had to learn metrics because feet, inches, miles, etc. were going to be a thing of the past before we knew it. That was ... let's see ... 4 1/2 decades ago.

I think that's about how long soccer has been thisclose to capturing the U.S. market, too.
   64. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4583578)
In 20 years, MLS will be as big or bigger than MLB.


I would offer to lay money on that, but I have no expectation of being around in 20 years.



Edit: All the more reason to lay money on it, come to think of it.

I'll bet Sam $200 billion that MLS will not be as big or bigger than MLB in 20 years!
   65. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4583580)
Black guys who want to be successful at broadcasting have to make sure they talk like White People (see doug glanville) and remember eric young and all the complaints about how HE talked (more, um, urban, not urbane)


Yea, but the NFL and NBA seem to have a lot of African-American announcers, some of whom speak "like white people", and some who don't. It is curious baseball's broadcast booth is so lilly white.

Soccer is never going to catch on in the U.S.


Soccer has already caught on. Its never going to surpass baseball or football, but is one of the five major sports now, and its probably more popular than hockey at this point.

Besides Jeter (various), Mike Trout (Subway) and Joe Mauer (shampoo), who are the guys with national spots?


CJ Wilson and Josh Hamilton for Head and Shoulders. Ryan Howard for Subway. Jimmy Rollins for Dick's Sporting Goods. Mo Rivera and Joe Girardi for Taco Bell. Bryce Harper for Geico and Under Armour. Matt Kemp for Lexus.

Some of those campaigns were a year or two ago, but not that long ago.
   66. Dale Sams Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4583586)
Big Papi will be surprised to learn he's not black.


Actually a lot of latinos get insulted when you characterize them as white or black.
   67. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4583590)
its probably more popular than hockey at this point.


Judging from a recent run of posts in (IIRC) the OT: Politics thread, cornholing (god help me for employing that vile word) is probably more popular than hockey at this point.
   68. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4583591)
Actually a lot of latinos get insulted when you characterize them as white or black.


What if you call them "redskins," just for the hell of it?
   69. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4583592)
A guy named Hank Conger is Asian-American?


No surprise to anyone who has ever:

1) Seen him or
2) Looked at his BBref page to see that Hank is a nickname, his given name is Hyun Choi Conger.
   70. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4583593)
Hockey, now THERE'S a sport that really skews white.

Canada's fault.


National breakdown of NHL players:

Other : 4.0% of NHL players - 0% of black players
Slovakia : 1.6% of NHL players - 0% of black players
Finland : 3.3% of NHL players - 0% of black players
Czech Republic : 4.4% of NHL players - 0% of black players
Russia : 3.1% of NHL players - 0% of black players
Sweden : 6.9% of NHL players - 3.7% of black players (1)
USA : 23.9% of NHL players - 22.2% of black players (6)
Canada: 52.6% of NHL players - 74.1% of black players (20)

Canada is providing more than its fair share of black players.
The USA is right on target, too.
The problem exists with the northern European nations. They aren't providing their share of the black players to the NHL. :)
   71. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4583595)
In 20 years, MLS will be as big or bigger than MLB.

Could be, but it's got a ways to go.

2012 Avg. MLB attendance / total attendance: 30,895 / 74,859,268

2012 Avg. MLS attendance / total attendance: 18,807 / 6,074,729

You also might mention that Seattle's average attendance is a complete outlier, almost twice as high as second place Montreal, and more than twice as high as third place Houston.
   72. Gamingboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4583596)
I have this theory that no matter how popular soccer becomes in the USA, you'll never see MLS become as big as the Big 3 (although it could well overtake Hockey) simply because Americans are snobs who demand the best league in the world or at least have the best league in the world have a majority of teams be in the United States. Notice, for example, how most soccer fans in America are far more interested in other country's leagues leagues, not the MLS, and that MLS TV ratings are piddling compared to big stuff from overseas. Soccer maybe has never been more popular, but that popularity is to the foreign leagues, not, with the exception of Seattle and Portland, to MLS.

