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GAC
06-04-2007, 09:28 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2891875

The percentage of African-Americans playing Major League Baseball is at an all-time low and Gary Sheffield (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=4268) says he has a theory why that's the case.

In an interview with GQ magazine that's currently on newsstands, the typically outspoken Tigers designated hitter said Latin players have replaced African-Americans as baseball's most prevalent minority because they are easier to control.

"I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. [It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them," he told the magazine.
"Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man.
"These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."
According to a 2005 report by the University of Central Florida Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, only 8.5 percent of major leaguers were African-American -- the lowest percentage since the report was initiated in the mid-1980s. By contrast, whites comprised 59.5 percent of the majors' player pool, Latinos 28.7 percent and Asians 2.5.

Boss-Hog
06-04-2007, 10:21 PM
I'm going to reopen this thread, but do not turn this into a political and/or religion-based discussion as was the case here (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58900) or it will have to go to the Peanut Gallery.

edabbs44
06-04-2007, 10:31 PM
I think Sheffield is a fool for making these statements. On the other hand, he plays better when he's pissed AND he is on my fantasy team. Keep getting this guy fired up.

But seriously, what the heck is he trying to say here? That Latin players are easier to control? What does that even mean? Don't tell Feller that...didn't he say something about how Latin ballplayers were the reason for the fighting in baseball?

It blows my mind when this subject is brought up...the dwindling number of blacks in MLB is probably countered by the growing number in the other sports, though I have no immediate statistical analysis. But logic doesn't fit when it comes to Gary. Check this out:

http://100percentinjuryrate.blogspot.com/2007/06/best-of-gary-sheffield.html

StillFunkyB
06-04-2007, 10:37 PM
I am sure somewhere in his head it all makes sense.

The rest of us are left scratching our heads, "Say what?"

Shut up and play baseball Gary.

redsfan4445
06-04-2007, 10:40 PM
My theory is african american players have a quicker pay-day going to play NFL or NBA as they dont have to wait in the minor leauges like you do these two sports.. And as talented as they are, why wait for MLB payday which could be 3-5 years, when you can go from college right to the NFL or NBA?? not being racist just my opinion and i woudl do the same thing if i had talent and had to decide which gets me the money the quickest!

OldRightHander
06-04-2007, 10:59 PM
Take a look at economics, not who can be "controlled." Setting color aside, how many Americans who make it in MLB are from the inner city these days and how many are from the suburbs? When I watch the Little League World Series every year I see few black kids playing for the American teams and the ones I do see, if you will pardon the stereotype, don't sound like they're from the inner city.

Why are inner city kids not playing baseball like they used to? Some people would say that it's available space, more room for fields out of the city, but I'm not buying that. Years ago city kids would play stickball in the alleys and in the streets with strike zones chalked on the side of building. Football is played on a rather large field the last time I checked and you still see more urban kids playing that than you see in baseball today. Basketball is the only sport that you could say is actually suited for the inner city because it doesn't require that much space to put up a hoop, but still, I don't think space is the whole issue.

Of the four major sports in the US, (sorry fellow soccer fans, but it's not up there yet) two of them, baseball and hockey, have minor league systems that a player must play through before making it to the big show and seeing the real money. A lot of players wallow in the minors for years and never make it up. Football and basketball players go straight to the big team if they're good enough. Even a great prospect in baseball or hockey usually doesn't make it up the first year, with a few exceptions. To a kid growing up in poverty, as is the case for the most part in the inner cities, it might appear that basketball or football offer a better chance to get the "quick buck." Get a college scholarship, play a year or two and get noticed by the pro scouts, and then hit the jackpot. Now we all know that many kids who have this dream fall by the wayside. Not many high schoolers make the pros, but I've always thought that the sports without minor league systems offer more instant gratification.

It might be a bit of a stereotype, but inner city kids are raised differently than suburban kids. Life is a little rougher there and many just don't see a way out of their situation. Athletic ability is seen by many as the ticket out. A kid who grows up in a comfortable suburban environment might not be seeing sports as a ticket out of his situation as much as he just sees it as something to enjoy. That kid will gravitate toward whatever sports he enjoys the most, with not as much regard to which one will pay him the soonest.

That doesn't mean that all suburban kids play for the love of the game and all inner city kids are only thinking about money, but I would guess that those attitudes are at least a factor. As far as the number of blacks comes into play, the urban areas happen to have a larger population of blacks than the outlying areas. That demographic is not across the board. I life in Forest Park and there is a good sized black population here. Anyway, if most inner city kids are going for basketball and football, it stands to reason that a good number of those kids are going to be black.

