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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dunson: MLB Needs To Get With The Times, Instead of Branding Themselves America’s Pastime

ToBP: What Is Bad Hip?...“Selig knows more about bad hips than he does about being hip.”

This is MLB’s “autopsy report” because the sport is on life support in black communities. We aren’t mad at Selig, though. Whether it’s just for the publicity or genuine concern, he’s making an effort and he needs the help. Selig knows more about bad hips than he does about being hip.

Baseball’s problem is that they rested on their laurels and refer to themselves as an American pastime, instead of getting with the times. They’ve cryogenically frozen their approach to the game in an old-timey mindset instead of making changes to the game and its marketing strategy.

Meanwhile, the hungry black athletes from inner-cities have migrated to the NFL and NBA to make quicker millions.

While the NFL and NBA have embraced black culture, Ken Griffey Jr. was catching pop-up fireballs from baseball’s grey-bearded cognescenti because he wore his cap backwards. Hip-hop was ostracized in MLB for a long time, and they’re just now getting into the game.

In addition, the game’s pace lags behind that of other major professional sports leagues. That affects his popularity among young people in general, but especially African-Americans.

If baseball wants to make a grand gesture that actually means something, they need to take a U-Turn down the Jackie Robinson route. None of the four major professional leagues have ever had an African-American commissioner and Bud Selig retires in 2014. If there’s a viable, young and energetic African-American candidate who is not constrained by the old establishment, it would be a homerun in the black community.

Repoz Posted: April 11, 2013 at 08:52 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. spike Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4411278)
(Spoiler alert) - incoherent argument about baseball being too old fashioned and slow for black youth somehow leads to conclusion that the solution is to hire an African-American commissioner.
   2. Bhaakon Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:02 PM (#4411279)
In addition, the game’s pace lags behind that of other major professional sports leagues. That affects his popularity among young people in general, but especially African-Americans[/quote

Does the pace really lag behind football? It feels like there's a commercial break between each play.
   3. Bruce Markusen Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4411284)
One of the people who didn't like Ken Griffey's backward cap was Willie Randolph, a fellow African American who grew up in a poor neighborhood in New York City. Go figure.
   4. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4411286)
I only read the excerpt, but this seems to be a bunch of incoherent crap.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4411291)
It does seem weird that baseball caps are such a huge part of hip hop culture, but that the game itself is not associated with hip hop at all. Jay-Z is really the only rapper who's a semi-serious baseball fan I'm aware of.
   6. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4411296)
Jay-Z is really the only rapper who's a semi-serious baseball fan I'm aware of.


Macklemore is a huge baseball fan. One of the songs that got him noticed was "My Oh My", a tribute to Mariners' broadcaster Dave Niehaus written after his death.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4411300)
It does seem weird that baseball caps are such a huge part of hip hop culture, but that the game itself is not associated with hip hop at all. Jay-Z is really the only rapper who's a semi-serious baseball fan I'm aware of.


Nelly. (And Beastie Boys if you considered them rap at all)

But is any rapper really associated that much with a particular sport? That is like saying not many rockers are associated with NFL. It might be true, but is it really something that we as fans would actually know? Unless they are showing their allegiance by lyrics or wearing gear (which of course is often then blacked out) how would we know what they are interested in?

I still don't get these "we need to find a way to appeal to black youth" arguments, instead of "we need to find a way to appeal to youth" argument. Assuming any of these points that this writer makes were valid, is there any reason given why the pace of the game affects black children more than white or hispanic children? Are black children more likely to suffer from ADD? I don't get that argument in the slightest.


   8. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4411302)
FPH: Dunson needs to get with a dictionary, and understand the meaning of the word pastime.
   9. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4411303)
Does the pace really lag behind football? It feels like there's a commercial break between each play.

I wouldn't know. These days I just download the games on Monday. You can bang out a game, every play, start to finish, in 40 minutes or so.
   10. mendozaline Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:17 PM (#4411323)
This such a tired argument. Joe Morgan would bring it every week on the ESPN Sunday game.

Young African-Americans don't appear to like or want to play baseball. Place the onus on black superstars to get the youth involved. What are the Upton bros, Adam Jones, Kemp, CC, Jeter, Griffey, Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, David Price, Barry Bonds, Andrew McCutchen, Prince, Gar Sheffield and other present and past superstars doing? Torii Hunter is the only that I have heard of doing anything to promote baseball in the inner city.