So, unless MLS somehow is able to supplant the European leagues and be able to pluck top talent with regularity (i.e. not just veteran or publicity cases) the way that MLB grabs the best Asian and Latino players or the NBA takes the Nowitzkis, Parkers and Gasols of the world, it's always going to be a heavily profitable 4th or 5th place, which isn't a bad gig to have.
   73. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4583597)
I'll bet Sam $200 billion that MLS will not be as big or bigger than MLB in 20 years!


Given the apocalyptic talk by some people about the economy, $200 billion won't really be more than pocket change in 20 years, so it's really not that big of a bet.
   74. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4583604)
No surprise to anyone who has ever:

1) Seen him or
2) Looked at his BBref page to see that Hank is a nickname, his given name is Hyun Choi Conger.


You forgot

0) Have heard of him
   75. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4583605)
Given the apocalyptic talk by some people about the economy, $200 billion won't really be more than pocket change in 20 years, so it's really not that big of a bet.


Reminds me of the old joke about the guy who wakes up from suspended animation after a couple of centuries, checks his accounts & finds out he's worth $800 billion or some such. Finds a pay phone (as noted, it's an old joke) to call his brokerage agency & hears the recording, "Please deposit $1 billion."
   76. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4583606)
There are too many black guys in baseball. And too many on TV.
   77. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4583607)
Andy,

#55 is a good explanation and I hadn't thought of that. Makes sense. From the standpoint of the thousands of recruited athletes every year it certainly benefits the vast majority who don't make pros (assuming they actually study instead of living as the stereotypical college jock). If you aren't going to make a living in sports, better to spend 4 years getting a degree than spending 4 years riding buses and making $800 a month playing minor league ball.

Racism has almost nothing to do with any of this. If anything, it was mostly racism that kept the percentage of AA NFL and NBA players artificially low prior to the 70's, which was to baseball's temporary benefit.


I think this is truer than what you mention. In an extreme racist situation, they tell the blacks they aren't allowed to play. They respond by saying "F*** You. We'll start our own league". And you had good players at all positions.

In a subtle racist situation, they are allowed to play, but tend to be put at certain positions, most likely outfield. Look at how few black pitchers and catchers there are now, have been in the last 20-30 years at least, and compare that to what you had immediately after integration.
   78. Booey Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4583608)
Black people don't Play The Game The Right Away. Also, their beards suck.


James Harden has the best beard in the NBA! I'd take his beard over any of the homeless looking ones on the Red Sox any day.


   79. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4583610)
Soccer will be able to compete with the Big Three only when it drops its ridiculous "feet only" rule, which goes totally counter to human instinct and design. Americans understand this silliness even if the rest of the world doesn't.
   80. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4583612)
You should probably look up MLS's attendance figures before you say things like this. If a league is building sport-specific stadiums that sell out every home game; if there's a competitive bid process for the next expansion city; you're likely looking at a popular sport. MLS rules Seattle more than the any league other than the NFL. MLS sells out Philly and NY. Arthur Blank is ruthlessly pursuing an MLB franchise to play in his new Falcons stadium when the NFL is not in season/in town.


The Steamers(St Louis indoor soccer team) used to out draw the Blues, the sport was hugely popular for about 4 years and petered out. The Steamers averaged attendance in an indoor arena 17,000...

The NY Cosmos drew 77,000 for one game and averaged 40,000 in attendance one season, it didn't stop them from folding. It's not a sustainable sport in the U.S.

People keep pointing to Seattle as an example of the popularity of the sport, but as pointed out that is an outlier. Nearly every team in the league had a drop in attendance this season, including Seattle. It will not last as a pro sport in the U.S. they will probably fold within 5-10 years.
   81. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4583615)
In a subtle racist situation, they are allowed to play, but tend to be put at certain positions, most likely outfield. Look at how few black pitchers and catchers there are now, have been in the last 20-30 years at least, and compare that to what you had immediately after integration.