The question we have to ask is do we believe that this is a problem. I don't think it's the same as it was before Jackie came along when blacks weren't given the chance. Now every group has equal opportunity to play in the Majors. For whatever reason, black kids are choosing not to. They are pursuing the other sports, whether it's for cultural reasons, economic reasons, or something else altogether. They do, however, have the choice and the truth is that they're simply not choosing baseball. It saddens me that more aren't choosing to play the game I love, but at the end of the day it is their choice. Maybe people with more brains or resources than me will find a way to get more inner city kids involved in baseball, but other than that, I don't really know what can be done.

Rojo
06-05-2007, 12:39 AM
What percentage of black players, historically, have come from inner cities? I don't know. Seems like a lot of black players have come from the rural South.

Eric_Davis
06-05-2007, 02:25 AM
Though what Sheffield's saying is true, he's assuming that those in authority don't have the capacity to speak to their employees with respect, whether they are white, hispanic, another race, or black.

Frank Robinson quotes:

"I had no trouble communicating, the player's just didn't like what I had to say."

"If he can hit, he can hit. I don't care if he came from Class Z league."

" The way we're going... if I called up another pitcher, he'd just hang up the phone on me."

"What you have to do is just understand these kids today and not think about the past. You have to make adjustments to bridge that gap."

""Managers don't have as much leverage as they used to have. We can't really be the boss. If I say to a veteran player, 'If you don't perform, you may be sent back to the minors, they look at me and say, 'Who are you kidding? I'm not going anyplace. I've already had three years in the major leagues and you can't send me back to the minor leagues without my ok.'"

mth123
06-05-2007, 04:46 AM
I think its pretty simple. Latin players can be signed for cheap and in bunches as Amateur Free Agents. African American's are subject to the draft and many have other, quicker to the big-time options (the NBA and NFL). Cost siphons off some of the black players who are talented enough to be in the picture. Its not an issue with Latin Americans.

RedsBaron
06-05-2007, 06:30 AM
I think its pretty simple. Latin players can be signed for cheap and in bunches as Amateur Free Agents. African American's are subject to the draft and many have other, quicker to the big-time options (the NBA and NFL). Cost siphons off some of the black players who are talented enough to be in the picture. Its not an issue with Latin Americans.

I agree. The assertion that Latins are easier to "control" than blacks is silly at best and racist at worst. It is an opportunity issue, with talented black athletes in the States having the option of playing other sports which have quicker routes to the majors. I also believe that baseball is simply a much bigger sport in much of Latin America than it is in many cities in the U.S., not just among elite athletes but among everybody. I'd guess if you could poll 10 year old African Americans, most would pick basketball as their favorite sport, while 10 year old Latin Americans would name baseball.

mth123
06-05-2007, 07:03 AM
I agree. The assertion that Latins are easier to "control" than blacks is silly at best and racist at worst. It is an opportunity issue, with talented black athletes in the States having the option of playing other sports which have quicker routes to the majors. I also believe that baseball is simply a much bigger sport in much of Latin America than it is in many cities in the U.S., not just among elite athletes but among everybody. I'd guess if you could poll 10 year old African Americans, most would pick basketball as their favorite sport, while 10 year old Latin Americans would name baseball.

True and all athletes that qualify as "Latin American" is a much bigger talent pool than limited to only blacks from the US. A black from the Dominican is labled as Latin American. But a "Latin" from anywhere qualifies as latin, I think the way we count and group people has a lot to do with the numbers.

RFS62
06-05-2007, 07:44 AM
Gary isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. And that has nothing to do with race.

He's just prone to doing and saying stupid things.

Why on earth would anyone care what Gary Sheffield has to say about anything, outside of hitting a baseball?

RedFanAlways1966
06-05-2007, 07:47 AM
Gary isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. And that has nothing to do with race.

He's just prone to doing and saying stupid things.

Yep. Stupid is, stupid does...

http://www.deutsches-filminstitut.de/hdf/pic/forrest_gump_01.jpg

RedsBaron
06-05-2007, 08:12 AM
Why on earth would anyone care what Gary Sheffield has to say about anything, outside of hitting a baseball?

RFS, do you want to take advice from Billy Ray Cyrus or from Gary Sheffield? ;)

RFS62
06-05-2007, 09:27 AM
RFS, do you want to take advice from Billy Ray Cyrus or from Gary Sheffield? ;)


Why, how thoughtful of you to remember, Baron.

I depend on both of them for advice on a wide range of subjects.

Billy Ray's stance on nuclear proliferation has long been a favorite in our household.

Ravenlord
06-05-2007, 09:38 AM
i think Sheff is semi-right...but he's missing the bigger, and guarenteed money of the NBA and NFL. but if 's more a sign of the times, and culutre, than anything else.

Redsland
06-05-2007, 09:42 AM
i think Sheff is semi-right...but he's missing the bigger, and guarenteed money of the NBA and NFL.
I can't speak to the NBA, but in the NFL the only guaranteed money is the signing bonus. The rest of a player's contract can disappear like that. That's why signing bonuses are so important to those players.

