Baseball lacks a strong presence in the African American community. Many black athletes choose to play more glamorous sports like football and basketball, and that’s part of the reason the interest in baseball amongst African Americans is not that strong. We’ve touched on this point in the past when Orlando Hudson said there’s no place in baseball for black bench players (though he is wrong), and when he said free agents were blackballed because of race.
Baseball is a democratic game that works as a meritocracy; if you’re good, teams want you and will pay for your services. The problem is not enough of the best black athletes choose to play baseball, meaning the game isn’t as good as it can be. Not only is there a shortage of black players, there is also a shortage of black fans.
In an interview published Sunday, Yankees gregarious All-Star center fielder Curtis Granderson bemoaned the lack of African-American fans at baseball games.
“Count the number of African-American people here at the stadium who aren’t working at the stadium and see if you can get to 10,” Granderson said.
“At first, it starts off as a joke,” Granderson said. “And then as the game moves on, you’ll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places, it’s easy. Here, it’s hard. So after a while it becomes, ‘Told you so.’ ”
It’s really sad to read something like that. Again, baseball is a meritocracy where players are awarded for being good. We’re not talking about a sport that excludes people the way it used to, but the issue is you want everyone to feel part of the game. It’s better for the sport to have fans and players of all backgrounds contributing to the game. If fans don’t attend because they don’t feel like the game is theirs, then African-American athletes won’t be inclined to play it. It’s a bad cycle that I hope will be broken for the good of the game.
Thanks to Andrew Siciliano for the storyGoogle+