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Here’s why fewer black kids are playing baseball

Apr 19, 2013, 8:55 AM EDT

Little League

Tim Keown of ESPN.com tells that committee that MLB has set up to investigate the decline of U.S.-born blacks in baseball what’s really going on. It’s not about baseball not being cool or flashy or whatever. It’s about the money. It’s always about the money:

The committee members need to see the industry of youth baseball for what it has become: A business enterprise designed to exclude those without the means and mobility to participate. Over the past 15 to 20 years, the proliferation of pay-for-play teams in youth baseball — and the parallel proliferation of parents willing to pay for them and coaches willing to cash their checks — has had more of an impact on African-American participation than anything another sport has to offer.

As the father of a son living in an affluent and mostly white suburb I’ve seen this first hand. It happens in baseball. Soccer too. The local league set up by the parks and rec department is for those who aren’t serious. Anyone with some amount of talent — identified as young as age six, I’ve observed — is steered toward more intense leagues, which tend to be pay-to-play and which involve a lot of travel.

When you look at the schedules involved — games 20 miles away at 4pm, games 30 miles away under lights at 7pm — I have no idea how any kid can meet the obligations of these leagues without having at least one full-time stay-at-home parent who will pick the kid up at school and schlep them out to wherever. Run those obligations against whatever socio-economic demographic numbers you can find and you’ll see why these sports select for well-off white kids.

(thanks to Ethan for the heads up)

  1. texasdawg - Apr 19, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Way, way down the list of damage done by white flight, obviously, but just one more example. Just too expensive for many to chase the money and resources that were packed up and trucked from the city out to the burbs.

  2. Shafer's Dealer - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    “Homey don’t play dat!”

  3. jm91rs - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    I see plenty of the pay for play stuff going on, but if your kid is good enough rec baseball is fine. He’ll be good enough to make the high school team and that’s enough to get a scholarship if he plays well.

    Maybe part of the problem is that the pay for play coaches are convincing parents that it’s not even worth the time to try playing baseball if you can’t afford their special tutoring. My wife was hounded by these guys for 2 or 3 seasons, trying to pluck my step son off his rec team, telling him to convince his mom (single, young, not rich) that if he wanted to be the best, he needed to be on the travel team. She couldn’t afford it, but I don’t think it’s affected his baseball abilities much. Plus it allowed him to play other sports as well as keep up with school stuff. Now in high school he’s just as good or better than the kids that did the travel stuff 5 years ago. It’s just a matter of the slime ball AAU coach mentality creeping into baseball versus the parents being able to ignore it and realize that high school ball is where you’ll earn your scholarship or big league ticket.

    • pmcenroe - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      I have to disagree slightly. It is true that pay to play coaches do prey on some kids by adding them to the team simply for the money(a lot of times its to add another kid to the team for free) all while knowing they really wont benefit. It is however very difficult to either get drafted or obtain a scholarship to a good JUCO or D1 program without playing on a travel team. The reason being travel teams do condense talent more so than HS baseball(and supplement more games). College coaches and scout realize this and attend travel team tournaments far more often than your basic HS games which they now primarily just use to get a second look at a specific kid in action. I’m not saying it isn’t possible for a kid to make it to a higher level without playing travel ball, I’m just saying its increasingly less likely, which I do agree is sort of a bummer.

    • GoneYickitty - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      My kids (16 & 14) have spent a lot of time over the years with former pro players (and some former major league coaches) who are either coaching for free or who get a little stipend to cover gas money. They play with and against the best talent in the state of AZ and because of the amazing facilities here, top teams from all over the country come here to play. You need to be realistic about who is going to get the opportunities to play past high school: these are the guys who form the pool of talent that will be seen in college and in the pros in the future. It’s not some conspiracy to keep anyone down, but it costs money to do this stuff, even when the coaches are completely unpaid. Sadly, you’re not going to find many guys advance to the majors who do not have this type of background because the kids who don’t get to do this are simply too far behind ever to get caught up. You realize guys like Mickey Mantle were playing club ball back in the good old days? There is a reason … if you want to develop your skills to the highest degree you need to be playing against guys that are really going to challenge you.

      Where I agree with you is that most “club” coaches are terrible. We refer to most of these programs as daddy ball because they’re based around a guy wanting to put a club together so his kid can play shortstop and be a big star. This type of “training” is almost completely worthless and is more likely to burn kids out than help develop them in any way. If choosing between this kind of club and a rec team I would definitely choose the rec team. And in many parts of the country, there are enough really talented and dedicated athletes that do the rec leagues that everyone can be challenged. Sadly, that’s not true everywhere however, especially for the kids who are older than 12.

      And by the way, in Phoenix, college coaches don’t scout high school games .. they scout showcase tournaments where they can see hundreds of kids at the same time. We have some tournaments here in the fall where college coaches from all over the country come every year. So if you’re looking for part of one of the 11.7 scholarships offered at NCAA D1 schools, you’re much better off doing events run by USA Baseball, Perfect Game, Prospect Wire, Classic Baseball, etc, than you are relying on having some scout come watch your high school game. Although we have some of the best high school teams in the country, high school play is really not the primary vehicle for recognition.

      I think it stinks that it costs so much to play and many kids are simply priced out of it. Cities are building fewer fields and in many places they’re charging the Little League and other rec leagues fees that they didn’t use to charge. It’s a great game and can be a great experience for kids regardless of what they decide in the future and I think society as a whole is losing something irreplaceable when we don’t support average kids in playing. But the fundamental problem isn’t some meanie trying to make money.

  4. jarathen - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I was thinking this when we were talking about income inequality recently, Craig, because I think it somewhat undermines the concept of the American dream of baseball. These players today, the veterans, probably played on a roughly level playing field, coming after Jackie but before 10 year-olds are pegged as the next Bryce Harper, but I’m glad I have no dreams of my son becoming a baseball player, because I will never have the money to plug him into the system. Guys like Mike Trout, living in a cold weather state and playing when said weather allows, are the exception. The rule is kids brought up to be baseball players from as young as they can swing a bat.

  5. billyboots - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Where I live, you often hear stories like this about hockey and soccer, but not so much with baseball. The local youth leagues are full of really good talent and the competition to make the three Legion teams is intense (we have four high schools, you do the math).

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    I guess the travel for all those AAU basketball leagues is free? Obviously money has something to do with it but if youhave talent there’s usually someone willing to help you out. Not to mention when i played legion ball we had fund raisers to help cover costs.

  7. eddiek76 - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    This article is the biggest piece of junk ever written. If your theory is correct than why oh why is travel basketball the exact opposite? Cost is just as much and they play just as much but year round. Growing up watching baseball in the 80’s I can’t remember many African-American players back then either and now that MLB teams have truly invested in complexes in foreign countries to cultivate the raw talent there that is the reason.

    Seriously, this is the biggest piece of garbage ever written.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      I think it likely that this is part of the reason, and that there are actually multiple factors at play. I do think income inequality plays some degree — but it’s not like all black families are poor. So, there must be other explanations as well.

      In general, I will say that I think it’s harder overall to be poor today than it was when I was a kid.

      • phillysoulfan - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        I couldn’t disagree with you more. John Kruk always said, and this HAS to be true considering where he came from, “If you are good. They’ll [the scouts] will find you.”

        For the parents who actually pay this fee for their kids to play; PT Barnum famously said “There’s a sucker born every minute” Congrats you are the sucker.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Yes, I think citing the white dude’s experience is absolutely the right argument here. Also, one guy making it most certainly means every poor person can. /s

        I don’t even think — considering the last thing you said — that you even understood where I was coming from. FYI, I don’t have kids, so I’m not paying anyone anything for baseball, and I’m not sure where you even got that.

    • brazcubas - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      Look at the average initial contract for first round draft picks in MLB and the NBA and you’ll see the reason.

      Finding a talented basketball player at an early age is simply more lucrative, so you have more people willing to underwrite these costs for young players in hope of getting a larger return on the future.

    • skids003 - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      I was thinking the same thing, eddie. I don’t believe either is being done maliciously, as implied, but AAU basketball is big down here, and it’s not cheap either.

