Mighty Casey wouldn't recognize Mudville anymore. If the mighty poetic slugger could be brought to opening day in 2010, nary a soul would see him strike out (baseball attendance is woeful).
America's past time is dead. It is isn't dying, it is dead. Baseball is a sport behind NFL football, NASCAR, college football, college basketball (around NCAA Tournament time), Mixed Marital Arts and World Wrestling Entertainment (just look at the numbers WWE gets for Monday Night Raw) in popularity.
The only sport baseball beats in popularity in America is the WNBA, but never doubt the power of 200,000 lesbians to pull their beloved sport ahead of "America's game". Certainly, Tiger Woods is more newsworthy than baseball.
Ratings are woefully, attendance -as stated - is dropping faster than Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns stock and the media is doing everything possible to drum up interest in a game that not even the magical appearance of Shoeless Joe Jackson could resurrect.
Baseball is no longer a game played by Americans (for that matter, the nation of America is no longer a nation of Americans, as the realization that half of all births are non-white).
Black people have long since abandoned the game of baseball for the greener pastures of the NBA and the NFL (or, if that fails, prison or Federal Government employment).
As the first pitch of 2010 prepares to be thrown, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torri Hunter has decided to prematurely fling his bat directly into the delicate - unmentionable - glass foundation of the racial dynamics of the MLB. Bemoaning the lack of Black players in the league, Hunter told USA Today:
Hunter is correct in his assessment of MLB's dilemma: there is a major correlation between plummeting ratings, poor attendance and the lack of America born (Black or white) born players in the league. Sadly, Hunter's truthful admission of baseballs new color problem has been greeted with jeers instead of cheers:
Fans look down from their seats onto the baseball field, see dark-colored skin and might assume they are African-American players.
Baseball's African-American population is 8%, compared with 28% for foreign players on last year's opening-day rosters.
"As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us," Hunter says. "It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?'
"I'm telling you, it's sad."
Read the last quote by Ozzie Guillen again and let it sink in. Americans (the historic population as reflected in the 1964 population - 90 percent white, 10 percent Black... almost 0 Hispanics), will need a VISA to play baseball because it will be majority Hispanic!Los Angeles center fielder Torii Hunter was at first startled, and then angered Wednesday when comments he made about diversity in baseball were construed as potentially racist.
Hunter, who found himself in a firestorm of online criticism about comments he made in a USA TODAY roundtable discussion, says he meant no harm or disrespect to Latin American players.
Hunter, in discussing the dearth of African-American players in baseball, referred to Latin players as "imposters." He was trying to make the distinction between Latin players and American-born black players with the seven other members of the roundtable...
"I'm not going to apologize," Hunter said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. "I told the truth. I'm sorry if I used the wrong choice of words...
In the USA TODAY story, Hunter said: "People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they're African-American. They're not us. They're impostors. Even people I know come up and say: 'Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?' I say, 'Come on, he's Dominican. He's not black.' ...
"As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?'
The African-American population in baseball is only about 8%, compared to 28% of foreign players on last year's opening-day rosters. Yet, although MLB is trying to increase the number of black players in baseball, the Latin population continues to grow.
"I think scouts look for talent," Guillen says, "no matter where you come from. If you have talent, they're going to sign you. I think it's not just African-American players, because I think they'd rather play basketball or football than play baseball. In our country, we play baseball.
"Here you can play basketball, you can be another athlete, you can do so many things when you have the opportunity. And that's why there's not many (African American) players out there. That's the reason I think Major League Baseball opened the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) thing, to show more underprivileged kids how to play the game. ...
"The reason there are so many Latin American players here is because I think they earn it. You look around at who are the superstars in baseball right now, and who are the people making the most money, you're going to see a lot of Latin American players' names out there. I keep saying in 10 more years, American people are going to need a visa to play this game because we're going to take over."
Guillen could have easily said Americans will need a VISA to visit many American cities that have become unrecognizable to white and Black people, but instead look like an extension of Mexico, but the baseball analogy is apt.
If this happens, baseball will be irrelevant and will have difficulty being shown on any channel save Telemundo.
Here is a racial breakdown of MLB players by position.
But these comments from Hunter were made - oddly enough - just barely a decade after everyone's whipping boy John Rocker accurately gave his infamous interview with Sports Illustrated that landed him in diversity training:
JOHN ROCKER has opinions, and there's no way to sugarcoat them. They are politically incorrect, to say the least, and he likes to express them.
On ever playing for a New York team: "I would retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing."
On New York City itself: "The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
But Rocker reserves a special place in his heart for Mets fans, whom he began bad-mouthing during the regular season when the Braves were battling the Mets for the National League East title eventually won by Atlanta. Although the Braves beat the Mets in a grueling six-game Championship Series (and thus reached the World Series, in which they were swept by the other New York team, the Yankees), Rocker has not allowed himself to let go of the bitterness. You try to find different topics -- hunting, women, family -- but it always comes back to three cold nights at Shea, when bottles whizzed past his head, beer was dumped on his girlfriend and 2,007 sexual positions involving him and a sheep were suggested...
