Not too long ago I was reading a study that came out with some interesting findings about baseball. Apparently our national pastime, this great game we’ve all loved our entire lives — or for some one point or another — is not as popular as it once was with the diverse races in the United States.
Not too long ago I was reading a study that came out with some interesting findings about baseball.
Apparently our national pastime, this great game we’ve all loved our entire lives — or for some one point or another — is not as popular as it once was with the diverse races in the United States.
According to this study, the number of African-American players in baseball is down as well as the number of African-American fans.
And in all honesty, it’s the truth.
But for the wrong reasons.
Time and time again there’s always this grand initiative in Major League Baseball to reach out into the inner-city communities (by the way, that’s a poor public relations term for black communities), and rekindle an interest in the game. There’s R.B.I., the Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities initiative. And there’s the annual Civil Rights Game that in all honesty begs African-Americans to come out to the ballpark.
Now these are good initiatives, don’t get me wrong, but Major League Baseball needs to be doing more to appeal to the African-American communities. One little program and an annual game to salute every person’s God-given right, is not going to bring people out to the ballgame.
MLB needs to expose the great players in the game today and create heroes for African-American kids in baseball so that they can one day dream of being a baseball player themselves.
Honestly, when was the last time you saw African-American baseball players in marketing roles for the game? Probably the late ‘90s when Ken Griffey, Jr. and Frank Thomas were plastered all over Nike commercials and Wheaties boxes.
Today you see big names like Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols as the mainstream image players for baseball and big companies, but yet there is no African-American star in the spotlight.
Baseball has a load of African-American stars right now.
Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Andrew McCutchen, John Mayberry, Jr., and Jimmy Rollins are the top players that come to mind.
Why aren’t they doing commercials for some big-name sports product? Why aren’t they spokesmen for popular companies? Sure, Howard has done a couple of Subway commercials, but that’s not going promote baseball to black kids.
If baseball is going to have any kind of African-American turnout at its 30 stadiums then there needs to be an exploited African-American hero.
And if African-American kids are looking for heroism in baseball, there is of course Jackie Robinson for breaking the color barrier, but there are many others, too.
Keep in mind kids, it is a black man by the name of Willie Mays who is one of the greatest of all-time, a black man by the name of Ricky Henderson who is the stolen bases king, a black man by the name of Frank Robinson who is the only player in history to win the MVP award in both the National and American leagues, and it is a black man by the name of Bob Gibson who batters feared the most.