    • badintent - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:41 AM

      You’re 100% right. Maybe if the story was written about why white kids would rather skateboard, snowboard, longboard,BMX bike, mountain bike, road bike , do video games, Twitter and Facebook instead of play baseball we might have a real story……………..

      Then next week we could do a story why South Korean men can’t play baseball for 2 years while they have to serve in the army……and still play MLB..

  8. chc4 - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    It’s the evil white man… again.

    When will the NBA conduct a serious, in-depth study on why so few whites are making it up the NBA ladder?

    • skeleteeth - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      Why do people get so goddamned defensive about this shit?

      • mckcal - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        people – especially us white people – have a hard timing seeing/acknowledging all the power we hold in society for no other reason than the color of our skin/generational wealth/etc. We all want to think we’re solely responsible for any success we’ve had. If forced to admit that other peoples’ struggles are because of structural inequality then we’re also forced to admit that our success is linked to structural inequality.

      • chc4 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        Defensive? How is the NBA question not equally relevant to the MLB one?

        Commissioning a study on this is a huge waste of time, resources and is simply window dressing. What they should do is go ask Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, CC Sabathia and others why their friends growing up gravitated to other sports.

        My question about this is… who really cares? We as a society claim we want a person’s skin color not to matter and then turn around and identify it as a problem when a certain skin color isn’t more involved in something.

      • chc4 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        mckcal — Oh brother. Spare us all the violin crap. Yeah, whites are in power b/c they are white.

        Romney is president right?

        Moron.

  9. vanrossum1 - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    I have to give Craig his due, good post, good content and observation.
    Normally he writes trolling pieces.

  10. indaburg - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Dang it to heck. My 15 month old boy has the requisite short wide face for future home run power, but I lack the riches. Any one want to sponsor the next Bryce Harper? It’s a good investment. He’s half Dominican.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      I’m not saying we don’t believe you, but can we get some actual math on that. How wide and short is his face? And, don’t be using that metrics bullshit either.

      • indaburg - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        His fWHR is off the charts. Oh, wait, that’s the metrics fertilizer. My boy has a face as short and squat as an inbred Persian cat. A chipmunk’s cheeks has nothing on my son. It’s not baby fat either. The Irish side of my husband’s family is known for their huge effin’ cheeks. My Dominican genes combined with my husband’s short squat big cheek face genes–I have a future major leaguer over here. He has my thighs and butt, so I’m smelling catcher, or fumes. I’m also training him to use both hands, so he’ll switch hit… someday. So…. who’s in?

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Half-Irish, huh? He’s not gritty, is he?

      • indaburg - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        Irish-Italian-Dominican. If he were any grittier, he’d be sandpaper. That’s what I gave birth to. An inbred persian sandpaper cat being fed a daily diet of plantains and grit. Invest in his future MLB career and/or therapy sessions.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        What, no aspirations to be the first American pope?

      • indaburg - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        For the Church of Baseball, sure.

      • badintent - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:49 AM

        @indaburg

        So what you’re saying is J -Lo got nothing on you in the backdoor department ? Nice.Latin look rocks !
        I nominate you for the HBT Playmate of the Year.

  11. mybrunoblog - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    It’s a lot more than money keeping black kids away from baseball. Gee, I guess all those rich kids in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico are really lucky to have wealthy parents.
    Blaming wealth disparity is a convenient argument but way off base.

    • mckcal - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      please read or watch anything about how disgusting and corrupt the Caribbean scouting and development system is. Those families are exploited precisely because of their extreme poverty. It’s a lot cheaper to develop young talent in those countries and much easier to operate without integrity.

      Here’s a decent place to start:

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1885335/

    • dluxxx - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Have you watched Ballplayer: Pelotero yet? Tons of money is funneled into the Dominican Republic. These guys are making an investment in their players by training them in camps for years, and then, when their players cash in they get a 35% cut of their signing bonus. Don’t tell me there isn’t any money there. The guy who trained Miguel Sano pulled in over $1 MM for a couple years of work. Not too shabby.

      They buy and sell these kids like commodities down there. I think you’re the one off base here. Besides, comparing South American baseball academies to the baseball system here is an apples to oranges comparison.

