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 Post subject: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:16 am 
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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09195/983658-109.stm

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:37 am 
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Interesting article. Having been a teacher for 39 years, and a dad who unwillingly coached little league, I can tell you that the absence of fathers in the black community has certainly had an impact on many areas of what most consider normal child rearing experiences. Never thought about the need for adult males in the organization and teaching of baseball to young kids. I'm sure that it is a factor in the lower number of black kids who participate in baseball. Lack of existing fields probably also detracts from participation.

Still, the most important reason why all kids have lost interest is the lousy job of marketing done by MLB and they are paying the price today of fewer players and less public interest in general. Once again look to Selig who continues to be the worst leader baseball has ever had.

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:42 am 
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I can't get to the article because my web filter here at the office doesn't get along with the PG. Does the article cite any hard numbers?


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:45 am 
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Jeremy wrote:
I can't get to the article because my web filter here at the office doesn't get along with the PG. Does the article cite any hard numbers?


Here is the whole thing just to help you out.

The complexion of baseball
Where have all the black men gone?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
By Mark Anthony Neal
When the rosters for today's Major League Baseball All-Star Game were recently announced, only 10 black players were among the 64 picked for the American and National League teams. Among the 16 players chosen as starters by fan vote, only Derek Jeter of the Yankees is African American.

This is a far cry from the 1979 All-Star Game, which featured 16 African-American players, including seven starters and seven future hall-of-famers.

In 2009, a little more than 10 percent of all Major League baseball players are black -- a percentage that represents the first increase in more than a decade but is still a far cry from the nearly 30 percent of black players in the mid-1970s. The diminishing presence of African-American players on virtually all levels of the game has reached such a point that many historically black colleges and universities explicitly recruit white and Latino players to field full-fledged teams.

There are many theories as to why the number of black ball players has declined. Some cite the inability of Major League Baseball to successfully market the game to black youth like the NBA and NFL do.

Others cite the high cost of attending games, a charge that golfer Tiger Woods recently mentioned when talking about ticket prices at the new Yankee Stadium.

Then there's the rising number of international players, particularly from Asia and Latin America. This led Gary Sheffield, a black 20-year veteran, to suggest to GQ Magazine in 2007 that the growing presence of Latino players was due to the fact they were "easier to control."

Of course, many poor black youth are simply challenged by the lack of available space and equipment to play baseball.

Longtime music executive and baseball fan Bill Stephney suggests another reason for the diminishing presence of black baseball players. He thinks baseball lost legitimacy in black communities when black fathers became marginalized.

There is merit in Mr. Stephney's observation. Unlike basketball, which youngsters can learn by watching older youth play, baseball requires a certain level of organization and instruction that often only adults can provide. Indeed, my father sparked my interest in baseball; I can't imagine I would have become interested in the sport without his intervention.

My father belonged to a post-World War II generation of American men who were young when Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, an act loudly cheered by those struggling against legal segregation.

It bears noting that among the current black ball players in the major leagues, a significant number are sons of former professionals, including John Mayberry Jr. of the Phillies, Gary Matthews Jr. of the Angels and Prince Fielder of the Brewers. All of their fathers were All-Stars at one point in their careers.

More telling is the example of brothers Dmitri and Delmon Young and B.J. and Justin Upton. The Young brothers were the first siblings to be selected among the first five picks in baseball's amateur draft -- in 1991 and 2003, respectively. The Uptons were among the top two picks in the 2002 and 2005 drafts. Both sets of brothers talk about how their fathers were instrumental in their careers, with baseball serving as the common language that bridged the generation gap.

The late Buck O'Neil, a veteran of the Negro Leagues and in his later years one of baseball's great ambassadors, once suggested that kids never recall going to their first basketball game with their fathers, but they often remember their first baseball game.

Last month, President Barack Obama promoted the importance of being a good dad, saying he wanted to start a "national conversation" on the subject. Maybe that conversation could take place on a baseball diamond, with fathers and sons and a duffel bag filled with balls, bats and gloves.


Mark Anthony Neal, a lifelong New York Mets fan and the author of "New Black Man," teaches African-American studies at Duke University.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09195/98 ... LEloRDCL&D


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:46 am 
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The NBA appeals more to the hip/hop culture or the black kids. Same with the NFL but to a lesser degree. There is also the slowness of baseball and the lack of video game culture that the other sports have that make them more desirable. The costs for all pro sports is high. A baseball game is the cheapest sport to see live so the cost is not the reason. As far as the "Dad" issue, the same neglected kids by their dads find their way into the NBA/NFL.
Baseball in general has died off as a youth sport. You do not see kids having pick up baseball games like there was when from past generations. Where I live and seeing my own kids and their friends get togrther, they will play street hockey or football.(That may be because of the slowness and the fact that the Pirates have sucked and has caused a lack of interest)The one sprt where there is little black representation is hockey...and that is cost related.

