Sunday, May 22, 2005Plastchke On the Ping
And I love the softball world series, I also have a major crush on Cat Osterman so that's probably half the reason. And the Olympic softball team whips tons of ass.
However in my search for columns I ran across an interesting one by Bill Plastchke of the L.A. Times. It's about the dwindling number of minorities in college baseball. Most of the best latin players go straight to the league and most of the best black players....play something else apparently.
Nearly 60 years after Jackie Robinson painfully integrated major league baseball, his collegiate proteges often feel just as alone.
With the nationally televised NCAA tournament beginning in two weeks, the lack of diversity will again be impossible to hide under the oversized batting helmets and home-plate hugs.
From March Madness to June Sameness.
Of 11 Division I baseball programs in Southern California, there are only 10 African Americans.That's less than one per team, and six teams have none, including former national champion USC.
"People see these numbers and are surprised," said Richard Lapchick, president of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport. "But this decline has been happening over years."
I was actually on a panel in 2003 about this decline (It was at about 7% in 2003 and a little under 5% now). I actually predicted there will be less than 100 total in the nation by 2010 because most of the predominately black colleges in the south have started recruiting latino players to field competitive teams.
The easy answer to give is money. But that's not the correct answer. Sports and ethnicity go in trends. The increasing latin population in baseball is because many of the Latin American sports heroes are baseball players. There has been a study increase of blacks playing gold due to the emergence of Tiger Woods, and I can say that golf is more expensive of a game to practice than baseball. There's been a study increase in white kids doing the "extreme sports" thanks to guys like Tony Hawk and Dave Mirra.
Children who participate in sports generally follow the trend of the guys they enjoy watching. So its a downward trend right now. It'll probably move up later in next decade once a black player makes serious waves in Major League baseball.
But this is an excellent column.
Andrews Is in the Minority on College Baseball Fields [LA Times]