  12. hisgirlgotburrelled - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    As young as age 6?? Really? I was at my nephew’s first tee-ball game a couple days ago, which was 5 and 6 year olds. One kid hit the ball and then, instead of running to first base, ran after the ball. The kid on first base stopped half way to second to talk to his friend. The kid on second was busy drawing circles in the dirt with the shortstop.

    • eddiek76 - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      There are several kids at the age of 6 who are talented enough and understand the game and are extremely focused. My 5 year old has 2 of them on his team. Himself and another kid. You multiply that number by the number of teams at that age level which is 20 teams that’s 40 kids roughly who are focused and competitive at that age. So yes it happens.

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        I’m sure there are. Not every kid on the field was messing around.

        If you think you need to pay money to have your 6 year old travel to play better competition then by all means. I’m sure it will help him develop into a better player by facing better pitching.

  13. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I’m willing to bet a better reason than money is peer pressure. Baseball probably isn’t considered cool enough where a lot of these kids come from so they don’t play it because they don’t want to get made fun of and don’t have anyone else to play with.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      That would entirely depend on where you live. You can’t make a blanket statement like that.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        Of course it depends where you live. If you live in a wealthy neighborhood it means you are wealthy and the money thing is now out the window. Or if you live in a less densley populated area you can shoot hoops by yourself while you can’t really play baseball without other people. But the fact remains I’m betting money isn’t th biggest obstacle because these same kids are playing football which costs more than baseball. basketball while cheaper to play the travel component cost would remain about the same as baseball and doesnt seem to be a problem.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        I agree with you on that. I’m just saying peer pressure can’t be all of it either. Not every community is going to be anti-baseball.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:02 AM

        Of course there’s no 1 singular reason. If it was that easy they would know how to fix the problem. I didnt say it was only peer pressure. I just think peer pressure is a bigger reason because if you have talent someone will find a way to get you on the field. Now for the kids with less talent money probably becomes a larger obstacle if not the main obstacle. The class system we’re dealing with here is the talented vs the less talented.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Have a nice day.

  14. topauthority - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    the way i see it, one of the main reasons that young black kids don’t play baseball is because in the black community the younger kids see the older kids receiving press and getting scholarships for their prowess in basketball and football. the fact that FULL baseball scholarships are an EXTREME rarity plays into this scenario. as a 1996 graduate of a predominantly black high school, i saw quite a few well-known college football and basketball coaches, their assistants and in some cases former players turned assistants walking the halls with our school’s top hardwood and gridiron talents. this was at a time when our baseball program was among the best in the region, yet top coaches from the major universities weren’t present in the stands at baseball games, major league scouts were. some of which were responsible for two guys being drafted, but no one signed a baseball scholarship.

    • Robert Dobalina - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      So are you saying that one of the reasons is that colleges aren’t offering partial scholarships to black high school baseball players, but they are harvesting the talented football and basketball players? And that the really talented black players in high school are more than likely MLB draft material and not as likely to get a scholarship offer?

      I’m not arguing against your point. Just making sure I understand what you are saying. If that’s the case, then that’s an issue with the NCAA baseball program as much as it is with MLB or anything else.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        And there’s a turf thing between the NCAA and MiLB.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        Explain this “turf” thing. I want to understand what you mean by that.

      • Jason Lukehart - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        I believe the “turf” thing is in reference to the NBA and NFL wanting the NCAA to serve as their training ground, whereas MLB has a minor league system in place and prefers that the best 18-year-olds are playing there, not in the NCAA.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        Yes, the NCAA and MiLB compete with one another, so MLB and the NCAA are often in antagonistic positions. Good players can go into the minor league system and get paid (although not much) to hone their skills instead of delaying their playing days by going to college first (and not getting “paid” at all). It’s much more common to do that in baseball (as, yes, the NBA and NFL rely on colleges to do screening and training for them). The NCAA has little incentive, then, to get too much into baseball, and MLB is going to promote MiLB instead of the NCAA.

