Each April it seems like we see the same stories about the lack of African-Americans in Major League Baseball. The stories seem to be published around the time when we celebrate the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball on April 15, 1947.
This year is not an exception.
Not only is Jackie Robinson Day coming up on Monday, but a new movie about Robinson called “42” that was released this week has heightened awareness over the decline of African-Americans in the game. MLB commissioner Bud Selig has created a task force to address the issue.
When we published our story on Selig’s plan to create a task force, we immediately saw a great deal of opposition to the plan. People were asking why a lack of African-Americans in baseball is a problem, and why affirmative action is needed in the game.
Though I would hardly equate the creation of a task force to instituting affirmative action, some of the points are valid. I have even expressed such views in the past. Think about it: baseball is an open, non-judgmental game. Spots are earned based on ability and performance. Anyone can play regardless of race or skin color. Why should there be concern about one culture of athletes over any others?
These are good questions to ask, so allow me to explain why MLB wants more African-Americans in the game. There are two prominent reasons why Major League Baseball wants more African-Americans in the sport.