ROCKER BEMOANS the fact that he is not more intelligent, and though his father says John graduated with a 3.5 GPA from Presbyterian Day High in Macon, Ga., in 1993, sometimes it's hard to argue. In passing, he calls an overweight black teammate "a fat monkey." Asked if he feels any bond with New York Knicks guard Latrell Sprewell, notorious for choking coach P.J. Carlesimo two years ago, Rocker lets out a snarl of disgust. "That guy should've been arrested, and instead he's playing basketball," he says. "Why do you think that is? Do you think if he was Keith Van Horn -- if he was white -- they'd let him back? No way." Rocker is rarely tongue-tied when it comes to bashing those of a race or sexual orientation different from his. "I'm not a racist or prejudiced person," he says with apparent conviction. "But certain people bother me."
John Rocker was suspended, underwent diversity training for his thought crime and never recovered from the stigma of being baseball's version of Pat Buchanan. What happened to Rocker? Well, he started a campaign with the simple slogan of "Speak English" something that many on the rosters of MLB 30+ teams can't do:
The mission statement of the “Speak English” campaign is to encourage people to promote and support the sustainment of the American heritage and the American culture. Many people over many generations have invested blood, sweat, and tears into creating an America that affords all of us opportunities that are not available anywhere else in the world. Out of respect to past generations, the least we can do as the present generation is to promote the longevity of the culture that our forefathers have created.Baseball is done. Stick a fork in the game. Mighty Casey isn't even bothering to put on his batting helmet anymore.
Not even James Earl Jones wonderful soliloquy from Field of Dreams could shock people into caring about a game that is now alien and foreign to them. Torri Hunter is correct: baseball is no longer a Black man's game. John Rocker was right, too, but he took the brunt of criticism and psychotherapy because in Black Run America (BRA), only white people can be racist.
Even when whites are a pathetic minority amid the non-white plurality, all Black failures (and Hispanic) will be placed on the shoulders of a people still longing for the return of limited government and Tea Parties.
Black players are becoming as rare in baseball as a white tailback or corner back in football, and some clubs won't even have Black players when the 2010 season starts:
The percentage of African-American players increased to 10.2 percent in 2008, according to the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports -- up from an 8.2 percent in '07, the lowest level in the more than 20 years of the study.
Still, a glance at several projected Opening Day rosters reveals some disturbing snapshots:
• The Cardinals, the team of Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, will be without an African-American.
• The Braves, the team of Hank Aaron, will feature an African-American only if rookie outfielder Jason Heyward and/or non-roster infielder Joe Thurston make the club.
• The Mets' only African-American will be outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., a player they recently acquired in a trade.
• The Tigers could be without an African-American if they fail to keep outfielder Austin Jackson or left-hander Dontrelle Willis.
• The White Sox and Marlins, teams with African-American general managers, will each have only one African-American player -- outfielder Juan Pierre for the White Sox and outfielder Cameron Maybin for the Marlins.
These teams are not racist; they are looking for the best players. As Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron, an African-American, recently told me, "Different teams go through stages where they have more or less African-American players on their roster. With only about nine percent in the league, it's going to happen."
But therein lies the problem.
One point from the USA Today roundtable deserves more attention than Hunter's comments: The low number of baseball scholarships -- 11.7 per season -- permitted for each Division I team.
The scholarship limit in football is 85. In basketball, it's 13 -- and a basketball team uses only five players at a time.
On the other hand, football and basketball are revenue-producing sports and baseball is not.
"The colleges have corrupted baseball because they've taken away the scholarships," agent Scott Boras said during the roundtable. "They've taken away America's pastime from the grassroots level of homes."
The trend is just the opposite on the international market, where teams sign large numbers of Latin players inexpensively because such players are not subject to the amateur draft.
Stuff Black People Don't Like applauds Torii Hunter for taking a stand for America's game, although it is 10 years too late. John Rocker put up the only true fight, because the changing demographics of America spelled the doom for the game long before baseball scouts started targeting cheap Latin ballplayers.
A perfect example of the changing face of America can be found in baseball movies produced by Hollywood studios. Watch Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Major League 1 and 2 (not the third film) Rookie of the Year, The Sandlot, Mr. 3000, For the Love of the Game. The team dynamics transition from majority white with a few Black players to majority Hispanic with a precious white players.
"The one constant through all the years, has been baseball"... it was said once. No longer. The past is being erased slowly, and replaced with the future of embodied by Ozzie Guillen.
You won't just need a VISA to be an American-born ballplayer in the major leagues... you'll need a VISA to visit many major America cities.
Pre-Obama America wasn't such a bad place after all, was it?
Torii Hunter is a proud Black man. He shouldn't have to apologize for what he said, because he is correct in his diagnosis of the deplorable state of baseball.
Equally, John Rocker is a proud white man. He was right about everything he said in his interview and about the changing face of America. He shouldn't apologize either.