Chris Rock Explains Why Black Kids Aren’t Playing Baseball
"I'm an endangered species, a black baseball fan". This is how Chris Rock begins this video and he's absolutely right. I am definitely on that "endangered species" list. I too have witnessed the erosion and lack of participation in "America's Pastime" by African- Americans and in this video piece for HBO'S "Real Sports" Rock explains his point of view on the topic.
While the numbers and data supports Chris' argument, I've noticed that it goes much deeper than "flashy and cool". Economics (bats, gloves, travel and equipment can be costly), the games slow pace in an "on-demand" world, urban areas developing fewer parks means less places for kids to learn and play the game, recreational leagues that have been taken over by "pay for play" leagues that kids usually have to "try out" for and those that show the most athletic promise are given more attention and coaching, MLB's "farm system" which in a lot of cases, great talent gets lost or disgruntled with not making it to the "big leagues" fast enough...etc....
I could go on and on, but I don't see it as a "big problem". MLB has attempted to address this through various initiatives but I do agree with Rock on this point, if you're going to have an annual celebration for Jackie Robinson, the man that integrated the game, baseball should do more to get African-Americans involved in the game again like the NBA did in the 80's when it saw participation beginning to wane. Again, all is not lost, my oldest son joined his school's baseball team and enjoyed learning the game and has plans to play again next year, and I'm sure there are thousands of other black kids more than willing to play, its up to us to show them the way.