Urban community, organizations left at home
By KENNETH D. MILLER
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” Jackie Robinson
The hometown Cleveland Indians hosted Major League Baseball’s 90th anniversary All Star Game on Tuesday July 9th at Progressive Field, a national showcase event that offered yet another golden opportunity for the sport to do something that was inclusive of African Americans.
However, the one major sport that severely lacks the participation of Blacks on the baseball diamond again failed miserably to impact one of the poorest and most improvised cities in America where the All Star Game was played.
Officials at Major League Baseball will point to Retired Police Sergeant Kennedy Jones singing the National Anthem prior to the Home Run Derby on Monday, or the honoring of former Indians pitcher CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, or the few Blacks who participated in the game such as George Springer of the Astros, former Indians star Michael Brantley of the Astros, Boston Red Sox stars Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts or hot shot Pittsburgh Pirates rookie slugger Josh Bell.
Anyone who lives in Cleveland or hail from Northeast Ohio can attest to how segregated this region is, but they become unified when cheering for their favorite team for which sport offers a unique opportunities to bring us together when essentially we are far apart.
The City of Cleveland hosted The National Republican Convention, the NBA Final and the World Series in 2016, and will host the NBA All Star Game in 2022.
Each of these national events provides economic boons for the region, resources that can support public safety, create employment and improve communities.
No sport is better at community involvement than the National Basketball Association, a league dominated by African Americans. The NBA understands it is their responsibility to leave a lasting impact on those less fortunate at every turn.
Professional baseball on the other hand is culturally out of tune with urban communities. Even their few Black players do not connect to urban America and its culture like it should.
Several local organizations tried desperately to be included in the fanfare that came with the All Star Game, but for the most part they were offered tickets to some of the outlying events or not included at all.
Children in Warrensville Heights and on Buckeye Ave., St. Claire, 105th Street, in Collinwood and other similar communities deserve the same chance to be flagging fly balls during the Home Run Derby as the lily white kids they had wearing the pink T-Mobile T-shirts and caps.
The corporate sponsors associated with Major League Baseball should demand such inclusion and African Americans should be monitoring these sponsors, thus making them earn your business.
I love baseball, but I am not sure that baseball has the same love for me.
It has been 72 years since Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball color barrier and there has been some progress, but it is more on dirt patches in Latin countries and not where America’s pastime was born.
The coaches, the scouts, the managers, the broadcasters, the writers and the fans are all reflections of a diversionist culture that is stubborn to change.
It’s hard to impact a community for which you don’t have any understanding, and you can’t obtain that knowledge without creating avenues for such individuals to engage with your organization on a sustainable level from those communities.
Black kids don’t have to want to play baseball, but they can aspire to be successful as executives, accountants, administrators, in your tech operations and other areas where scores of non-baseball pacifiers exist.
Mr. Commissioner Rob Manfred you can do better. You owe it to the future and fabric of your wonderful sport, which promotes “Let The Kids Play!”
It would be nice if the kids from communities like the one I grew up in South Central Los Angeles could just watch those kids play. They might just like it and perhaps want to be one of those kids someday.