I'm not sure how integrated the pitcher and catcher positions have ever been. Off the top of my head, in the 50's I can think of only Don Newcombe, Brooks Lawrence, Sad Sam Jones, Satchel Paige, Connie Johnson, Bob Trice and maybe one or two other AA pitchers, and only Ruben Gomez and Juan Marichal if you include other pre-1947 ineligibles. And other than Roy Campanella, it's hard to think of any other AA catchers until Earl Battey came along. That's just off the top of my head, but even allowing for expansion there are more pre-1947 ineligibles at those two positions today.

And don't forget until very recently there were virtually no starting black quarterbacks or centers. It wasn't just MLB that had position slotting by race.
   82. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4583616)
RE: MLS, I think it will never be a true major league here, not because soccer isn't growing in popularity, but because once you watch EPL, Serie A or the Bundesliga, why would you watch MLS? MLS is at best a Quad-A version of any of the European leagues; now that EPL is more available on US TV than ever before, either MLS is going to have to step up its game or be relegated to lower status.
   83. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4583618)
Soccer has already caught on. Its never going to surpass baseball or football, but is one of the five major sports now, and its probably more popular than hockey at this point.


That is ridiculous. An outdoor stadium that can't break 20,000 in average attendance for a 17 game stretch.... the popularity of this sport is way over stated on these boards. Expand the season to 50 or so games and the attendance will peter out immediately.
   84. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4583621)
The Steamers(St Louis indoor soccer team) used to out draw the Blues, the sport was hugely popular for about 4 years and petered out. The Steamers averaged attendance in an indoor arena 17,000...

The NY Cosmos drew 77,000 for one game and averaged 40,000 in attendance one season, it didn't stop them from folding. It's not a sustainable sport in the U.S.


Yea, each of those leagues petered out after a few years. MISL (indoor) lasted 14 years. NASL (Cosmos league) lasted 16 years, and was pretty much dead the last 4 years. The MLS is already 20 years old with every indication it is growing, rather than limping along.

That is ridiculous. An outdoor stadium that can't break 20,000 in average attendance for a 17 game stretch.... the popularity of this sport is way over stated on these boards. Expand the season to 50 or so games and the attendance will peter out immediately.


Well of course attendance would peter out. But why on earth would they ever expand the schedule to 50 games?
   85. Gamingboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4583627)
RE: MLS, I think it will never be a true major league here, not because soccer isn't growing in popularity, but because once you watch EPL, Serie A or the Bundesliga, why would you watch MLS? MLS is at best a Quad-A version of any of the European leagues; now that EPL is more available on US TV than ever before, either MLS is going to have to step up its game or be relegated to lower status.


This is more-or-less what I said. Unless MLS becomes the hegemony that the NFL is (there are NO elite American football players that aren't in the NFL or will be once they are done with College) or the near-hegemony that MLB (probably 95% of the world's best baseball players are in MLB or working their way up through the minors) and NBA (about the same) are, it's never going to be more than a curiosity outside of the outliers like Seattle, even to soccer fans.
   86. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4583629)
The point being that it doesn't currently out rank hockey in popularity, Hockey goes 41 home games a season and the average team still outdraws soccer(Seattle excluded). I don't see how anyone can say a league that has 19 teams, and plays 17 home games and averages 18,000 a game(propped up very strongly by Seattle's 40,000) in an outdoor stadium, is more popular than a sport that has 30 teams, plays 41 home games and averages 17,000 per game in an indoor stadium.
   87. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4583630)
It's too slow, boring and not made for TV the way other sports are with natural time stoppage.

Baseball is way slower and more boring than soccer. The "natural time stoppages" are exactly what you don't want; that way the networks and suits can't abuse them like they do with baseball and football and (more steadily) basketball. You want a non-stopping clock, and a short halftime -- i.e., what soccer has. You know you're getting a full episode of soccer, beginning to end, in two hours. (With very minor exceptions, such as cup finals and then the game's so important, no one cares.)

but it's never going to supplant even hockey as a sport that the country is aware of.


