Re: Torii Hunter seeks to make a difference
I think Ozzie is right on target. I know a lot of the older players like to reminisce and say how great it was in the 50s and 60s, and the 70s to a degree when there was a great number of significant black players then as opposed to now. But there were limited opportunities then for young black athletes. Up till the 70s, a lot of schools, especially in the south, either did not allow black players on their football and basketball teams, not to mention in their schools, and those who did would not necessarily play the black players as much as they should have. the NFL and NBA were integrated but it was almost the reverse of what it is today. Now a young black athlete has the opportunity to go to college anywhere in the US if he is good enough. And, really, that is what it is all about. If they are talented enough they may not stay 4 years but they are being given an opportunity their grandfathers did not. I may sound naive here but I do not think there is a more color blind place in this country than college athletics. I am sure there are exceptions but there is no quota any more. Coaches are looking for talent whether it is black, white or whatever. Even the black QB taboo has fallen.
It is the rare kid who has skills enough to play football, basketball and baseball at a high level. But those who can, whether they be black or white, are encouraged now days to concentyrate on 1 sport so they can excel at it. That decision is usually made by Jr. High school. Anyone can see the advantages that college football and basketball have over college and/or pro baseball for kids who want to make money ASAP. They can go to school for free for 1 to 5 years, take advantage of all that college has to offer and, if they are good enough, get drafted and not only make big money up front but also get to play on a regular basis. Or, they can play college baseball, possibly having to pay some for school as a lot of programs do not offer full scholarships to everyone. They are also stuck there till they are juniors, which does not differ from college football but players who leave for the NFL have an opportunity to play right away and make good money from the start whereas college baseball players may get a nice signing bonus but have to serve an apprenticeship in the minors where they have to prove themselves over again.
I understand Torri and the others lament about the lack of black baseball players. I just hope they understand that there are more opportunities out there for black kids than baseball.