SBD/May 7, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Rangers' Ron Washington: Minority Involvement In MLB A "Bottom Up" Problem

Washington said a lack of money prevents African-American kids from playing baseball
The Rangers' Ron Washington is one of three African-American managers in MLB and he has “seen attitudes change dramatically in baseball over his more than four decades" in the sport, according Kevin Sherrington of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. On Opening Day, only 8.5% of MLB’s rosters were African-American, "less than half the 1986 peak" of 19%. The reason “for the minority representation doesn’t appear to be a top-down problem,” as it is one “from the bottom up.” African-Americans “simply aren’t playing baseball in the same numbers they once did.” Washington said, “The way the world is today, with the economy, with the struggles, it takes money to play baseball. You gotta have a park. In the inner city, there’s not any parks nice enough to play baseball. A lot of the kids are from one-parent families, usually the mom. They can make their money quicker in the other sports, and baseball takes time.” But he added, “I think more than anything else, it costs money for equipment and a place to play.” Washington said, “We’ll see if the passion comes back. Maybe these academies will work. They need to play every day. That’s what kids need to have to get the love it takes to go out and play this game. To be able to fail and realize you’re not a failure. Because there’s a lot of failure in the game” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/5).
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