The country's already aware of it. Compare a Royals crowd and a Sporting KC crowd -- no comparison in interest and intensity.
   88. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4583634)
Sporting KC


That's ... that's the name of a team? How ####### precious.

God help us. I know the players tend to be a bunch of prancing ninnies who fall to the ground as if shot if anyone so much as breathes within 20 feet of them, but has no one associated with the entire enterprise even a ####### shred of pride?

There's your telltale sign of modern society's calamitous decline right there.
   89. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4583638)
I may be wrong about MLS taking over MLB. History is a large thing and people stick with history. But I will stand by the idea that in 20 years MLS will be more popular nationwide than the NHL, which is really a regional NEC league.
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4583639)
I put soccer on the same level as pavement among the crowd around here. You seem to think that there is a following on this thing that isn't matched by reality.

KC baseball outdraws the soccer team and that is with 60+ more games a season and not scheduling the event on a particularly favorable day.
   91. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4583646)
Soccer was the next big thing when I was a kid 30 years ago. Karl Heinz-Granitza spoke to our elementary school. The closest we could get from the Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Bulls, or Blackhawks was a woman who said she was Dennis McKinnon's step-sister.
   92. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4583647)
And other than Roy Campanella, it's hard to think of any other AA catchers until Earl Battey came along.


I was thinking of Elston Howard and Johnny Roseboro. All 4 of these guys were active in 1957 - Roseboro's first and Campy's last.

In the last 30 years, has there been an African American catcher to, at a minimum, play even 3 seasons catching 100 games?

Only one I can think of is Charles Johnson.
   93. dejarouehg Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4583648)
(I think Singleton is terrific, by the way.)
He is, and was a terrific player.

Black guys who want to be successful at broadcasting have to make sure they talk like White People (see doug glanville) and remember eric young and all the complaints about how HE talked (more, um, urban, not urbane)

You mean, there's something wrong with being able to communicate clearly? OR, should they set the example of speaking in Hip-Hop terminology, grabbing their crotch, and/or wearing their pants down to the crack of thier butt.

Charles Barkley spoke about this on Open Court the other day. The best thing David Stern did was make the players dress in business-like attire because IBM and Microsoft are not going to hire people who walk aroung like Allen Iverson used to.

If you want to dress and act like Eminem or 50-Cent, you had best have their monetary safety net b/c you're not getting hired for any meaningful job.

   94. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4583650)
Russell Martin's dad is African-Canadian. I don't know if that counts any more than black Latin American though.
   95. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4583651)
Only one I can think of is Charles Johnson.


Also Lenny Webster, but he was just a backup. Then there's Russ Martin, his father is black, mother is French-Canadian.
   96. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4583662)
In the last 30 years, has there been an African American catcher to, at a minimum, play even 3 seasons catching 100 games?



Tony Eusebio, Darrell Miller were also backups.

There is also a shortage of African-American pitchers, and I cannot think of any African-American third basemen (Marcus Semien I guess?)
   97. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4583668)
I cannot think of any African-American third basemen


Chris Nelson?
   98. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4583672)
Black guys who want to be successful at broadcasting have to make sure they talk like White People (see doug glanville) and remember eric young and all the complaints about how HE talked (more, um, urban, not urbane)

Except for those successful black broadcasters like Stephen A. Smith and Stuart Scott who do the exact opposite and speak with an affected and greatly exaggerated "tough black guy from the streets" persona.
   99. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4583673)
It will not last as a pro sport in the U.S. they will probably fold within 5-10 years.


Assuming we're both still around and on this board in ten years, I'd be happy to take you up on that bet.
   100. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4583675)
I cannot think of any African-American third basemen
Chone Figgins is probably still trying to catch on with somebody. Jerry Hairston Jr. plays a little more third than anywhere else.
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