clearn.png
Sunday April 18th, 2021 5:12AM

Black MLB players, executives strive to diversify baseball

By The Associated Press

Michele Meyer-Shipp doesn't have to travel far to realize the challenge of growing the sport of baseball in the Black community.

She just sits down at the dinner table.

Meyer-Shipp, who is Major League Baseball's chief people and culture officer, has three sons who love sports. They know all about some of baseball's Black legends like Hank Aaron, the sport's one-time home run king who recently died at age 86.

But today's Black baseball stars? Not so much.

“When I listen to my boys talk about sports, they're always talking about the Black football player. Always,” Meyer-Shipp said. "And I'm like, ‘You know, there are Black baseball players.’ They talk about Black basketball players as well. But those are the guys you always see on commercials, on TV.

“We need our guys from baseball out there building a brand for Black talent in the game. I think that would really make a difference."

Marketing the game's best Black players was one of many topics discussed by a five-person panel of current MLB players, executives and coaches. The conversation, which was streamed Tuesday on MLB.com, is part of MLB's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, former Astros manager Bo Porter and Red Sox coach Bianca Smith were also on the panel. The 26-year-old Brinson said he started playing baseball in south Florida when he was 4 years old and immediately grew to love it, but as he got older, he eventually realized not many Black kids were playing baseball.

He said he only had two Black teammates from tee ball through high school.

“I got made fun of for playing baseball — ‘Oh you’re playing that white sport. What are you doing playing that, man?” Brinson said. “But obviously I didn't really care because I loved it.”

The number of Black players in MLB has been dwindling for years, hovering around 8% of the league in recent seasons.

Brinson said that's one reason he's proud to be in the The Players Alliance, which is a group of more than 100 Black current and former professional baseball players. The goal is for their platform to lead to “increased opportunities for the Black community in every aspect of our game and beyond.”

Brinson said going into poor areas of cities, providing baseball equipment and giving back was important. He added that it's also good for the sport when children see players who look like them.

“Having those Black kids see us, touch us and talk to us, knowing that ‘Man, they look like me. I could be in their shoes,'" Brinson said. “I think more than anything, us actually going ourselves into the community and showing these kids, ‘Listen, you could be where I’m at.'"

The panel also discussed how to diversify the upper levels of the game, especially among managers and front office staff. Porter was the manager of the Astros in 2013 and '14 and is now a consultant for MLB.

Porter said he remains optimistic about baseball's progress in diversity, but said it's important that executives work to find ways to broaden their hiring pool so they have a more diverse group of candidates.

“We have to open up the access gate because they don't know what they don't know,” Porter said. “A lot of these general managers, presidents of baseball operations, if they were to open the access gate and have conversations when these jobs come available, I guarantee you the hiring process will get better and it will change.

“As Black people, we're not looking for a handout. What we want is an opportunity.”

___

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

___

More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
'A complete bungle:' Texas' energy pride goes out with cold
Anger over Texas' power grid failing in the face of a record winter freeze is mounting
4:31PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Stocks end wobbly day mostly lower; natural gas prices surge
Stocks ended a tentative day of trading with mixed results as gains for energy companies and banks were offset by losses in other sectors
4:09PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Winter weather in Texas impacts pro, college sports
Extreme cold in Texas is impacting pro sports in Dallas and several college basketball games
4:03PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Braves beat shortstop Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration
The Atlanta Braves beat Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration, and the shortstop will earn $6 million rather than his request for $6.7 million
3:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
Spurs have 4 players positive, Atlanta has All-Star concerns
The NBA says the San Antonio Spurs are dealing with a coronavirus outbreak among four players and that means the Spurs won't play until the middle of next week at the earliest
2:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Dolphins kicker Sanders signs $22 million deal through 2026
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders has signed a $22 million contract extension through 2026
1:27PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Deaths highlight once-in-a-decade Rockies avalanche danger
The deaths of two Colorado men caught in backcountry avalanches and a third in Montana over the frigid Presidents Day weekend underscore the winter dangers in the Rocky Mountain wilderness
5:27PM ( 23 hours ago )
Spring training '21: New year, but COVID-19 protocols remain
Against the backdrop of a still raging coronavirus pandemic, pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training this week, the first step in a 2021 season that will take many of the complexities from 2020′s 60-game sprint and stretch them over an additional four months
10:27PM ( 1 day ago )
Good dogs! 20 years of covering Westminster Kennel Club show
To every sport, there’s a season, a spot on the calendar that fans mark for the big event
11:49AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Baseball
Raptors to keep calling Tampa home for rest of season
The Toronto Raptors aren’t going back to Toronto this season
7:35PM ( 4 days ago )
Dodgers introduce Trevor Bauer with 3-year deal
Trevor Bauer signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers after his own research confirmed what he'd thought as a kid growing up in the area
7:07PM ( 4 days ago )
MLB season slated to start with Yankees-Jays, Tigers-Indians
The major league season is scheduled to open April 1 with the New York Yankees hosting Toronto and Detroit hosting Cleveland starting a full schedule of 15 games
1:57PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
'A complete bungle:' Texas' energy pride goes out with cold
Anger over Texas' power grid failing in the face of a record winter freeze is mounting
4:31PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Stocks end wobbly day mostly lower; natural gas prices surge
Stocks ended a tentative day of trading with mixed results as gains for energy companies and banks were offset by losses in other sectors
4:09PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Winter weather in Texas impacts pro, college sports
Extreme cold in Texas is impacting pro sports in Dallas and several college basketball games
4:03PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Spain: Protests erupt after rapper's insults lead to prison
Violent street protests have erupted in some Spanish cities following the arrest of a rap artist who barricaded himself at a university with dozens of supporters to avoid prison and has portrayed his case as a fight for free speech
4:03PM ( 41 minutes ago )
The Latest: Colombia builds inflatable domes for patients
A shortage of hospital beds caused by the pandemic has led architects in Colombia to design portable, inflatable chambers for coronavirus patients that can be placed in gyms or parking lots
4:01PM ( 42 minutes ago )