In an op-ed on Wednesday, the Associated Press expressed its dislike that “for the first time since 1950,” there won’t be any black players in the MLB’s World Series game.
In the opinion piece, AP writer Ben Walker was despairing that when the World Series begins on October 28th, there will “be no U.S.-born Black players.”
Walker quoted Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, who stated “That is eye opening. That is eye opening. It is somewhat startling that two cities that have high African American populations, there’s not a single Black player.”
The op-ed rants about it further: “Starting in 1954 when Willie Mays and the New York Giants played against Larry Doby and Cleveland, every single team to reach the World Series had at least one U.S.-born Black player until the 2005 Astros did not.” However, the team that won the series in 2005, the Chicago White Sox, had about a dozen blacks on their roster, including players, staff members, and coaches.
The AP article is a bit inaccurate in the fact that Walker does not mention until the very end of the report in the article that the Astros do indeed have two players of color on the roster. The names of the players are Michael Brantley and Josh James. However, the reason they're not participating in the major game this week is that both had medical issues that forced them on the bench for the remainder of the season. Therefore, it's not the case that neither team has no black players on their roster.
But, the number of black players has decreased this season. In the last season, 7.6 percent of athletes were blacks born in the US. This year, that number dropped down to 7.2 percent. In 1996, only 18% of players were black.
It's not because of incompetence by the league. Walker adds that, after complaining about the lack of black players, that MLB has donated 150 million dollars to Player's Alliance to help foster young black athletes.
Walker does acknowledge that as Football and Basketball gained popularity, “Kids started shifting to other sports.” Black athletes in particular began to be more attracted to football and basketball, leaving baseball out.
While it's definitely unique that no black athletes will play in the 2022 World Championship, there doesn't appear to be any racism involved, despite the media's alarm over it.
The gradual decline in baseball's status as the most watched American sport has more to do with an absence of black players than “racism,” as black children typically dream of touchdowns and hoops more than they dream of home runs.
However, the entire article does raise one concern. Is the Associated Press or writer Ben Walker concerned over the fact that there are a minority of white players playing in the NBA? Or a decreasing amount of white players in the NFL?
You already have the answer to that question.