According to the 2002 U.S. Census the percentage of African American citizens in the United States was approx. 13%.
"It's a legitimate problem," Commissioner Bud Selig says. "We're trying to do something about it."
Baseball's African-American population has dwindled from 27% in 1975 to 8%, lowest since baseball was fully integrated in 1959. Baseball has launched numerous programs in an attempt to counteract the decline — everything from the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) to building their first Youth Baseball Academy in Compton, Calif. But progress has been slow.
8% vs. 13%... is this really a "legitimate problem"?? Should we compare the pct. of Latino citizens in this country to the pct. of Latino ballplayers in the game? Do you think there might be a large discrepancy in those two numbers? Would we call this a legitimate problem too? Of course not.
This is exactly what baseball needs," Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi says. "Let's face it, we're doing a lousy job getting the African-American kids playing baseball. It's almost like we've had this elitist attitude. It's like we're saying, "This is baseball, you should play our game.'
When has it ever been the responsibility of MLB to get certain groups of kids to play baseball? Personally I played baseball b/c my parents encouraged me to play. I played baseball b/c I wanted to play. I also played football and basketball b/c I wanted to play these games. Neither me nor my friends had MLB players or personnel "getting us to play". Perhaps the players during my childhood were elitists as well (according to Mr. Ricciardi's description)?
With that being said... it is great to see guys like Torii Hunter do their part to help. I wish more ballplayers would help and get involved in things to help kids and give kids thing to do (and keep them away from the evils out there). But I also think people should understand that the pct. of certain races in the game might be skewed, but the African American pcts. in the game are not that far off from the pct. of African Americans in this country. Without even looking... I'd bet that there is a lower pct. of Caucasian players in MLB than than the pct. of Caucasians in this country. And Latinos?
I see ballplayers. I see the best that the game has to offer. The only colors I see are Cincinnati RED or Chicago BLUE or Cardinal RED or Pittsburgh YELLOW or....