|But where are the Black guys?|
Since sports offer Black people one of the only opportunities to provide positive examples for members of their community to a world that wants little to do with them otherwise, it's vital that this pipeline of good will continues to produce positive results.
One man is responsible for this more than any: Sonny Vaccaro. People forget that the NBA was looked at as a ghetto, a league of Black thugs that no corporation wanted to invest in and promote back in the 1970s and early 1980s.
All that changed with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan:
Now Nike wanted to try again. In 1979, Knight had met John Paul “Sonny” Vaccaro, a basketball maven who pitched a groundbreaking idea: The company would sign endorsement deals with college coaches who, in turn, could turn their players into billboards for the brand.
“I was charmed by Sonny,” Knight would say. “After that, we gave him all the room he wanted.”
As successful as the college venture had been, Knight knew the big money was in the surging pro game, where Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had vaulted the league’s popularity. Both players, however, wore Converse.As this New York Times article makes clear, corporations such as Nike and Reebok pay big bucks to shuttle Black middle school and high school athletes all around the country to showcase their talents in AAU basketball games. Treated like Gods by companies hoping to find the next Michael Jordan (thus, the next basketball player to endorse Nike shoes and get inner city Black kids to spend $140 on shoes that only government handouts can help them afford), these Black athletes pay nary a dime to showcase their skills to college coaches across the land:
The men at the meeting were following Nike’s well-worn path of thinking far outside the box. With most of the NBA’s top players already locked up to Converse, Nike officials thought they should gamble on a rookie, a fresh new face for the league.
It's this kind of treatment that brings Vaccaro grief from the critics. It's also an indication of how much is different from the day he signed Michael Jordan for Nike and changed marketing forever. Sonny barely knew Jordan until right before the 1984 draft. But once MJ morphed into Air Jordan, it became Sonny's job to find the next great salesman. By the late '90s, sneaker companies were inviting 14-year-olds to their camps and travel teams.Vaccaro is one of the people most responsible for the state of college basketball and the thug mentality that is pervasive in both the collegiate and professional ranks today. He has tried to clean-up his image by fighting on behalf of Black kids who have no business going to a university other than their ability to dribble a basketball or shoot a jump shot:
Over time, Mr. Vaccaro developed a knack for befriending other talented prospects — like Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers — guiding them to stardom and then signing them to endorsement deals. In the 1990s, he helped unleash the so-called sneaker wars in which the shoe companies fought over younger and younger prospects, sponsoring entire teams and flying them to tournaments.Now ask yourself this: if you are a white parent, already taxed to death to pay for welfare, EBT cards, Section 8 Housing, and other amenities that go disproportionately to subsidize Black people (not to mention the unbelievable bucks spent to escape the Black Undertow and insulate your children in Whitopia's for "the good schools"), why would you subject your young son to playing a sport that is dominated by Blacks and have them travel around the country with primarily Black AAU teams?
Many saw Mr. Vaccaro as an advocate for young athletes, many of them poor and black, in search of a better life through sports. Other reviled him as the personification of a system that uses young basketball players to generate millions of dollars for the shoe companies and the N.C.A.A. but subordinates education to dreams of endorsement deals and N.B.A. careers.
You wouldn't. The best young white athletes these days play baseball (and play quarterback in football), because the cost of fielding a traveling team is greater than a team of eight Black kids from the hood.
White families drop big bucks to have their child play traveling baseball, with games all over the country. That gets expensive to follow and support, a cost barrier that single Black females (72 percent of Black children don't have a father living with them) with a net wealth of $5 can't overcome.
This is why baseball is no longer a sport with a big Black presence. It has nothing to do with racism, unless you believe that Nike and Reebok are racist to perceive that only Black kids can play basketball and are worthy of easy exploitation.
Tonight, South Carolina and the University of Florida will compete in game two of the College Baseball World Series. Unlike college football, where 'special admission' status ensures that Black athletes intellectually incapable of gaining acceptance to these schools on their own merit and earn a dubious "academic" scholarship, college baseball is a sport for white people.
|The best white athletes play baseball|
Look at any college baseball team and you'll see a reflection of what the university really looks like (both Florida and South Carolina are overwhelmingly white), as opposed to college football and basketball teams that normally have some of the only Black males on the campus playing for them:
In 2005, the most recent year for which figures were available, only 35 percent of players drafted were high school players, down from 56 percent when the draft started. And only about a quarter of drafted high school players now sign with a team, compared to about 70 percent of college players who are drafted.
In 1965, about half of drafted high school players signed, compared to 55 percent of college players who were drafted.
But baseball is not considered a revenue sport in college, as football and basketball are. Full scholarships are very rare for baseball. More often two or three players will share a scholarship.
It takes a certain amount of economic resources for a baseball player to go to college and whites, on average, have higher incomes than blacks in the U.S. So for a black athlete that needs financial assistance to attend college, it makes more sense to try for a football or basketball scholarship. This is a big reason why college baseball teams have even a lower percentage of black players than does the major league, said Solomon.
