The African-American has found another past-time.Â Young blacks are not migrating toward baseball the way they were back in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s andÂ even the 80’s to some degree.
Today’s black teen and so many young African-Americans are ignoring baseball a game that their fathers and grandfathers played with a passion.Â Today’s black teens are moving more and more to year-round basketball programs and to football.Â The NBA is the showcase to today’s black youth and the NFL offers more to them than Major League Baseball can muster.
There are still many black players in today’s game but they hail from Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, the Domican Republic, and all the places in-between Latin and Central America.Â Canada is producing more pro-level baseball players than the US black communities these days.
NC A&T has more white players in their lineup than they do black players.Â Larry Farrar the baseball coachÂ over atÂ Dudley High School is trying do something about it here locally but it is still a small drop in the bucket to what we are seeing when it comes to the decline of the black baseball player in today’s society.Â Derrick Johnson has tried to keep things moving forward at Smith HS by bringing more black players to the game but it has been a major struggle.
Why are the young black African-Americans not interested in baseball?Â The NBA and NFL offer up more glamour and more instant recognition.Â The money gets bigger quicker.Â You don’t have to go through a minor league system in proÂ basketball and football.Â The wait is so much shorter than in baseball and the next thing you know you are on TV and chasing LeBron James and Pac Man Jones all over the place.Â At least that’s what the kids are being led to believe.
How many African-Americans have come through the Marlins’ system and been Greensboro Grasshoppers lately?Â Jai Miller and Greg Burns are two quick names that come to mind.Â Ironically, both of those guys are centerfielders.Â Bottom line, we are not seeing many African-Americans coming through the Greensboro systems.Â Otis Nixon, Reggie SandersÂ and Derek JeterÂ made it to the bigs coming out of here but the list is short.
We all knowÂ a guy can beÂ black and not be an African-American.Â How many home-grown black men from the US are we seeing in the majors these days?Â Hey there’s Jeter,Â Barry Bonds and Tori Hunter and Dontrell Willis, Gary Sheffield, Prince Fielder, Tony Gwynn Jr., Josh Barfield, Ray Durham, Derek LeeÂ and a few others but not many.
Andru Jones is from the Virgin Islands and the black names we see today are Soriano, Hernandez, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Ramirez,Â Ortiz, Tatis, Sanchez, Furcal, Gillen, Castillo, Encarnacion,Â Pena, Sosa,Â Molina, Cabrera, Guererro, Chavez, Tejada, etc.Â These are not black men they just look to be in the eyes of those searching for answers.Â
Take a look, the Japanese and Chinese players are coming into the big leagues more rapidly than today’s African-Americans.Â Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey,Â Jackie Robinson, Frank Robinson, and other black greatsÂ helped set the foundation for today’s game of baseball but their decendants can’t be found around the diamond of today.
It’s going to be up to kids like Alan Craven at Grimsley, Tyler Rankin at Ragsdale, and James ‘Tre Perry at Dudley to bring back the black to the game of baseball.Â The African-American has his place in baseball historyÂ and it will be up toÂ today’s kids to see if they want to preserve it.Â Grimsley has one black player, Ragsdale has two, Page has a few,Â Dudley and SmithÂ have plenty which is to be expected but at Northwest, Southeast, Southern, Eastern, and many of our other local schools you won’t see any at all.Â Â
The call is out there, will any of our African-Americans accept itÂ and set their sights on the major leagues in baseball or will they continue to flock to theÂ basketballÂ courtsÂ and football fields in the future?Â Â Â Â Â Â