HuffPo's report on blacks in baseball is bogus

Foul ball

Posted by Chris Haire on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 2:09 PM

As much as I bemoan Huffington Post's persistent sideboob coverage, sometime's I wish that's all they did — not just because I'm a sucker for skin, but because so much of what they do is smarmier than a schoolmarm in a Jonas Brothers chastity belt. 

For one, I don't need to Arianna Huffington to tell me I need more sleep. The dark circles under my eyes do that on their own.

And I sure as hell don't need her to give me some Ted Talk jive about the so-called Third Metric. Seriously, am I the only person who double-fists a shot of haterade every time Arianna proclaims that money, power, and prestige aren't the end-all, be-all measure of success. She's the multimillionaire head of the leading liberal media empire in the country, so clearly money, power, and prestige mean something to her or else she'd be living on the public dole like a proper pleb. Fuck her.
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Hopefully, you don't buy this shit or any of the other half-baked smarm points that Arianna and her team of PR flaks posing as journalists spout off daily.

Consider today's shocking HuffPo article: Major League Baseball No More Black Than It Was In The 1950s. In it, the author argues that economic barriers prevent African Americans from playing baseball. HuffPo reports:

Jackie Robinson broke Major League baseball's color barrier in 1947, but in the past few years, the percentage of African-American players on the field has dipped to Civil Rights-era numbers. One reason the number of black Major League players has steadily declined since the 1990s may be economic barriers to the sport, along with lack of college scholarships available in baseball, as college tuition costs rise and the racial wealth gap expands.
The report even cites some examples of how the cost to play baseball is significantly higher than the cost to play basketball and, yikes, even football.

For baseball, HuffPo argues that it will cost a child $480.84; that includes a baseball glove ($79.99), a batting glove ($19.99), pants ($10.99), cleats ($29.99), a helmet ($59.99), and a bat ($279.99). For basketball, HuffPo argues, all a child needs is a pair of shoes ($95); to paraphrase Kurtis Blow, apparently you can play basketball without that basketball. (Football is a comparative bargain compared to baseball: cleats, a mouthguard, pads, and gloves — WTF? — come to only $313.97; apparently a helmet isn't necessary, nor is a cup or those silly Bible verse stickers.)

Obviously, the person who put together this article has never played any of these sports. If they had, they'd know that in baseball, teams share bats and helmets — so you can knock off $279.99 and $59.99 right there.

Of course, if they also knew anything about youth baseball, they'd know that the typical bat costs, well, $250 less than the figure they cite (the price tag on a wooden Louisville Slugger hovers around $25, while you can pick up a youth aluminum bat for $20.) You can also pick up a glove for less than $25, too. So right there, the article's central argument — it's too fucking expensive for black kids to play baseball — is eliminated.

Now, I'll give you the argument that the lack of college scholarships may prevent some African Americans youngsters from playing baseball, but it sure as hell ain't the cost of the frikkin equipment. All you really need is a single ball, a bat, and a glove — and you can get all of those things for less than the cost of a $95 pair of fucking shoes.

Chris Haire is the author of the comic novel, The Many Crimes of Wyatt Duvall, Archmotherfucker, a despicable tale about a dastardly man committing dastardly deeds. Oh, and dryer lint smoking. Lots of dryer lint smoking. It's currently available at Amazon.com.

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

BANG BANG!!! Well done!

report 1 of 4 people like this.   
Posted by Danny Ray on April 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

didnt huff po get sold to aol ?

report 0 of 3 people like this.   
Posted by Diane Hilary Cleator on April 10, 2014 at 4:45 PM

You typed "battling glove." Which is interesting.
C'mon, baseball equipment IS expensive. More expensive than sports where you just need 1 ball to play.
If it's 95 fucking dollars as mentioned above, then it would cost about $1,500 to field a team with subs.
But, it's incredibly durable equipment. I still have the mitts I used in high school and college. Cleats get worn out quickly, but if you're wearing out cleats quickly, you're up to here in year-long baseball.
Bats, helmets, bases, etc... are usually provided by the Parks'n'Rec department or school. And this equipment is readily available 2nd hand as well.