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:51 am 
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I'd point out that as of the last census, the US was roughly 78% white and 15% black.

10 of 64 works out to around 15.6% of the All Star team.

There are additional factors to consider as well. Both football and basketball have seen their popularity explode in the last in the last 20 years which has led many black youth who might have otherwise played baseball to the girdiron of the hardwood. Latinos are a bigger part of the game than ever before. Plus a plethora of other sociological factors.


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:53 am 
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As far as playing, it is cost related also. Bats, gloves, balls and decent instruction are right up there with hockey when it comes to cost. All you need to play basketball is a ball and a playground court. You can play touch football with just a ball and a field in a park or yard. Baseball is also considered a pussy sport. Too bad because you don't have to be 6' 9" or 250 lbs. to succeed at the highest level in baseball.


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:08 am 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
As far as playing, it is cost related also. Bats, gloves, balls and decent instruction are right up there with hockey when it comes to cost. All you need to play basketball is a ball and a playground court. You can play touch football with just a ball and a field in a park or yard. Baseball is also considered a pussy sport. Too bad because you don't have to be 6' 9" or 250 lbs. to succeed at the highest level in baseball.


Yeah, I've kind of dimissed the "cost" issue over the years. If that was so important, all NBA players would be coming from the Dominican!

It has to be cultural as much as anything, or simply more exciting to play BB for a lot of folks in the city. Baseball is essentially, a pastaural game compared to the relative immediate gratification of BB or FB.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:12 am 
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Substitute2 wrote:
Interesting article. Having been a teacher for 39 years, and a dad who unwillingly coached little league, I can tell you that the absence of fathers in the black community has certainly had an impact on many areas of what most consider normal child rearing experiences. Never thought about the need for adult males in the organization and teaching of baseball to young kids. I'm sure that it is a factor in the lower number of black kids who participate in baseball. Lack of existing fields probably also detracts from participation.

Still, the most important reason why all kids have lost interest is the lousy job of marketing done by MLB and they are paying the price today of fewer players and less public interest in general. Once again look to Selig who continues to be the worst leader baseball has ever had.


My brother, who is 16 and will be a junior this year, is on the varsity baseball team and over the past 20 years their school was known for football, wrestling and baseball...but somewhere in the last 10 years the shift has been to soccer and basketball...While the baseball team has still been at a high level, this past season they lost a lot of Seniors and the new group in is almost all from the local little league that had its enrollment cut back to where my youngest brother's little league team turned into a travel league because of the drastic lack of support for baseball in the area...

It's discouraging, of course the same thing has happened in wrestling, but I believe most of that is due to the fact it is more cool and a hell of alot easier to play basketball than it is to wrestle...

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:14 am 
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I wouldn't say it's cooler to play basketball, but it's damn sure easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:26 am 
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nad69dan wrote:

My brother, who is 16 and will be a junior this year, is on the varsity baseball team and over the past 20 years their school was known for football, wrestling and baseball...but somewhere in the last 10 years the shift has been to soccer and basketball...While the baseball team has still been at a high level, this past season they lost a lot of Seniors and the new group in is almost all from the local little league that had its enrollment cut back to where my youngest brother's little league team turned into a travel league because of the drastic lack of support for baseball in the area...

It's discouraging, of course the same thing has happened in wrestling, but I believe most of that is due to the fact it is more cool and a hell of alot easier to play basketball than it is to wrestle...


Blame Bud Selig and the MLB that seems determined to make their game completely inaccessible to young kids in any meaningful sense.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:29 am 
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ZelieMike wrote:
nad69dan wrote:

My brother, who is 16 and will be a junior this year, is on the varsity baseball team and over the past 20 years their school was known for football, wrestling and baseball...but somewhere in the last 10 years the shift has been to soccer and basketball...While the baseball team has still been at a high level, this past season they lost a lot of Seniors and the new group in is almost all from the local little league that had its enrollment cut back to where my youngest brother's little league team turned into a travel league because of the drastic lack of support for baseball in the area...

It's discouraging, of course the same thing has happened in wrestling, but I believe most of that is due to the fact it is more cool and a hell of alot easier to play basketball than it is to wrestle...