Ravenlord
06-05-2007, 09:45 AM
I can't speak to the NBA, but in the NFL the only guaranteed money is the signing bonus. The rest of a player's contract can disappear like that. That's why signing bonuses are so important to those players.
and an unfortuantely significant number of those players get the signing bonus, it's actually quite disturbing to me. i would love to see non-guarenteed bonuses in these contracts, but that's a crack pipe dream at this point.

Cooper
06-05-2007, 09:50 AM
Bill James had a theory (maybe it was more than a theory -i can't remember) that the poorer the player (by race, nationality, etc...) the higher the percentage of those players in the mlb- relative to the percentage of the total overall population.

For instance, in the 1890's there were a lot of working class poor Irish folks in this country-the major leagues were full of irish players. It happened with Italians a little later. Blacks in the 60's and 70's. Maybe that's what is occurring --African Americans have climbed the social ladder (relative to Latinos), thus there's an infusion of Latinos that play mlb.

That being the case,there will be an infusion of chinese players in the mlb in or about 20-25 years (that's if they are granted some kind of freedoms to travel).

smith288
06-05-2007, 10:41 AM
Does "control" mean they respect the game enough to listen to managerial decisions and expect the worst if they do not perform?

Because Gary is obviously not being "controlled"

Gary is so removed from reality and what his predecessors went through its extremely sad...

BCubb2003
06-05-2007, 11:21 AM
Bill James had a theory (maybe it was more than a theory -i can't remember) that the poorer the player (by race, nationality, etc...) the higher the percentage of those players in the mlb- relative to the percentage of the total overall population.

For instance, in the 1890's there were a lot of working class poor Irish folks in this country-the major leagues were full of irish players. It happened with Italians a little later. Blacks in the 60's and 70's. Maybe that's what is occurring --African Americans have climbed the social ladder (relative to Latinos), thus there's an infusion of Latinos that play mlb.

That being the case,there will be an infusion of chinese players in the mlb in or about 20-25 years (that's if they are granted some kind of freedoms to travel).

I think that's true of most sports, including boxing and NBA. You can see the immigration and economic patterns in them.

Johnny Footstool
06-05-2007, 11:38 AM
I think it's economic to a degree, but it's more about how each racial community perceives each sport. Kids in those communities are more likely to pursue the sports that the rest of the community enjoys.

In the black community, the NBA is king, followed by the NFL. Baseball is a distant third, and hockey isn't even on the map.

In the latino community, soccer is tops, with baseball running a close second. The NFL is a distant third, and the NBA is down there with hockey.

It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: the communities don't like particular sports because nobody plays them, so people continue to avoid those sports, and thus they remain unpopular in those communities.

BCubb2003
06-05-2007, 11:45 AM
I think it's economic to a degree, but it's more about how each racial community perceives each sport. Kids in those communities are more likely to pursue the sports that the rest of the community enjoys.

In the black community, the NBA is king, followed by the NFL. Baseball is a distant third, and hockey isn't even on the map.

In the latino community, soccer is tops, with baseball running a close second. The NFL is a distant third, and the NBA is down there with hockey.

It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: the communities don't like particular sports because nobody plays them, so people continue to avoid those sports, and thus they remain unpopular in those communities.

Yes, that's an important point, too. It's kind of interesting how some parts of the country will be big on high school wrestling, or lacrosse. When Willie Mays, a southerner, was playing stickball in New York City, it was cool for city kids of all kinds to play baseball. But the rise of basketball and football has taken over the cities. Also, if city schools supported baseball the way they support football, there'd be a difference.

Eric_Davis
06-05-2007, 02:27 PM
Though what Sheffield's saying is true about this aspect, at least what I continue to hear " "Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man.", he's assuming that those in authority don't have the capacity to speak to their employees with respect, whether they are white, hispanic, another race, or black.

Frank Robinson quotes:

"I had no trouble communicating, the player's just didn't like what I had to say."

"If he can hit, he can hit. I don't care if he came from Class Z league."

" The way we're going... if I called up another pitcher, he'd just hang up the phone on me."

"What you have to do is just understand these kids today and not think about the past. You have to make adjustments to bridge that gap."

""Managers don't have as much leverage as they used to have. We can't really be the boss. If I say to a veteran player, 'If you don't perform, you may be sent back to the minors, they look at me and say, 'Who are you kidding? I'm not going anyplace. I've already had three years in the major leagues and you can't send me back to the minor leagues without my ok.'"

