By: Tye Richmond
Does baseball have a problem with their black audience?
The Major League Baseball All Star game was on Tuesday night but before the game, Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Mookie Betts wore a shirt saying, “We need more Black people at the stadium”.
Mookie Betts came out with a “We need more Black people at the stadium" shirt before the #AllStarGame
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 19, 2022
Betts’ message comes at a time when the amount of Black players in MLB is down compared to past years.
According to a report released in May, MLB has a smaller amount of Black players now than in any year since the early 1990s. Black players made up only 7.2 percent of MLB players at the start of the 2022 season, compared to 18 percent in 1991.
In a wbur.com article its sums up the problem very well. “A lot of Black kids looked up and saw stars in the NFL and NBA who come right out of high school or right out of college and are suddenly on national television,” Janes says. “And in baseball, that just doesn’t happen.”
“The money and the fame doesn’t come right away for baseball players, Janes says. It’s a tougher road for athletes because they often spend five years in the minor leagues before reaching their big breakthrough.”
“And fewer Black players means fewer Black people in leadership roles, Janes says. It’s always been largely white men who get hired to run baseball. She says one reason is that the sport requires a lot of travel, which costs more money.”
“If you don’t have the money, you don’t get the exposure and you don’t get the scholarships,” Janes says. “It’s also a sport that’s harder for poorer families to be a part of and so Black kids in those circumstances are having trouble kind of breaking in.”
In sports media now you barely see or hear anything about baseball. It is only really during the all-star or during the playoffs. Even MLB best player Mike Trout you barely see him on TV or promoted. Back in the 90s MLB was everywhere you know the top players like Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, & Mark McGwire.
Baseball doesn’t have the same draw and pull that it once had and it shows in the media attention, ticket sales, and tv viewership.
But MLB then make history this past week On July 17, history was made within the first five picks of the 2022 MLB Draft.
For what is believed to be the first time in MLB history, four of the top five Draft picks are Black.
All four played in MLB's Dream Series, aimed at growing baseball in Black communities and showcasing top talent.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) July 18, 2022
Taken from picks No. 2 to No. 5 respectively, Druw Jones (Arizona), Kumar Rocker (Texas), Termarr Johnson (Pittsburgh) and Elijah Green (Washington) represent the first time in draft history that four of the top five selections were Black players.
That is great for the game of baseball but now lets see how they perform and how the MLB can promote them and the sport in a bigger way.