Baseball needs space, time, mentors, equipment and familiarity. Those are the barriers.

report 2 of 6 people like this.   
Posted by landsnark on April 10, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Battling glove? Hmm. Not sure exactly how it would be used, but I'm sure it would be useful.

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Posted by chrishaire on April 10, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Yes, definitely the lack of college scholarships for Blacks. Now if they could only get the same educational benefits normally available to all of the Dominican and Venezuelan and Cuban players active in MLB, we could get somewhere with this problem.

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Posted by Ima Oldman on April 10, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Good point Oldman. When you look at the original research, it's clear that African-Latinos have displaced African-Americans. But if you combine the two and categorize them based on the color of their skin, then it's a fairly steady increase in representation by black players and is currently at an all time high. It's also noteworthy that the NCAA banned dunking from 1967-1976 and peak African-American participation in MLB occurred from 1974-1986. It seems clear to me that more children raised without dunking chose to play baseball. Then Jordan arrived in the NBA in 1984 and baseball became less interesting again.

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Posted by Fish Pimp on April 10, 2014 at 11:14 PM

Also a smaller percentage of "white" players since the 1950's.
How about that.

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Posted by TROLLSLAYER on April 10, 2014 at 11:37 PM

That was sarcasm, y'all - how many current Dominican players do you think played college ball?
In my opinion there are two reasons for the lack of participation in baseball. First, exposure and availability at a young age. Almost every kid in America has a basketball court of some type, or at least a hoop available for random use. How many baseball fields are available for pick-up games these days? Second, in these days of fast action and immediate results basketball delivers, baseball doesn't.

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Posted by Ima Oldman on April 11, 2014 at 6:24 AM

The non-representative nature of the NBA is shocking, right? It needs more diversity to better represent the society that the players come from. We need progressive action!

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Posted by Cid95 on April 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Caribbean ballplayers are vastly cheaper to develop than American ones. Why do you think the tiny DR produces so many ballplayers? It's not in the water, it is economics. MLB teams and agents' academies dump a lot of money into leagues down there because they get a lot of prospects for a lot less per head, in addition to year-round ball. So rising to the top you see kids whose families can support the very-expensive pastime of travel ball clubs, clinics, and coaching and those kids that can get on some sort of scholarship program early. If your kid isn't getting that full-court push and making it onto those travel teams, he isn't making the middle- or high-school squad and thus no prospects. Left out of this process are the kids in the middle, which definitely includes poorer families.

Right now, the outside support for youth baseball is headed to the tropics. This is not an indictment, just economics. I'm sure the likes of Albert Pujols's family appreciates it more than most of us can imagine.

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Posted by factoryconnection on April 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

There's another huge aspect to this issue that no one has even touched on. In Jackie Robinson's day baseball was king. Where was the NFL 50 years ago? There wasn't even a superbowl yet. The NBA, which started in 1946, was still irrelevant. There was no soccer in American to speak of. A child's sports choices were much much more limited. Baseball was the great American pasttime then, and nothing else was really even close. As a baseball fan I hate to admit this, but now football is knig. Look at what's on TV today, football gets crammed down our throats in huge doses, NFL and college. The NBA seems more popular with todays black youth than does baseball. We also have xgames type sports now and more fringe sports like lacrosse. So I guess my point is, to accurately decide if there is some sort of racial problem with a disproportionate number of blacks in pro sports, you need to look at pro sports as a whole. Looking only at baseball won't tell you much, except that baseball is a much smaller peice of the overall sports pie today. If black youths have more choices today (and they do) and they aren't choosing baseball, who cares. That's not a problem, its a trend, or a cultural shift. They happen. Move on.

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Posted by Ryan Norgart on April 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM
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