  15. mikeythelectrician - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    right and every housing complex has a basketball court must be why all them black kids.play basketball, no middle class neighborhoods by me in ny have basketball courts.but they do have baseball fields

  16. jm91rs - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    What are the percentages of poor whites vs. poor blacks? Just curious, as I know plenty of poor people of both races. I’d guess the numbers are closer than the gap in baseball. I’m not too worried about the disparity. If anything I think we need to figure out how to get more black kids playing soccer so we can dominate the world in every sport!

  17. Jonny 5 - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Our township requires you play rec ball if you are to join the township travel league. On the other hand there are many other travel leagues to choose from, if you want to pay of course. Another aspect is city rec leagues probably have less money, resources, fields, etc…. Than most township rec leagues. The citizens balk at raising taxes for education, what do you think they would say about upkeep of baseball diamonds? In the burbs, most of the time, this type of spending is welcomed at enough of a scale where the money is spent. But watching Philadelphia news you see a never ending battle to cut school and recreational budgets. There isn’t enough revenue plain and simple in cities. There is still plenty of opportunity in the burbs though. There are still low income options for housing in most suburbs around where I live which has homes from 100k to a few 10 million dollar homes, to cheap low income town homes and apartments, and seemingly better opportunities for employment in some cases. I think this disparity is going to change as time goes on. For the better.

  18. raysfan1 - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Okay, fine, I will acknowledge that traveling competitive youth leagues are too expensive for some/many and too time-intensive for for others (particularly two income families). Even local rec leagues and church leagues are not free (although they often have need-based grants for low income families, at least the ones in my area do).

    However, there is an even bigger problem. In each of the last three states I’ve lived in, over the last 10 years, the schools my kids have gone to have all had either no PE or one day a week. We have an obesity epidemic in this country but will not pay to teach our kids physical fitness. I put my kids in various sports rec leagues year round, sometimes two sports at a time when they overlap, to combat this in my family. However, I do have money and a spouse who can invest the time and loves doing so. (My teenage daughter now plays high school sports instead of rec league.)

    Put PE back in schools, and it will help combat both the obesity epidemic and minority/low income sports participation.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Fitness is becoming a class issue, sadly.

  19. dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Meh. I played for the local Little League in Baltimore for something like $50 a year from the ages of 4 to 14. My parents were by no means affluent, but all I needed were cleats and a glove (and if a kid didn’t have cleats or a glove, the coaches found a way to make it work). I played for the 13-14 travel team and I think that was an extra $60.

    Of course, there were other leagues out there with fancy uniforms and the latest in aluminum bat technology and enough money to rent fields for practice. They poached the best players from public leagues as long as their parents could pay; I was invited to tryouts one year but there was no way my parents could have afforded for me to make the team, so they didn’t let me go.

    But the bottom line is that none of that prevented me from being a decent player and playing high school and college ball. Sure, I could have been a better player going into high school but short of hiring a private coach who would have made me sandwiches and told me to lift heavy things, nothing else would have changed that.

    • dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      And, ultimately, the limiting factor was my arm. I had high school coaches who didn’t care if my shoulder hurt – I was required to throw every day. I finally broke down in college and couldn’t afford surgery… but that still doesn’t have anything to do with ability or opportunity. Just an unfortunate circumstance.

    • kingmiedus - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Yeah, baseball was definitely the cheapest to play. I live in Ontario and it was the cost that kept me out of hockey. In baseball I didn’t even bother buying cleats. Cost of registering went up every year (was over $100 for rec league by the time I finished when I was 12 or so). Then soccer game along and the league kept losing teams (there were 2 teams in my last year and we actually had to travel to other rec leagues in order to play). By where my parents live now, they actually removed the two ball diamonds and its all soccer fields.

      Man do I hate soccer.

      • dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Funny you mention hockey – I wanted to play hockey in high school, but I needed about $400 in gear just to try out. I wrestled instead – shoes and headgear were like $75 total.

  20. Marty - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    It appear Keown is saying there’s an elitist filter – that is BS.

    My local Little League is $100 for the season and there are “scholarships” for those who qualify. This is for a cap, jersey and 25 games. All that is expected is that parents volunteer a portion of their time to help keep the league running. The city charges about $150 for 6 games coached by teenagers, for reference.

