03.14.07

Sabathia : Lack Of Black Ballplayers “A Crisis”

Posted in Baseball at 4:35 pm by

Crooked capped Indians starter C.C. Sabathia, as quoted by the AP’s Paul Saynca.

œThere aren™t very many African-American players, and it™s not just in here, it™s everywhere, Sabathia said Wednesday between morning workouts. œIt™s not just a problem ” it™s a crisis.

Sabathia, the only black player on the Indians™ 25-man roster last season, feels baseball could be doing more to promote its game to inner-city kids who are gravitating toward basketball and other sports.

œI go back home to Vallejo, Sabathia said of his offseason time in California, œand the kids say, ™What™s baseball?™ It™s not just an issue for my hometown, it™s an issue for the whole country. I think Major League Baseball should do something about it. I don™t know exactly what they could be doing, but I know it™s not enough.

Sabathia appreciates some of the steps baseball has taken to make itself more appealing to young blacks such as the Urban Youth Academy, which opened last year in Compton, Calif. Also, there™s the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, which has attracted more than 120,000 kids worldwide.

Still, it™s not enough to Sabathia, who along with Florida™s Dontrelle Willis are the only prominent black starting pitchers in the majors.

œThat™s amazing. That™s unbelievable, he said. œI don™t think people understand that there is a problem. They see players like Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado and just assume that they™re black.

œThey don™t see us playing, Sabathia said. œWhen I grew up, I was a pitcher and I liked the Oakland A™s. I liked Dave Stewart. I was a big left-handed hitter, so I liked Dave Parker. You had Barry Bonds playing in San Francisco, guys like that. There were a lot of guys to look up to.

If he was a kid today, would Sabathia be playing baseball?

œNo way, he said. œThat™s the truth.

4 Responses to “Sabathia : Lack Of Black Ballplayers “A Crisis””

  1. wes says:

    Once again, a case of work being outsourced to Asia…

    Seriously though, it’s interesting to think about the consistently increasing amount of Latin and Asian players. Is it really as simple as baseball not being promoted enough in the “inner city,” as most of the media surrounding this issue seems to insinuate? Also, what’s with the assumption that most black kids live in the ghetto? And with Sabatha saying kids in Vallejo don’t even know what baseball is? I live in SF, and Vallejo is about a twenty minute drive from AT&T/SBC/whatever the fuck they’re calling it this year Park… so I’m quite sure that most kids are aware of this strange thing foreign thing called baseball.

    No one really examines the possibility that baseball, culturally, is simply more intriguing to Latinos and Asians. Or maybe that it’s just not as interesting as basketball or football to young black kids because of the pacing.

  2. Hot Shit College Student says:

    Funny, I’ve never heard the black kid and pace related joke. I assume you’ve never viewed a Speedy Gonzalez episode either, wes.

  3. wes says:

    I’m not sure what that is, honestly…what I basically meant and worded poorly is that I think that with ever shortening attention spans (of ALL kids, black, white, whatever), it doesn’t exactly surprise me that a kid watching a baketball or football game is more interested in it than in a baseball game where the majority of the game is spent watching men stand around.

  4. Hot Shit College Student says:

    Apologies, I figured as much, but got all reactionary instead. Speedy Gonzalez is a Warner Bros. cartoon character who is a mouse, very fast, and an ugly stereotype.

    I still disagree that attention span has anything to do with it, kids can enjoy Hawk Harrelson tell some Yaz stories in between pitches, or stare at the players’ junk. Baseball’s low popularity in the black community has plenty to do with few playing fields, and equipment in underclass urban areas. A lack of year round play doesn’t help either.

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