Its not all MLB's responsibility to assist black youth to decide to play baseball.
   11. Gamingboy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4411370)
One thing I'm wondering: The "percentage of African-Americans in MLB" is often cited, but it ignores that fact that the overall talent pool has grown- Latin America, Canada, Asia, etc. The percentage of MLB being African-American has definitely decreased, yes, but one of the causes (amongst several other equally as legitimate ones such as the rise of other sports leagues) is also because there are fewer AMERICANS PERIOD (percentage-wise) playing baseball than there were from 1960-1990. This is NOT A BAD THING- it has brought us lots of stars and helped keep the level of play high despite expansion- if we had a 30-team MLB back in the 60s to 80s, it'd be ugly compared to what it is now.

If we were to simply look at "percentage of African-Americans amongst USA-born MLB Players", what would the drop be? Probably not as steep as the "percentage of African-Americans in MLB" is...
   12. Dale Sams Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4411372)
the hungry black athletes from inner-cities have migrated to the NFL and NBA to make quicker millions.


GLWT. How many athletes does an NBA team employee compared to an MLB one? And how bout those guaranteed contracts in the NFL and NBA? And those salary caps.

Hip-hop was ostracized in MLB for a long time, and they’re just now getting into the game.


This is a good thing?
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4411377)
One thing I'm wondering: The "percentage of African-Americans in MLB" is often cited, but it ignores that fact that the overall talent pool has grown- Latin America, Canada, Asia, etc. The percentage of MLB being African-American has definitely decreased, yes, but one of the causes (amongst several other equally as legitimate ones such as the rise of other sports leagues) is also because there are fewer AMERICANS PERIOD (percentage-wise) playing baseball than there were from 1960-1990. This is NOT A BAD THING- it has brought us lots of stars and helped keep the level of play high despite expansion- if we had a 30-team MLB back in the 60s to 80s, it'd be ugly compared to what it is now.

I'm all in favor of more subsidies for inner city Little Leagues, and I think we'd all favor more full college scholarships for baseball, since football and basketball already have those built-in farm systems. Both of those moves would likely bring more African Americans into the game, especially if colleges were known to be recruiting top high school baseball players with half the determination that they use to pursue high school stars of those other two sports. But that said, you're absolutely right that the explosion of international scouting has made today's game better than ever on the field.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4411379)
This is a good thing?


Why not...inclusiveness is always better than exclusion.

GLWT. How many athletes does an NBA team employee compared to an MLB one? And how bout those guaranteed contracts in the NFL and NBA? And those salary caps.


That is a good point. The chances of making any money as a professional athlete has to be higher for baseball than either football or basketball. MLB has 750 players on the 25 man roster, has 1200 on the 40 man roster, and has probably over 4000 if you include the minors....basketball is 450 on the rosters....and that is pretty much it. Football has about 1700 in the NFL, and that is about it. Add in that you can play in the minors for several years and make decent money(relative to your age and education at least) and it's should be financially appealing to some.
   15. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 12:15 AM (#4411395)
Is Geddy Lee and Rush to blame for this?
   16. Kurt Posted: April 12, 2013 at 12:19 AM (#4411400)
basketball is 450 on the rosters....and that is pretty much it.


You've also got plenty of pro basketball leagues all over Europe, which pay a lot better than minor league baseball.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2013 at 12:25 AM (#4411406)
You've also got plenty of pro basketball leagues all over Europe, which pay a lot better than minor league baseball.


If you are including those, then why wouldn't we include professional Asian baseball also? I don't think many people grow up thinking they want to play professional sports in a foreign country. The point is that there is a lot, and I mean a lot more professional baseball jobs available than basketball or football.
   18. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: April 12, 2013 at 12:31 AM (#4411418)
...
   19. Kurt Posted: April 12, 2013 at 12:31 AM (#4411419)
If you are including those, then why wouldn't we include professional Asian baseball also?


You could. I am confident that most Americans would rather live in Europe than Asia, and imagine that the numbers bear that out. How many Americans are actually playing baseball in Asia?

Edit: And aren't there limits in Japan on how many gaijin each team can have?
   20. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: April 12, 2013 at 01:26 AM (#4411443)
That is a good point. The chances of making any money as a professional athlete has to be higher for baseball than either football or basketball. MLB has 750 players on the 25 man roster, has 1200 on the 40 man roster, and has probably over 4000 if you include the minors....basketball is 450 on the rosters....and that is pretty much it. Football has about 1700 in the NFL, and that is about it. Add in that you can play in the minors for several years and make decent money(relative to your age and education at least) and it's should be financially appealing to some.

