Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Jaime Garcia scratched from Sunday start due to shoulder setback

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia

    More shoulder problems for Jaime Garcia, who has made 16 combined starts since the beginning of the 2013 season.

  2. The Shane Victorino saga with Boston radio personalities continues

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Shane Victorino Shane Victorino

    Shane Victorino didn’t like the way a pair of radio personalities in Boston interpreted his desire to see the Red Sox acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies.

  3. Giants catcher Matt Paré talks about the not-so-glamorous life in the minor leagues

    Mar 28, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    giants logo

    Giants minor league catcher Matt Paré discussed the thrifty lifestyles minor league players are forced into.

  4. Video: Alex Rodriguez connects for his third home run of the spring

    Mar 28, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    Rodriguez is now batting .306 (11-for-36) with three home runs, a double and a .925 OPS across 15 games this spring.

  5. Report: Mets talking contract extension with Lucas Duda

    Mar 28, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Lucas Duda AP

    Lucas Duda is coming off a breakout year with the Mets and the two sides are now discussing a contract extension.

  6. Didi Gregorius suffers left wrist sprain, X-rays come back negative

    Mar 28, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT

    Travis d'Arnaud, Didi Gregorius AP

    Gregorius injured his wrist Saturday while trying to dive for a ground ball in the second inning.

  7. Felix Doubront granted his release by the Cubs

    Mar 28, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

    Doubront really struggled during Cactus League action, allowing nine runs on 17 hits (including two home runs) in seven innings across four appearances.

  8. Rangers acquire left-hander Sam Freeman from Cardinals

    Mar 28, 2015, 2:51 PM EDT

    Sam Freeman Getty Getty Images

    Freeman owns a 3.33 ERA with a 61/34 K/BB ratio over 70 1/3 innings in the majors.

  9. J.J. Hardy to undergo MRA on ailing shoulder

    Mar 28, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    The Orioles will already be without Matt Wieters on Opening Day as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery and now suddenly J.J. Hardy’s status is also in question.

  10. Angels release veteran reliever Matt Lindstrom

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:32 PM EDT

    Matt Lindstrom Getty Getty Images

    Lindstrom, who was in camp this spring on a minor league contract, posted an ugly 11.12 ERA and 5/4 K/BB ratio over 5 2/3 innings during Cactus League action.

  11. Twins prospect Lewis Thorpe to undergo Tommy John surgery

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Twins logo

    Thorpe, 19, owns a 2.80 ERA and 179/54 K/BB ratio over his first 157 2/3 innings in pro ball.

  12. Video: Yordano Ventura throws seven no-hit innings in Cactus League start

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Yordano Ventura AP AP

    Yordano Ventura was recently named as the Royals’ Opening Day starter and he had a heck of a tuneup in his latest Cactus League outing last night.

  13. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos watched Jonathan Papelbon pitch Friday

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT

    Jonathan Papelbon Jonathan Papelbon

    Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said last month that he would be interested in a trade to the Blue Jays and it appears that the possibility might still have some legs.

  14. Mike Pelfrey not happy about move to bullpen

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:11 AM EDT

    Mike Pelfrey AP AP

    Pelfrey owns an ugly 5.56 ERA in 34 starts dating back to 2013.

  15. Christian Vazquez says he’s nervous about his elbow

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    25b0e49ab484f722bc9e41439c67a5e8 Getty Images

    An MRI showed “something” in Christian Vazquez’s right elbow.

  16. Carlos Gonzalez exits game with soreness in surgically-repaired knee

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:57 AM EDT

    Colorado Rockies Photo Day Getty Images

    This isn’t what you want to hear with the start of the season just one week away.

  17. Marcus Stroman to complete his college degree while he rehabs

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Marcus Stroman Marcus Stroman

    Marcus Stroman will be a proud college graduate the next time he takes the mound for the Blue Jays.

  18. Daniel Murphy likely to begin the season on the disabled list

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Daniel Murphy Daniel Murphy

    The Mets are likely to open the regular season without Daniel Murphy at second base.

  19. Alex Rios will deal with a thumb issue throughout the season

    Mar 27, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Alex Rios Alex Rios

    Alex Rios says he’ll have to manage his thumb injury throughout the duration of the 2015 season.

  20. Party like it’s 2011: Watch Jeff Francoeur throw out Alex Rodriguez at home plate

    Mar 27, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Jeff Francoeur Getty Images

    Jeff Francoeur threw out Alex Rodriguez at the plate. It’s 2015, not 2011.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Fernandez (4030)
  2. H. Olivera (3949)
  3. K. Bryant (3650)
  4. H. Ryu (3650)
  5. S. Doolittle (3602)
  1. A. Cobb (3533)
  2. Y. Tomas (3465)
  3. J. Kipnis (3446)
  4. G. Richards (3419)
  5. C. Rodon (3414)