Blame Bud Selig and the MLB that seems determined to make their game completely inaccessible to young kids in any meaningful sense.

ZM


Then how has soccer gained in popularity?


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:47 am 
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Jeremy wrote:

Then how has soccer gained in popularity?


Because Bud Selig is not involved????

Seriously, I'm not sure your point.

The biggest reason for soccer's growth, such as it is... which really is not much, is Mother's active involvement, IMO. Rigthly or wrongly, soccer is considered a "safer" sport, especially for very young kids. An added bonus is at the younger ages it is much easier to integrate the sexes on a team. No stereotypes to overcome like BB, or FB.

By the time these kids reach Jr High or HS level, they tend to drift off to BB, FB, or other sports.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:57 am 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
As far as playing, it is cost related also. Bats, gloves, balls and decent instruction are right up there with hockey when it comes to cost. All you need to play basketball is a ball and a playground court. You can play touch football with just a ball and a field in a park or yard. Baseball is also considered a pussy sport. Too bad because you don't have to be 6' 9" or 250 lbs. to succeed at the highest level in baseball.

No way is baseball cost up there with hockey...are you kidding? Ice hockey will cost 3 to 4 thousand (or more)depending if it is a school team or club team. Hockey gear is much more expensive than baseball(Why did my kids want to play hockey?)You cant play hockey without a rink. More schools have baseball, basketball and football as sanctioned sports...hockey is not.

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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Baseball is expensive. Not as expensive as hockey, but to play the sport, an athlete needs cleats ($60), a mitt ($75), a bat ($200 minimum for composite bats, and more likely $350 and up), at least two pairs of baseball pants ($30), and a "backup" mitt ($50).

In total, well over $400. That is a lot of money ... not hockey money, since that sport is stooopid expensive, but a lot of money.

And as for rinks/baseball fields ... there are a lot more baseball fields than hockey rinks, but baseball fields are locked up and used for play only for organized activities. There are no fields that kids can simply walk onto and use after school to play baseball, like when I was a kid.

Compare that to basketball hoops, or open grass fields - like at any public park - that can be used for football. There is no comparison.


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Baseball is expensive. Not as expensive as hockey, but to play the sport, an athlete needs cleats ($60), a mitt ($75), a bat ($200 minimum for composite bats, and more likely $350 and up), at least two pairs of baseball pants ($30), and a "backup" mitt ($50).

In total, well over $400. That is a lot of money ... not hockey money, since that sport is stooopid expensive, but a lot of money.

And as for rinks/baseball fields ... there are a lot more baseball fields than hockey rinks, but baseball fields are locked up and used for play only for organized activities. There are no fields that kids can simply walk onto and use after school to play baseball, like when I was a kid.

Compare that to basketball hoops, or open grass fields - like at any public park - that can be used for football. There is no comparison.


Touch football is totally different from tackle football. I looked in to getting my boy in to Pop Warner down here in Mississippi and the prices made me do a double take.

Outside of the equipment I'd be buying (cleats, gloves, etc) there was a $100 sign up fee and a $500 dollar equipment "rental" fee. I took one look at that and said no way.


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:20 pm 
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Jeremy wrote:
Outside of the equipment I'd be buying (cleats, gloves, etc) there was a $100 sign up fee and a $500 dollar equipment "rental" fee. I took one look at that and said no way.

I did not include sign-up fees. Trust me, all organized sports have such fees. As for the equipment rental - most youth football teams use that as a deposit to insure they get the equipment back at the end of the season. Would you get any of the $$ back?


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:23 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Jeremy wrote:
Outside of the equipment I'd be buying (cleats, gloves, etc) there was a $100 sign up fee and a $500 dollar equipment "rental" fee. I took one look at that and said no way.

I did not include sign-up fees. Trust me, all organized sports have such fees. As for the equipment rental - most youth football teams use that as a deposit to insure they get the equipment back at the end of the season. Would you get any of the $$ back?


No. I even called the league offices and asked. They said they used the money from people like me to offset people who couldn't afford to pay.


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:34 pm 
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Jeremy wrote:
No. I even called the league offices and asked. They said they used the money from people like me to offset people who couldn't afford to pay.


Oh, so Barry Obama is running the league?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Let's not mix sports and politics...


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 Post subject: Re: Where have all the black men gone?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:35 pm 
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BBF wrote:
Jeremy wrote:
No. I even called the league offices and asked. They said they used the money from people like me to offset people who couldn't afford to pay.


Oh, so Barry Obama is running the league?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Let's not mix sports and politics...


I wasn't mixing them. I was relating what I was told.


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