Blog Entry

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:59 pm

By Matt Snyder

There's a lengthy article in the Star-Telegram about the extremely low number of African-American players in baseball, and how it trickles down to fans. Curtis Granderson points out that he can rarely count 10 in the crowd, excluding stadium personnel. Is this a problem? Upon first glance, my thoughts were no. It's not an issue of racism, because it's pretty clear major-league teams will sign anyone that can help them win. My gut feeling is that more young African-American kids are drawn to basketball and football. Just look at the demographics and diversity in those leagues. As long as there's no discrimination, why does it matter what color the players and fans are?

But Corey Patterson of the Blue Jays makes a salient point (Star-Telegram).
"I really do like all of my teammates and I'm friends with them," Patterson said. "But it does bother me. It does. I'm not saying the whole stadium needs to be brown or black, it's not that. I could talk about this until I'm blue in the face, and you might sympathize, but it doesn't affect you, so you don't think about it too long.

"My mental processes might be different because of the environment I'm in.

"It's hard for me to explain. Someone might say it's fine and we're all cool, but it's easier said if you're the majority."
And he's right. Since I'm white, I don't know what the Pattersons and Grandersons of the MLB are going through. I always thought that just being accepting and supportive of everyone -- regardless of color -- was enough, but maybe the MLB does need to spend more money on campaigns to get all children in the country excited about baseball. After all, studies have shown most baseball fans are adults, while kids are more drawn to basketball, football and soccer. This could become less an issue of diversity down the road and more an issue of losing fans ... of all colors.

Getting defensive: The Rays are hanging around in the race this season despite having a less-than-exciting offense and having lost a lights-out back-end of the bullpen duo. They are, as usual, doing it with stellar defense. Steve Slowinski on opines that this could be the best defensive team the Rays have had in the past decade. That's saying something, because they've been among the best defensive teams in baseball for the past four to five years.

Historic futility: The Mariners are on pace in July to have the fourth-lowest runs scored in a month -- in which the team plays at least 20 games -- in the history of baseball. No wonder they fell completely out of the race in a matter of two weeks. (The Seattle Times)

Runaway groom bride: A man wearing a wedding dress ran onto the playing surface during play at Turner Field Saturday night. The idiot was promptly tackled by security and arrested, but hey, I'm sure it was definitely worth it. (Big League Stew)

Pujols 'taunts' fans: After Albert Pujols' big three-run homer Saturday night in Cincinnati, Pujols told the Reds fans to quiet down, via body language (check out the screen-grab by clicking here). I can see some being up in arms about this -- because, let's face it, there is always at least one person who gets mad about anything these days -- but I have no issue. I actually kind of like it. Then again, I did grow up a Pacers fan and saw this from Reggie Miller on a regular basis. (via Hardball Talk)

Caught napping, literally: Saturday in Wrigley Field, the TV cameras caught Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica sleeping in the bullpen. Cubs broadcaster and former All-Star catcher Bob Brenly was aghast, calling it "embarrassing," though Mujica said it was less than five minutes that he had his eyes closed. Check out the video on

Already in trouble? As I noted in 3 Up, 3 Down Saturday night, Barry Zito had three really good starts before Saturday's debacle, but that seems to have been all he needed to shake the confidence of management. The possibility of skipping Zito's next turn is being discussed. Now, obviously it wouldn't be punishment of any sort, it's just that Zito is the No. 5 starter and the logistics of the schedule work out that a turn can be skipped. But had he thrown another gem Saturday, I doubt this would be a thought. (

Let 'er rip, big fella: Adam Dunn has a pretty good shot at breaking the record for strikeouts in a season, and his manager isn't going to stand in the way. Ozzie Guillen told reporters that he'll bench Dunn if he's not helping the ballclub, but he won't specifically bench him to avoid the strikeout mark. (Chicago Tribune)

Cursed left hand: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was reportedly close to a promotion to the bigs before he was hit in the hand with a pitch May 31. The broken hand shelved him for weeks and he's now on rehab assignment. Saturday night, he was hit with a pitch on the same hand again -- only this time he walked away uninjured, due to a protective batting glove. At least he found out it works. (National Post)

Here today, gone tomorrow: Padres catcher Luis Martinez made his major-league debut Friday night and was then sent back to the minors less than 24 hours later. He still said it was a "dream come true" and is hoping to make it back. (

Happy Anniversary: Sunday marked exactly 70 years since Joe DiMaggio's famed 56-game hitting streak ended. Will anyone ever reach that mark again? I seriously doubt it. (Big League Stew)

80-dollar dog: Yes, there's a hot dog for sale with the hefty price tag of $80 -- the Broxton Rox, of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball. Here's the description of the monstrosity: "The foot-long wiener will get the royal treatment. After deep frying, it will be rolled in truffle oil, then coated in porcini dust. The dog is to be topped with white truffle shavings and crème fraiche. If that doesn't gild the lily enough, the frank will be finished with caviar and fresh roe." (

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:18 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 2:13 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 2:19 am

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

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Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:07 pm

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

C'mon people, what a joke. Why don't we just let only the blacks play and go to games, but yoy will still hear blacks complaining about something

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:06 pm

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

Most likely it is economics and competition from basketball and football for the attraction of any young athlete to its playing areas.  But aren't the demographics to be a factor here?  What percentage of the population is black, Hispanic or white or whatever.  Are those percentages being reflected at the sports playing sites?  Although the percentage of players from ethnic backgrounds is most likely distorted and not consistent with the general population, should not the audience represent a demographic consistent with the general population?  Subject to economic considerations perhaps, live attendance may be distorted as well, but what is the ethnic background of the teams' television following?  Why should the percentages be distorted in an audience at a sporting event?  MLB and athletes are expending monies on inner city projects promoting baseball, but perhaps it is too soon to see results on attendance percentages. 


Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:45 am

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

NCSportsFan: there are, in essence, baseball academies for African-Americans.  We call them "Urban Baseball Academies" and such in order to be politically correct, but who are they aimed at but minorities living in the middle of big cities?  As noted here, many ballplayers--including Granderson and Jeter--either sponsor them or show up to promote them.  They provide a lot of equipment for free --and, as noted, you don't really NEED all that equipment to learn to play/love baseball -- and try to get a "culture of baseball" started.

The question we're all avoiding though: do you need to play baseball to become a baseball fan?  my Grandfather NEVER played, yet he listened on the radio constantly, kept score, and brought me to ball games.  Never asked him why (and cannot do so now, God rest his soul), but he loved baseball.  He went to Seals games whenever he could, and was a Giants fan from the day they showed up.  He loved watching guys "from the 'hood" (1940s-50s style) like Vince, Dom, and Joe DiMaggio ... the poor Irish and Italian kids who grew up, in the inner city, playing baseball.

Maybe it was because, back then, baseball provided a better way out of "the ghetto" (and if you don't think it was a ghetto, a) look the word up, and b) check out the neighborhoods of SF: it's not just Chinatown, it's Little Italy, Japantown, etc.)  What's weird is: baseball should still provide a better way out.  You don't have to be 6'5" or a monster LB.  Anyone can play baseball, and if you're good, even a minor league signing bonus can be the "way out" ... heck, I coached a kid in Oakland once ... great athlete: basketball, football (QB), baseball.  He got offers in all three, but the Braves gave him $100,000 to sign a minor league contract, and included a provision that they'd pay for college if he didn't make it--which he didn't.  But he got $100k and a college education.  Why don't people talk about that kind of thing, as someone else noted?

If it wants more minority fans--and there's no saying it should want fans based on skin color; it should just want fans, period--they have to show the appeal to those fans, period.  Otherwise, so long as attendance continues to increase ... what's the problem? 

Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:17 pm

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

IT IS NOT A COLOR ISSUE!!!!!    I haven't been to a major league game in a very long time and won't be.  It's just too expensive.  It has nothing to do with color or anything else.  It is all about owner and player greed that has ruined professional sports.  I think professional sports will eventually pay the price for all their greed and misuse of their fans.  I hope so anyway.  I for one, stand with anyone of any color who doesn't support professional sports because they just can't afford it. 

The way we treat people people of other colors is an issue by itself and you so talk about that, not about going to professional sporting games.

Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 7:03 pm

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

You have 4 of the best pitchers in the game. You don't need .300 hitters when your pitchers regularly go 7 innings or more.

Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 6:59 pm

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

Baseball is by far the cheapest sport to attend. 
I'll talk about the Twins because that's what I know. You can get an upper deck seat at Target field for $20 dollars. Possibly less. You can also park for $5 dollars in the city, you just have to walk a littler further. Also you do not need to eat at the game, in fact it's much more practical to eat before the game. But if you must eat at the game I know that Target field has dollar dog nights (I'm going to assume most other stadiums have similar deals). If you MUST get a drink because you can't wait 3 1/2 hours it's $4 or 4.50 for a large coke. GRAND total, $29.50 per person. Although you could subtract $5 dollars for each additional person because you only have to pay for parking once. That being said, you could bring a family of four (they also have special family seating that includes a drink and a dog) for under $100. Even on minimum wage you could afford to bring your family to a baseball game once a year. Baseball caters much more to the working man than any other sport.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 6:30 pm

Pepper: Baseball's color issue

All that aside, I do agree that major league sports are all quite expensive, and though a choice (I am not forbidden) I choose to NOT attend any major league sports.  The last MLB game I attended was about 5 years ago and it was ONLY because my employer provided my ticket at no cost to me.  

I don't see enough value in attending games for the prices listed...the ticket, the parking (or mass transit), the drink, the hot dog or hamburger, the popcorn, the program, etc.

Unfortunately, for those complaining of prices, they will continue to trend upward until the general consensus is the same as mine...and judging by the numbers alone, we are many years or decades from that moment.  When it does happen (and a debt crisis would bring it quicker), players salaries will plummet, ticket prices and parking will plummet (hey, you need bodies in the stands to make money and cars in the lot that you pay taxes and loan).   

It is all supply and demand...the demand remains, even many complaining continue to attend but then complain its expensive, we're broke, kids can't eat, can't afford clothes, blah, blah, blah.  Hey, you are prioritizing correctly if you continue to attend non-free sporting events.  I challenge any that still attends, but complains...stop attending.  Show how you feel with money, not words...and that is how capitalism is self-correcting...takes time, but it works.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or