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George Hale Talks Baseball Numbers 

THE RED SOX COME HOME TONIGHT FOR A BRIEF HOMESTAND BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD AGAIN.
ONE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THE HEADLINES OF THE LAST HOMESTAND ARE NOT REPEATED.
THERE’S NO SENSE GOING OVER EVERYTHING BUT THERE IS A LOT OF SENSE IN MAKING SURE IT’S
NEVER REPEATED AGAIN.
THE BASEBALL THINGS WILL TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.
PLAYERS WILL PLAY AND UMPIRES AND RULES MAKERS WILL WORK ON THE MECHANICS OF THE
GAME.
I’M REFERRING TO THE SITUATION WITH ORIOLES CENTER FIELDER ADAM JONES WHO WAS TAUNTED
BY A FAN WITH RACIAL SLURS . THERE WAS ANOTHER INCIDENT WHEN A FAN WAS EJECTED
FOR A SIMILAR OUT-LOUD REMARK ABOUT AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN SINGING THE NATIONAL
ANTHEM.
THE RED SOX AND THE CITY OF BOSTON REACTED POSITIVELY TO BOTH INCIDENTS TO
THEIR CREDIT.
IN ONE CASE A LIFE -TIME BAN WAS ISSUED WHICH IS COMMENDABLE.
THE WAY TO TRY TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS IS SWIFT AND SEVERE INSTITUTIONAL ACTION
HOWEVER, IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL A PROBLEM THAT MOST FANS DON’T THINK
ABOUT BUT THE OWNERS CERTAINLY DO.
AFRICAN-AMERICANS DOMINATE IN SOME PROFESSIONAL SPORTS BUT NOT IN OTHERS.
THE NUMBERS FOR BASEBALL ARE STARTLING
IN THE NFL 68 PERCENT OF PLAYERS ARE BLACK
IN THE NBA IT RISES TO 74 PERCENT
NOW LET’S LOOK AT BASEBALL.
THERE WERE ONLY 69 AFRICAN AMERICANS ON OPENING DAY ROSTERS IN MAJOR LEAGUE
BASEBALL AT THE START OF THIS SEASON.
THAT NUMBER TRANSLATES TO JUST 8 PERCENT OF THE PLAYERS ON ROSTERS.
MANY PEOPLE FIND THAT REALLY ODD BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE STORY OF JACKIE
ROBINSON WHO BROKE THE COLOR BARRIER WITH THE DODGERS IN 1947.
EVERY YEAR ON A SPECIAL DAY ALL PLAYERS WEAR NUMBER 42 IN HONOR OF
ROBINSON.
THERE ARE VIDEO PRESENTATIONS AND ON FIELD CEREMONIES AT ALL PARKS.
BUT THERE IS THE REAL TRUTH.
THERE ARE VERY FEW PLAYERS IN THE GAME WHO LOOK LIKE JACKIE ROBINSON.
SINCE 1986, THE PERCENTAGE OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES HAS DECLINED
BY MORE THAN HALF TO IT’S PRESENT STATE.
IT’S A PROBLEM FOR THE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER BECAUSE MORE KIDS, BOTH BLACK AND
WHITE ARE LEAVING THE GAME FOR OTHER SPORTS.
AMERICAN KIDS DON’T THINK THAT BASEBALL IS COOL BECAUSE IT’S A SLOWER GAME THAN
OTHER ACTIVITIES OF WHICH THERE ARE MANY.
IN THE CASE OF BLACK YOUNGTERS THERE ARE A VERY LIMITED NUMBER OF BASEBALL STARS
THAT THEY CAN RELATE TO.
THE GREAT AMERICAN PASTIME , AT THE MAJOR LEAGUE LEVEL AT LEAST, HAS RAPIDLY BECOME
DEPENDENT ON LATIN AND ASIAN PLAYERS FOR ITS SURVIVAL.
THERE ARE A LOT OF REASONS THAT MINORITY KIDS HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET A FOOTHOLD IN
THE GAME AND MONEY IS KEY TO THE ISSUE.
THEY ARE NOT FINANCIALLY CAPABLE OF COMPETING ON AN EQUAL LEVEL.
BRYCE HARPER OF THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE. HARPER WAS PAID,
YES I SAID PAID, WHEN HE WAS 9 YEARS OLD TO PLAY IN THE BEST TRAVEL TOURNAMENTS
HE AND HIS PARENTS WOULD RECEIVE AIRLINE TICKETS, HOTEL ACCOMODATIONS AND RENTAL
CARS JUST TO SHOW UP.
TODAY ELITE KIDS WANT TO PLAY ON TRAVEL TEAMS IN HIGH PROFILE TOURNAMENTS
WHERE THEY ARE SEEN. THEY GET PERSONAL HITTING AND PITCHING COACHES AND THOSE WITH
TALENT ADVANCE THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE.
MOST KIDS PARENTS ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO DO THAT.
SO HERE’S THE POINT
IF YOU’RE GOING TO DRESS ALL PLAYERS IN A NUMBER 42 JERSEY ONCE A YEAR TO HONOR
JACKIE ROBINSON IT’S INCUMBENT THAT YOU ALSO HAVE PROGRAMS TO MAKE SURE
THAT HIS LEGACY IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OTHERS LIKE HIM.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS TRYING BUT THEY NEED TO DO MORE
THAT’S WHY WHAT HAPPENED IN BOSTON WAS A WATERSHED MOMENT FOR THE LEAGUE AND
WHY THE OWNERS ACTED SO QUICKLY.
AS A NUMBER OF PLAYERS HAVE POINTED OUT MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HAS BECOME A
WHITE SPORT BEING WATCHED BY WHITE PEOPLE WITH AN AGING FAN BASE ON TV.
IT’S A RECIPE FOR DECLINE AND THE OWNERS KNOW IT.
ONCE AGAIN, ROBINSON WAS AHEAD OF HIS TIME. HE OPENED THE DOOR BUT 70 YEARS
LATER THERE ARE STILL TOO MANY CLOSED DOORS.
THE NUMBERS ARE THERE AND EASY TO SEE
60 PERCENT OF THE PLAYERS ARE WHITE AND 30 PERCENT ARE LATIN. THAT LEAVES ABOUT
TEN PERCENT OF ROOM FOR BLACK AND ASIAN PLAYERS.
SO WHEN WE HAD THE INCIDENTS AT FENWAY PARK SEVERAL WEEKS BACK BASEBALL TOOK
NOTICE AND REACTED SWIFTLY . AS THEY SHOULD HAVE

THIS IS GEORGE HALE WITH MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS.