Re: Jackie's Heirs Haven't Learned
I think a big factor in the shift of black kids away from baseball is, as others have said, choice. Professional baseball has been around since the mid 1800s. Both black and white kids grew up admiring the professional athlete and knew if they were good enough they could play in either the white leagues or the Negro leagues. They didn't know from football or basketball. There were pro leagues in both sports but they didn't receive much attention until the latter half of the 20th century. And by then even black kids knew they could play in the former all white leagues. Now, kids have the opportunity to enjoy all 3 sports. During their seasons there seems to be a college basketball or football game on every night. And, really, most of those guys are pros, except instead of money, they receive room, board, books and tuition. But they are treated like pros. And the pros get a lot of money. But the money is a secondary factor. It is the attention that is brought to them that kids see. TV, radio, newspapers, magazines all used to cover baseball almost exclusively among the 3 major pro sports. Even in the 70s and early 80s, the NBA would show some playoff games - including the championship series - on tape delay instead of prime time. The first few Super Bowls weren't sellouts. That's unthinkable now. Kids now know who the great basketball and football players are. So now they have someone to look up to and emulate besides baseball players.