baseball and the ethnic/racial issues sport is faced with. In the first part, I have compared baseball with football and basketball on race/ethnic issues. I have also given a detailed account of the several stereotypes still present in the society regarding ball players. I have also given an account pertaining to the baseball fans. Moreover, I have given the current statistics of front office/management. I have also discussed World Baseball Classic.
According to the 2011 statistics, the percentage of the white, African-American, Latino and Asian baseball players was 61.5%, 8.5%, 27% Latino and 2% respectively. The other minorities constituted the remaining one percent. The percentage of African-Americans in the baseball has raised concerns as it has reduced to half as compared to the 17% in 1990. With every passing year, there has been a decrease in the percentage of African-American players and there are more teams now with few or no African-Americans. According to the 2011 Racial and Gender Report Cards of National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and National Football League, the percentage of African-Americans in NBA, MLB and NFL was 78%, 9% and 67% respectively. As far as Latino and Hispanic ethnicities are concerned, the percentage of players in NBA, MLB and NFL was 4%, 27% and 1%. There were 17% whites in NBA, 62% in MLB and 30% in NFL. The Asians were not a major part of any of the sports with 1%, 2% and 2% for NBA, MLB and NFL respectively (“Racial Breakdown of NFL, NBA, MLB – Ethnicity in Baseball, Football, and Basketball Infographic”). Thus, the comparison crystal clearly demonstrates that the whites dominate the Major League Baseball as compared to the other races and ethnicities. Thus, the mentioned facts and figures clearly reflect the fact that baseball has more clout than other renowned sports in America as far as ethnic and racial issues are concerned.
The researchers have proposed several theories regarding the diminishing of African-American community from baseball. One of the main theories suggest that as baseball is a sport with slow pace and requires long hours; the new generation especially teenagers find basketball and football as more thrilling and exciting due to the fastness and shorter time periods of the two sports. However, it is not the only problem. One of the main problems is the draft of the Major League Baseball that is just meant for the amateur players. This means that if an overseas player is needed by a baseball team, it simply makes him a part of the team without going through the draft. This is the reason why huge investments have been made by Major League Baseball for the development and exploration of outside the country. This exaggerated dependence and attention to the foreign athletes consequently results in the negligence of the local talent. In previous times, huge investments were being made in the development of talent in the localities but now the convenience proposed by the draft has shifted the focus of the investors to the international athletes who could be signed for the team without having any draft. Another major cause that is contributing to the lesser number of African-Americans in baseball is that colleges offer only a small number of scholarships for baseball as compared to football. However, Latino players have been benefitted as there were 27% Latino players in the Major League Baseball in 2011. It is expected that the number of Latino baseball players will continue to increase as the investors focus on international players. However, this does not mean that the game is only supported and liked by the growing Latino population. Baseball is equally liked by the growing Asian population that has got passionate fans of the game. In recent years, Asian players are also being signed to represent the national baseball team though the number of Asian players is still very less as compared to other minority/ethnic/racial groups (Klein, 2006).
As far as my opinion is concerned and the research I have conducted, the contemporary However, measures like the World Baseball Classic created by MLB, IBF (International Baseball Federation) and MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) are a good way to promote the sport among the fans and players. It is basically an international baseball tournament organized with the purpose of promoting baseball all over the planet. The first event took place in the year 2005 and is held every 4 years since then. The most distinctive feature of this tournament is that professional players are granted the permission to participate freely and represent their native countries. Due to this event, lots of interest has been generated and love for the game has increased as the people all around the world get the opportunity to watch the bests of the best and their favorites. It is also important to mention here that the World Baseball Classic has not done much to encourage African-Americans play the game. However, there are hopes that it will get the attention of the future generations.
As far as the number/percentage of front office and management is concerned, the recent report card demonstrates the fact that “there was an increase in the percentage of people of color as coaches, team vice presidents, and team senior professional staff while there was a decrease in the percentage of people of color in the League Office and as managers and general managers” (Lapchick, 2012).
As far as my opinion about stereotyping in baseball in today’s world is concerned, I feel that the stereotyping and biasness about the ball players has not entirely eliminated. It is still a fact that African-American players are considered as fleshy, rude and aggressive as compared to the other players belonging to different races and ethnicities. It is also an idea generated by society that white are better in academics when compared to African-Americans and for that reason are given more baseball scholarships. However, there has been a change in this idea recently. In the present times, there has been a transformation in people’s opinions about ball players of different races and they are considered as more athletic than the white players. If the pages of the history are turned, it is rather obvious that blacks were made slaves because of their physical power and strength. This is the reason why blacks are still considered as the race that is better in sports than academics.
People have other stereotypes about the other ethnicities in the ball game. For instance, a number of races are stereotypes as more disciplined when it comes to game. Some players are considered as better but less belligerent shooters than others. It is also commonly acknowledges that African-Americans are entertainers and make the crowds cheer due to their magical tricks with the ball, still they are not regarded as better ball players when compared with other players of different ethnicities. However, it is unfortunate that such stereotypes affect the individuality of the ball players to a great extent as they are judged by seeing their race and not their talent. Judging them as monolithic entity is rather unjustified and treating them with racial prejudice is also against the rules and standards of the game. To cut a long story short, baseball is a game that is meant to connect people. However, the consistent prejudicial and biased behaviors towards the races and ethnicities have littered the sport that has the power to transform society. The steps taken by MLB for the promotion of baseball may change the circumstances and the game may be promoted to a larger level. However, there needs to be consistent efforts in this regard because the change may not occur overnight.
Klein, A.M. (2006). Growing the Game: The Globalization of Major League Baseball. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Lapchick, R. (2012, April 25). The 2012 Racial and Gender Report Card: Major League Baseball. Tide Sport. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2012/2012_MLB_RGRC.pdf
Racial Breakdown of NFL, NBA, MLB – Ethnicity in Baseball, Football, Basketball Infographic. (n.d.).Swimtown Pool Supplies. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www.swimtownpools.com/racial-breakdown-of-mlb-nba-nfl-a/271.htm
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