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There are no U.S.-born black players on the Giants. Is that a problem?

Feb 28, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Mays Thompson Irvin

CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly made an observation while hanging out in the Giants’ clubhouse here in Scottsdale the other day:

I looked around the room, I realized that [Willie] Mays, and his assistant, were the only people of African-American heritage in it … Sure, there have been times when the Giants did not have a single African-American on the roster. But no representation whatsoever in big league spring training? More than 70 players, and not one African-American in the room? That realization stunned me.

It is rather stunning given how many people are in camp.  As Baggarly notes, of course, it is part of a larger trend in baseball in which black players from the United States are less and less common in the game. It’s territory that has been covered often in the past several years. And it’s attributable to any number of things, be it economics, shifts in tastes, other options available, international scouting, the draft and its rules and on and on. While some want to portray this as something sinister or as a crisis — which, it should be noted, Baggarly does not do —  my view is that it just … is.

source:  While there’s no denying the oddity of a group of 70 professional ballplayers not containing a single black player from the United States, it’s not as if this or any other clubhouse is lily white or lacks diversity. As I was walking around in it this morning I saw black skin, brown skin and white skin. There were players from North and South America, the Caribbean and Japan. I heard conversations in at least three different languages being covered by media writing in three different languages. That guy to the left is Santiago Casilla. If you didn’t know who he was and didn’t hear him speak, I’m guessing you wouldn’t say that the Giants lack diversity.

After I walked outside, I came across Bruce Bochy sitting for an interview with what appeared to be a Japanese TV station. He was asked to characterize what, apart from baseball skill, made his team a good one. Bochy’s answer was diversity. He described it in two ways: first, diversity of character, referring to guys with beards, guys with crew cuts, guys who joke, guys who don’t, and on and on.  Then he talked about having players from Venezuela, the United States, Curacao, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. He says it’s just a great mix of people.

Now, sure, he may be pushing that as a bit of spin in the days since media outlets picked up on Baggarly’s story about the lack of black players in camp. Or he may simply be doing what every other manager does in spring training and talk about what a great group of guys he has. Heck, even Bobby Valentine talked that talk last year.

But I also tend to think that Bochy is speaking a lot of truth here about where the game is at the moment. Without question, it sucks that more black players from the United States aren’t playing the game. I think Bochy would agree with my long-held sentiment that life would be 100 times better if every guy who was playing in the secondary of an SEC football team was instead patrolling an outfield because, man, it’s such a waste to see that kind of athletic wasted on such an inferior pursuit.

But that’s not where we’re at for a million reasons. And while it would be a good thing to try to change that, the fact that we’re not there doesn’t mean baseball has a diversity problem. It’s just changing. As it has always changed and likely always will.

104 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natslady - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Denard Span looked around and noted that he was the only “African-American” on our roster in the “Chocolate City.” Yes, he said that. It was pointed out that he has an African-American shortstop on his new team…

    Desi does a lot of work with kids around our city, as does the team. I’m hoping Span does the same.

    • gerryb323 - Feb 28, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Ian Desmond is black?

  2. rcali - Feb 28, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    What does this have to do with my fantasy baseball team?

  3. micksmantle - Feb 28, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    And it’s the posting of stories like this that make this site inferior to every other baseball site on the internet. Among other things of course.

    • blabidibla - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      And since you make the time to post on the most inferior baseball site on the internet, that makes you…?

      • historiophiliac - Feb 28, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        Part of the problem?

  4. lyon810 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    ugh who cares.

  5. prospero63 - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Clearly the gays are racist. See what I did there for that joke?

  6. dfh3456 - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Maybe the Giants should bring back Barry Bonds, just for diversity, and in the interest of keeping the peace.

  7. buffalomafia - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    Who cares! I get sick of hearing about this issue! Maybe they just suck?!

    • badintent - Feb 28, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      It’s the last day of black history month so Craig had to play the race card. I ‘m looking forward to Mullato Month in May so my wife’s family can get some $$$$$ from Obama for her entitlements. Georgetown brownstone crib, Air force 2, travel expenses account………………………

    • michaelmcqueen2013 - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      Maybe its just your attitude that sucks. Get help for your inferiority complex.

  8. jrobitaille23 - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    not as far as white basketball players is concerned. Blacks make up 78% of players in the NBA. The other 22% is not all white, you have asian, latin, and then many of the white players are from oversees. I don’t hear anyone speaking about that epidemic. Where’s the outcry about that?

    • bigtrav425 - Mar 1, 2013 at 6:52 AM

      i think we all know the answer to this bad most douchebag “writers” do not

  9. jrobitaille23 - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    not as far as white basketball players is concerned. Blacks make up 78% of players in the NBA. The other 22% is not all white, you have asian, latin, and then many of the white players are from oversees. I don’t hear anyone speaking about that epidemic. Where’s the outcry about that?

  10. thebadguyswon - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Its only racial if it negatively impacts blacks.

    The media is unable to masturbate furiously while writing stories about white injustice. They aren’t capable of doing it.

    Now maybe……just maybe , we can get back to sports and not talk about gays in sports or racial injustice in sports. Are there any REAL WRITERS around here?!

  11. marcinhouston - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    Honey Badger doesn’t give a damn about playing outfield.

  12. gibbskins9 - Mar 1, 2013 at 5:23 AM

    There are no U.S. born Caucasians on the Washington Wizards is this a problem?

  13. bigtrav425 - Mar 1, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    way to play the race card douche bag…could it be coincidence?? could it be that MLB (Cleveland has a function like this atleast) is still trying to get younger black kids to try baseball instead of other sports? could it be that YOU and the other reporter are racist and/or trying to get 15 minutes of fame? could it be you needed a story because you couldnt find one? The answer to ALL of these are YES!….Sometimes your best “stories” are the ones you dont write…..remember will do ya good

    • michaelmcqueen2013 - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Stop crying and making something more out of his comment
      than what it is. It is just an observation. You show your immaturity,
      cynicism and lack of a real education with statements like that.

  14. going4iton4th - Mar 2, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    I think love of the game and having a good working knowledge of the nuances and the history come into play too. I know in the South there is a strong influence for football (mostly college but pro is always there)–I think baseball still has its presence it’s just not as strong as it once was…I for one appreciate baseball as a more globalized game—I think MLB and Selig needs to prioritize giving money to youth baseball in underfunded areas and also working more in conjunction with the college game.

  15. honus44 - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Who cares how many Black players are in MLB. I am tired of hearing about the racial crap every day. Just play ball and enjoy the Game. If the are players out there who are black that can help the Giants i am sure they will be on the roster

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