"A Division 1 football program can give out 85 scholarships, and baseball teams only 11.7," said Solomon. "If you're an African American kid and you need help to go to school, do the math."
Has the NBA ever opened up a camp in a Whitopia hoping to attract more white Americans to the game?
In the 2009 College World Series, only four percent of the players were Black.This is what happens in collegiate athletics when the Black Underclass isn't subsidized as it is in basketball and increasingly football.
SEC Football, which was once segregated, could look like College Baseball if Black athletes were not granted special admission to the schools so that their pathetic grades and low SAT/ACT scores wouldn't be usurped by their athletic dexterity.
Take a look at this link which shows the number of Black players for the SEC schools in baseball, plus fan support:
The under-representation of African-Americans in college baseball is evident. African-American athletes make up only 4.5% of all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) baseball players. They are a shrinking percentage of Major League Baseball players. A focus group was established to identify specific sociological issues which were perceived to influence the under-representation of African-Americans in collegiate baseball. Additionally, information from the observation of SEC baseball games during the 2006 season was used to quantify the social pattern. Data from the "traditionally black" Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) were also collected during the 2006 season. For the Southeastern Conference (SEC), fan attendance was less than 1% African-American and the player participation rate was 1.91 per team during the 2006 season. Additionally, none of the SEC head or assistant baseball coaches were African-American. The focus group determined that the reasons for the decline in numbers were related to (1) lifestyle factors, (2) competition from other sports and social opportunities, and (3) the absence of African-American role models in baseball. The authors propose that Title IX legislation and the influence of sports media were primary factors in the change.The majority of Black athletes playing college basketball and college football have no business attending classes and representing these institutions. College baseball - with limits on scholarships - shows what all sports should look like:
African-Americans in College Baseball
The under-representation of African-Americans in college baseball is an obvious yet perplexing picture in athletics today. African-American athletes are more than equitably represented among many of the most popular collegiate spectator sports; however, their near absence in college baseball appears to be more than coincidental. Questions arise as to whether the educational system, the social system of athletics, and/or federal legislation have been responsible for the reduction in the number of African-American baseball players in America.
Only 4.5% of all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) baseball players were African-American during the 2004 season. This includes all divisions, in addition to the historically African-American colleges and universities. On the contrary, 42.0% and 32.3% of NCAA basketball and football players, respectively, were African-American in the 2003-2004 academic year (Bray, 2005).
When specifically examining one of the perennial collegiate conference baseball powers, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), only 4.2% of 2006 roster players were African-American, as noted in Table 1. The twelve universities that make up the SEC represent states with an average African-American population of 20.8%.
Perhaps the biggest challenge was simply making it as far as he did. In 2003-04 – the most recent data compiled by the NCAA – only 6 percent of the nearly 9,800 Division I baseball players were black, compared to 25 percent in all sports combined. Whites made up 84 percent of the baseball rosters.
And the total number of black baseball players has fallen from a five-year high of 649 in 2001-02 to 598 last year.
"It's sad, because I remember when I was this age, there were a lot of guys getting opportunities to go," said Harold Reynolds, a two-time All-Star during his 12-year career in the majors and currently an analyst for ESPN's baseball coverage.
As expected, basketball and football are much more equitable. Half of the men's and women's basketball players were black, and 44 percent of the football players.
"I think it's a reflection of the fact that there aren't any African-Americans at the lower levels of baseball," said Richard Lapchick, the director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida."If baseball is going to be seen as the national pastime, you would hope it would reflect the diversity of the country."
According to Lapchick, the number of black players in the majors this season is down to 9 percent, the lowest figure since the late 1970s.
The reason more white people don't pursue basketball is because white parents are smart enough to realize that their children probably will enjoy the company of other white children in their communities, instead of traveling all around the country playing for a team where they would be the token white.
Plus, AAU basketball is heavily subsidized - at least at the highest levels - by Nike, Reebok, Adidas, and other sporting companies. They promote inner city (Black athletes) kids and fly them all over the country in hopes that they will be the next star NBA player who will help sell shoes made cheaply in China to Black kids in America for $140. It will be these shoes that will adorn the feet of Mahogany Mobs.
Travel baseball is very expensive and Black families (or, Black mothers who rely on the government) can't pay these expenses. This is why Black families put all their eggs in the basketball basketball as a way to escape.
Sailer is right to point out that white families also invest heavily in soccer and increasingly lacrosse, sports that Black kids go nowhere near.
But college baseball shows you what sports would look like if athletic scholarship weren't given out to the lowest academic qualifiers.
Black kids playing collegiate sports aren't being exploited; for 99 percent of these kids, the opportunity to play college football or basketball represents their only chance for a decent life. If they fail to take advantage of this opportunity, it is only their fault.
Put simply, the best white athletes are pursuing sports outside of basketball, because they will have the opportunity to be around their friends. These white athletes normally excel at high school football as well, but have a better opportunity to make an impact in baseball.
Just ask Peyton Hillis about why that is.