NBA and NFL are far more project able from an early age though. If you are a freak athlete there is an excellent chance that you make it big. In baseball there is no such thing as a can't miss prospect, especially for kids in their mid-teens, when realistically they need to make a choice.
   21. Tripon Posted: April 12, 2013 at 01:57 AM (#4411451)
Hip Hop and rap is most popular with White boys from the Suburbs .
   22. Swedish Chef Posted: April 12, 2013 at 02:26 AM (#4411457)
It does seem weird that baseball caps are such a huge part of hip hop culture, but that the game itself is not associated with hip hop at all. Jay-Z is really the only rapper who's a semi-serious baseball fan I'm aware of

Hockey jerseys used to be big in hip hop.
   23. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: April 12, 2013 at 03:03 AM (#4411459)
Hip Hop and rap is most popular with White boys from the Suburbs.
Really? That's a cliche. There are a lot of white kids in the suburbs listening to hip-hop but who do you think the black youth is listening to - Wolfgang Sawallisch?
   24. Flynn Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:36 AM (#4411462)
There are more white kids from the burbs than black kids in the whole country.
   25. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:16 AM (#4411481)
This is MLB’s “autopsy report” because the sport is on life support in black communities.


A. If you're going around doing autopsies of people on life support, you need to be arrested, tortured, killed, and then tried. If you're going to painfully mix metaphors, at least learn the meaning of the words.

B. MLB could give a rat's ass about it's status in black communities. Bring a checkbook if you want Bud's attention.
   26. villageidiom Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:35 AM (#4411486)
While the NFL and NBA have embraced black culture,
I didn't realize concussions and traveling were part of black culture.
   27. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:45 AM (#4411490)
Babseball should make Barbara Billingsley the commish. Everyone wins!

   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 12, 2013 at 08:14 AM (#4411502)
one could contend baseball is ahead of the population curve by the widespread inclusion of latinos in a manner that far exceeds any other industry.

the latino buying power, just by sheer numbers, has to outweigh most demographics.

that and latinos are baseball crazy. well, baseball and soccer.
   29. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 12, 2013 at 08:40 AM (#4411513)
It was mentioned yesterday how hard it is for the untrained individual to throw a ball to the catcher or hit any sort of pitch.

This may be a source of pride, but it does cut down on the possibility of baseball pickup games in the world where it isn't just the default thing you did as a kid.
   30. Ron J2 Posted: April 12, 2013 at 08:56 AM (#4411524)
Hockey jerseys used to be big in hip hop.


Rhianna has made vintage Ottawa Senators jerseys very popular. She went out to a night club in a Sens jersey -- wearing it as a dress. (No shortage of photos either)

EDIT: Smitty would approve of Sens fans. It's become popular in the past few days to post their own pantsless photos.
   31. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4411580)
I really don't have any interest in what some random blogger or Stuart Sternberg has to say about this subject. I would be far more interested in hearing from people like Matt Kemp and David Price and Dexter Fowler and Jackie Bradley Jr. on why they pursued baseball and how the young African-American community feels about baseball, both in terms of playing it and in being fans. But we never seem to hear that.
   32. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 12, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4411603)
The ultimate in hip-hop fashion is Krayzie Bone's Mark Price jersey in the 1st Of Tha Month video.
   33. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4411619)
11: Rany Z. and Joe S. talked about this at length on their most recent podcast episode. They said that Ken Arneson had a post that filtered out the foreign-born players and that the number then rose to 11%, which they said was consistent with the percentage among the overall American population.

They didn't really see an MLB-created problem, but Joe said that MLB could be proactive and fund travel teams of inner-city youth. They also discussed the old K.C. Royals academy, which Rany surpisingly didn't seem to know a lot about.
   34. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4412281)
Hip Hop and rap is most popular with White boys from the Suburbs .


Link.

Just cause I can.
   35. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4412317)
I have a bunch of thoughts, possibly conflicting, about this:

(1) It would be great if MLB had a commish who was a person of color, as I'm sure there are many eminently qualified candidates.

(2) I also don't think it would matter that much.

(3) Part of this is an illusion created by overrepresentation of Americans of African descent in (A) sports in general and (B) baseball in particular in the immediate post-integration period. US blacks play baseball at a roughly proportionate level to the rest of the American population.

(4) Getting more US blacks to play the game would almost certainly be good for baseball all the same. Probably would have essentially no impact on black folks' actual lives.

(5) Speaking of black folks, wallets, and Bud Selig's motives, though income equality is rising, there is still a small portion of wealthy black people who are benefiting from this just like wealthy white people are, and Selig has much more incentive to appeal to rich people of all kinds than anybody else, really.

(6) The idea that baseball somehow fails to appeal to black people because it is old-fashioned and slow feels weirdly freighted to me, and could be read to say that black people can't get into things that are cerebral and require a high attention span, which is ridiculous in its own way.

edited for drunken wordings

(7) Baseball is rad and #### people who don't like it.
   36. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 13, 2013 at 08:22 AM (#4412900)
Hip Hop and rap is most popular with White boys from the Suburbs .

Link.

Just cause I can.


I'll see you and I'll raise you. (Love Sparks, tho.)

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