    I put the line about volunteering in bold, because I believe that is the culprit. There is no elitist filter. If you can’t come up with $100, there are other options. Little league requires parent involvement, which some communities lack.

    And I’ll say that affirmatively most on my son’s team are blue collar class. I am actually more concerned that as my community becomes more affluent/two income, more families will chose the city option because it involves nothing more that a check, and the season is quick and “painless” with not parent involvement.

    To summarize, I believe black parents and affluent white (etc) parents face the same obstacle when viewing baseball as an activity for their children.

  21. phillysoulfan - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    There really is a more basic reason for this. What do you need to play baseball vs basketball?

    For baseball:
    At least 10 kids (you can play half a field)
    At least 1 bat
    At least 1 ball
    1 glove for every kid playing

    For basketball;
    1round ball
    2 kids
    1 hoop

    • aroomadazda - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Good points. I have also heard it mentioned that about the open space required to play baseball. Basketball can be played in a driveway. But then, what about football…it requires a lot of space and gear and people too. There seems to be no easy answer.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      We have a winner! Same reason soccer is so popular in third world countries. All you need is a ball, two kids, and somewhere to mark as a “goal”.

    • dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Where there’s a will, there’s a way: I used to play 1-on-1 baseball with a buddy down the street in his front yard. We’d pitch a tennis ball against the front steps and how far the ball was hit determined the outcome. That’s no different than 2 kids, a ball, and a hoop.

      • dowhatifeellike - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        I’d also pitch against anything I couldn’t break… tennis ball against the front steps of the house… real ball against our 6′ wire fence (which I ended up bending so badly it had to be replaced)… plywood with a strike zone drawn on it… old tire… school building… anything and everything. Just because you don’t have 17 other kids on hand doesn’t mean you can’t get better at playing the game.

  22. scyankee64 - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    I coached both of my sons in rec ball and travel ball(through last year). From my observations, the black kids play travel basketball in droves around here. They also play rec football and rec basketball in large numbers.

    As a coach in rec and travel baseball I found there was not a lot of interest by black kids. I did see an increase in 14 year olds during the four years I coached the 13 and 14 year old league. Maybe they washed out of basketball and football and decided to try baseball, but they were way behind everyone else because they hadn’t played before.

    Our rec league is run exclusively by parent volunteers. The county provides the fields and pays for the lights, but that’s it. We even have to drag the fields ourselves. The league helps out kids who can’t afford the $75 fee. We have fundraisers like most leagues.

    Having said all of that, I think it’s simply a cultural thing where black kids and there parents prefer basketball and football over baseball…or even that black parents tend to steer their kids in that direction.

    • scyankee64 - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      oops. their not there

  23. mannyicey - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    This whole argument is stupid. Why? Because my son plays on an AAU travel basketball team. We paid $500 for the privilege. We pay $21 per day to watch him play. We paid $400 per year for Camps. He will be traveling frequently out of town- which costs more money. And we are a normal-cost team… there are teams where you will pay much more. And he plays basketball year round.

    Oh, and guess what? The team is full of black kids!

    So perhaps we need a study to find out why white families can’t afford to have their kids to play travel basketball. Maybe they need more families with a stay-at-home mom. Maybe we need to look into the economic juggernaut that are these travel basketball teams. Why can they not get these poor white kids to come and play?

    (By the way… the real reason why black kids doesn’t play baseball is simply because THEY DON’T WANT TO!!!) (Sheesh!)

    • eddiek76 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Thank you thank you thank you! I said the same exact thing. This article is the biggest piece of trash I’ve ever read.

  24. Jason Lukehart - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    “My situation works like THIS, so obviously every other situation in the country must be identical to mine, so since mine doesn’t fit the explanation laid out in the article, the article must be wrong.”

    – Signed, Half the People Commenting Here

  25. ctony1216 - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Gee, a white sportswriter figured out the problem! The Committee’s work is over!

    You know what they say: For every complex problem there is a simple solution … and it’s usually wrong.

    If the Committee still feels there are some unanswered questions, perhaps they should look to a more diverse group of committee members.

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