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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

CC Sabathia’s summer of Black brotherhood

This is a series of nine stories on the African-American experience in baseball.

The year before, in spring training, Sabathia had expressed frustration with baseball. He had been the lone Black player on Cleveland’s 25-man roster the year prior and was entering a season in which he and Dontrelle Willis were the game’s only significant Black starting pitchers. Baseball was deep into the era of the vanishing Black star.

“It’s not just a problem,” Sabathia said that spring. “It’s a crisis.”

He caused a stir. Some dismissed his comments as dramatic, but the problem of Black representation continues today. His generation signifies a period in which the bridge collapsed.

Svrluga: 60 feet 6 inches is a hallowed baseball number. It might be time for a change.

Sabathia, 41, fell in love with the game while shadowing his father, which meant he grew up idolizing stars who looked like him. As a boy from Vallejo, Calif., Sabathia worshiped Oakland’s Dave Stewart and Dave Parker. During his childhood, he related to many of the MVPs: George Bell, Rickey Henderson, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Mo Vaughn, Andre Dawson, Kevin Mitchell, Barry Bonds, Terry Pendleton, Barry Larkin. He saw Dwight Gooden and Stewart win 20 games and dreamed of doing the same.

But by the time Sabathia had established himself in the big leagues, the days of abundant Black talent were over. He had too much personality to be a loner. Still, he didn’t feel he could be himself.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 17, 2021 at 02:05 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: african-americans, cc sabathia

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: August 17, 2021 at 08:39 PM (#6034810)
George Bell is Dominican.
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: August 17, 2021 at 09:26 PM (#6034814)
Define “black.”
   3. Blastin Posted: August 17, 2021 at 09:46 PM (#6034819)
Yeahhhh those being the first two comments supports my decision to leave, considering this was the first time I checked in in several weeks.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: August 17, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6034824)
Blastin ! - at least consider the BBTF softball game next month?
   5. base ball chick Posted: August 17, 2021 at 09:59 PM (#6034825)
Adam Starblind Posted: August 17, 2021 at 09:26 PM (#6034814)

Define “black.”


blastin pls don't leave again and leave me alone

for the information of Those People who really do not know what is meant by the word "Black"

- this specifically means people of Black african ancestry who were born and raised in the USA who are descended from american Black slaves (some of us also include Black canadians who are descended from Black slaves, as well)

why do we have to keep explaining this

no one is trying to say that george bell is not descended from people who are Black african, we are saying he is not from the USA

- and now i am out of any further discussions of this topic


   6. Adam Starblind Posted: August 18, 2021 at 07:03 AM (#6034848)
#5 — Imagine my surprise this morning to find out that Barack Obama wasn’t the first black President after all. At least his birthday was a success.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 01:28 PM (#6034884)
A lot is made of young Black players watching baseball and not seeing someone who "looks like them", but I think that's a bit of a weird statement since there are still a ton of players who "look like them", just from Latin America. However, I think this article does a good job of getting more into the real issue. It's not that there weren't guys who *looked* Black on the Indians with Sabathia -- his rotation-mate Roberto Hernandez / Fausto Carmona was just as dark-skinned as Sabathia. But there weren't other players who shared Sabathia's African American life experiences/culture, and he felt lonely and unable to fully be himself as a result. But it sounds like he found what he was missing during his brief time in Milwaukee.

I haven't read the book -- if anyone has, does he express regret at taking the big money from the Yankees rather than staying in that more comfortable situation in Milwaukee?
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 01:28 PM (#6034885)
for the information of Those People who really do not know what is meant by the word "Black"

- this specifically means people of Black african ancestry who were born and raised in the USA who are descended from american Black slaves (some of us also include Black canadians who are descended from Black slaves, as well)


I think that's how the article uses the term, but I don't think that's how it's used more broadly -- I think it's the opposite. "African American" means American-born people of African ancestry*. "Black" is more often used to describe skin color and can be used to describe Latinos / Hispanics of African origin, too. Hispanics in many places can be described as either white or Black, including on the Census. And I think that makes sense. Otherwise "Black" just means the same thing as "African American", which isn't really helpful and also doesn't give us a broader term to include Brazilian, Cuban, Haitian, etc. people of African descent.

* I've seen people include being descended from American black slaves as a criteria, but I'm not sure it should be so exclusive. I have a couple of friends of Haitian descent who were born in NYC and lived their whole lives in the US -- they certainly self-identify as Black and African American.
   9. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 18, 2021 at 07:07 PM (#6034995)
does he express regret at taking the big money from the Yankees rather than staying in that more comfortable situation in Milwaukee?

Probably not when he's wearing his WS ring.
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: August 18, 2021 at 09:54 PM (#6035034)
this is an understandably emotional topic for many, so not sure that or typical BBTF methodical questions are a net positive overall.

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