Same As It Ever Was??

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: June 27, 2009

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — Two years ago, this writer wrote an article on the lack of African Americans on the diamonds of college baseball. This year, there was a slight improvement because both teams vying for the championship had African American players on the field, but it is still a work in progress.

The Black players were outfielders or pitchers only.

The Division I College World Series ended this past Wednesday night with the Championship Round at Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium. Both teams have been there before and have won many baseball titles. This would be either the sixth title for the LSU Tigers or would have been the seventh title for the Texas Longhorns.

The only other school in NCAA history with that many baseball titles resides in Southern California. The Trojans have six baseball trophies on their campus. But many college baseball diamonds are still lily white and the problem still exist. It has not changed that much from three years ago.

The NCAA changed the format in the championship series to the best of three and this year it paid off with three great games. Monday night the L.S.U. Tigers beat the Texas Longhorns 7-6 in one of the greatest comebacks ever. Tuesday night the Longhorns scored runs early to beat the Tigers 5-2 to extend the Championship to a third game. Wednesday night the Tigers took control of this game with three home runs and stellar pitching to beat the Longhorns to take the National Title.

The NCAA, and (MLB) Major League Baseball still have to address the issues of the lack of African Americans on the College Baseball diamonds which then leads to the lack of African Americans in Major League Baseball diamonds.

It is very troubling to see HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) having problems fielding Black baseball players for their teams. Many HCBU’s have non African Americans playing on their baseball diamonds.

Major League Baseball had 38 % Black Latino and African American players in 1970’s. Jackie Robinson was a vary proud man, Robinson made a point in 1972 at the All Star Game, baseball had two Black base coaches and that there were no third base coaches, Robinson pointed this out to the American public. He also pointed out on this day that no African Americans donned the manager’s cap.

Jackie Robinson would not be happy with college baseball or Major League Baseball this year. Today, there are four Black, two Latino, and one Asian American manager.

The figure for black players on the field dropped to a staggering 8 % in 2009.

In 1970-73, the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded a complete Black team with Black Latinos for the playoffs and World Series. This will not happen again if baseball continues its program of denial. Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby would be very dismayed at the current state of the game of baseball for African American player.

African American youths do not want to play this game because they see the shananagins and double talk and do not want to be bothered. These young talented players are very intelligent and move on to basketball or football.

Many young minority players do not want to be a part of the darkest hour of major league baseball. These current events are worst then the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal because Major League Baseball refuses to come clean with the truth.

To add insult to injury MLB also is harboring a hint of racism, outing six players the past five years and accusing them of using steroids. The two white players outed have gotten back in the good graces of baseball with their apologies while the players of color are being vilified as evil men.

Barry Bonds is and was the poster boy for steroids and many young African American baseball players do not want to go through the turmoil that the Bonds family have gone through the past five years.

Now one can see why many young African American baseball players are walking away from the game, never to return. This trend will continue until Major League Baseball reviles the complete list of names, the trend will continue until baseball inducts a new commissioner and changes its image in the African American community.