Urban black kids have drifted away from baseball. Major League Baseball started a foundation to being baseball back to the inner cities, but what’s really needed is a black baseball-loving role model.
This Village Voice writer thinks baseball needs Chris Rock.
Describing himself as “an endangered species — a black baseball fan,” Rock argued that the game of baseball has stubbornly alienated African Americans: “Every team is building a bullshit, fake-antique stadium that’s supposed to remind you of the good old days — you know, the good old days with Ruth, DiMaggio, Emmett Till.” Even as the world has sped up, he contends that the sport has slowed down, operating under an outdated unwritten code that discourages the kind of flamboyance exhibited in professional basketball and football, sports that are more popular among blacks.
And blacks are staying away in droves, on the field and in the stands.
“I don’t care about any of this as a black guy, I care about this as a baseball fan,” he said. “We don’t really need baseball, but baseball needs us. The fact is, black America decides what’s hot and what young people get excited about.”
Judging from the social-media shares and the YouTube views — nearly 750,000 of the latter at last count — Rock’s rant scored.
Something about the whole thing troubled me, though. Rock takes the position that baseball needs to change its ways. On that score, I completely agree. At the same time, his argument hinges on the fact that he needs baseball.
Baseball could certainly use him.
So writer Tom Finkel wrote him a letter:
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