MLB's African American Problem?

In his Three Dot Blog today (6/9), the SF Chron's Bruce Jenkins takes a slight detour from a right-on screed against ridiculous MLB signing bonuses (e.g., the $50 million demand from Stephen Strasburg, the #1 pick in today's draft) and wonders if large bonuses might serve a positive end by stemming the loss of "African-American kids, whose numbers are dwindling in the major leagues." Although this was admittedly a brief aside, over the years I've read/listened countless times as Jenkins and other "well-intentioned" sports commentators have attempted to solve this "crisis" and it always yanks my chain. This time, I decided to respond (read slightly edited version below):

Interesting stuff, however, I can't agree with Jenkins that MLB has a
significant "African American problem" (and certainly not one of a magnitude
that might justify the obscene contracts that Bruce rightly bemoans). Although
the percentage of blacks in the majors has certainly declined over the past few
decades, I believe that it's roughly in line with the percentage of blacks in
the general population. If anything, baseball has become more racially diverse
(and dare I say, more competitive) with the influx of Latino and Asian
ballplayers in recent times (many of these Latino players have partial or full
African heritage). So are we really supposed to convene a task force because
American-born blacks aren't OVER-represented in an American pro sports league? continue reading

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