Shoot, I was trying to edit, and instead I "quoted myself". Sorry. I just looked back and strangely, the "edit" button is gone from the post on page one of this thread, but the "edit" button appears on the post that's on page 2 of this thread.

paulrichjr
06-05-2007, 03:03 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=pearlman/070605&sportCat=mlb

Sheffield is one dangerous moron
By Jeff Pearlman
Special to Page 2

In major league baseball, there are morons, and then there are dangerous morons.


The morons adhere to the definition listed in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary: A feeble-minded person or mental defective who has a potential mental age of between 8 and 12 years and is capable of doing routine work under supervision. They think about baseball-baseball-baseball-baseball-baseball-Maxim-baseball-baseball-baseball, with occasional pit stops for food and bathroom breaks. The morons are harmless folks who "just love the game," "wanna be a part of the team" and pause mindlessly (often without blinking) when asked to name their favorite book. The moron's not a smart man, but he knows what love (of "American Pie 2") is.


Like the morons, the dangerous morons are as bright as February at the North Pole. They don't read, don't watch the news -- they certainly don't concern themselves with Iraq, No Child Left Behind, universal health care or Mitt Romney. They are, to be kind, dim.


What makes dangerous morons dangerous, however, is not stupidity -- but, rather, an uncanny inability to recognize one's own shortcomings. Unlike the moron, the dangerous moron believes he is wickedly intelligent, with volumes of fascinating musings just waiting to be dispensed. The dangerous moron looks out at the microphones and TV cameras pointed his way and thinks, "Gee, I'm something special. Allow me to enthrall the nation." Then he starts talking.





Kirby Lee/WireImage.com
How much longer until Sheffield wears out his welcome in Detroit?Although baseball boasts its fair share of enlightened players who actually (gasp!) read and pay attention to world events (Mike Piazza, Sean Casey, Derrek Lee, Mike Mussina, Matt Morris, Carlos Delgado, etc.), they are always overshadowed by the dangerous morons, who equate volume with veracity. They are men like John Rocker, David Wells, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling.


They are men like Gary Sheffield.


During my time covering the majors for Sports Illustrated, I came to know -- and like -- Sheffield. He's a nice guy who plays hard and, I truly believe, wants badly to win. But for his myriad strengths as a ballplayer, Sheffield is the ultimate dangerous moron of our times.


Throughout his seven-team, 20-year career, Sheffield has had an unprecedented run of compiling big numbers, expressing his delight over being in City X -- then whining about finances, feeling unappreciated, pissing off teammates, pissing off coaches, pissing off owners and pissing off fans.


It all started in Milwaukee back in the early 1990s, when Sheffield admitted to intentionally botching plays to express his unhappiness. (As Sheffield said in the Los Angeles Times in 1992: "The Brewers brought out the hate in me. I was a crazy man … I hated everything about the place. If the official scorer gave me an error, I didn't think was an error, I'd say, 'OK, here's a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose.") In the ensuing years, he jealously took shots at several higher-paid teammates, including Shawn Green with the Dodgers and Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez with the Yankees. In 2005 he was asked whether he'd play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, and coldly replied, "My season is when I get paid."


Yet the greatest example of Sheffield's dangerous moroninity (a moronic word I just moronically invented) comes in this month's GQ magazine, in which the Tigers slugger offers his theory as to why the percentage of African-Americans in the majors is at an all-time low.


Says Sheffield: "I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. … [It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them. Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man. These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."


Here is the point where Clichéd Columnist Rule No. 28-6 demands that I slam Sheffield; that I call for an apology, question his worthiness as a human being, and challenge Bud Selig to come up with some sort of a suspension. "If there is a line for all, Sheffield, an African-American, just crossed it," penned Gannett's Mike Lopresti in a well-written but predictable rebuttal. "An entire race of athletes was reduced to a stereotype. The enormous growth of Latin players in the majors was given an asterisk."


This is how it's worked in the sports media for eons: We ***** and moan that players are little more than mantra-spewing robots. We long for a guy who'll speak his mind. We find a guy who speaks his mind. We rush toward him. He speaks his mind. He's a dangerous moron who says inane things like, "Where I'm from, you can't control us" and "If you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home?" We excitedly work our butts off to try to coerce him to say even more inane things (Oldest trick of the trade: Start with softball questions, transition slyly into the hard stuff). He does. Then we hang him.


Well, I'm no longer playing that game. I refuse to bash Sheffield for his words because, quite frankly, the man is a dolt. He has as much business holding court on non-see-ball-hit-ball topics as I do analyzing the collective works of Shannon Hoon. I don't care what Sheffield thinks about the Latin-American versus African-American ratio of players because:


A. Within two days he'll express a completely different opinion.


B. Within four days he'll switch back to his original opinion.


C. Within a week he'll be demanding a trade or contract extension.


Ooops -- hold that thought. I've gotta run. The Terrell Owens news conference is about to start …