April 23, 2007

Quota baseball

John Rosenberg links to one of the more preposterous op-eds I've read in a LONG time. Chris Jenkins, a sports writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, hilariously argues for more skin color "diversity" in baseball teams, specifically his hometown San Diego Padres.

No major pro team is closer to the southern border of the United States. Wall notwithstanding, San Diego remains the lone big-league city that actually touches Mexico.

How odd, then, that no major league club has fewer Hispanic players than the San Diego Padres.

Yeah, it is odd. Is it equally "odd" that a city far from Mexico and/or the Caribbean has a plethora of Latino players? Jenkins also thinks it "odd" that the only team in all professional sports that has its city and team name in Spanish should have so few Latinos on it! So, he writes a serious op-ed on what it a most trivial matter? (And it is trivial: "San Diego Padres" was a Final Jeopardy answer many years ago. I recall it because I answered it correctly while all three contestants missed it. And I only attribute my right answer to my knowledge of Spanish.)

The latest racial report card issued by sports sociologist Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, stated that the number of black players in the majors dropped from 19 percent in 1995 to 8.4 percent in 2006.

"I think the problem is only going to get worse before it gets better," Lapchick said. "Look at the pipeline of players from college and high school. It's down to 6 percent African-American. Look at the rosters of the historically black colleges and you'll find that they're predominantly white."

Where else but at a university will you find a "director of [the] Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports"? Sheesh.

Statistically, that major league figure is still above average to all those who believe in "proportionate representation," and the "pipeline" figure is right on the average. That's because blacks make up approximately 12% of the US population, and half that would be black males -- 6%. So, why is there a "problem?" Blacks still are dramatically OVER-represented in sports like basketball and football. Of course, there is no lamenting the dearth of Caucasians in these sports. Nor should there be. Because if any arena best demonstrates the value of merit, it is pro sports. It is beyond ludicrous to assume that sports teams do not want the absolute best players they can get with the money available to them. And who gives a s*** what the hell color they are? I'm gonna live and die with my St. Louis Rams whether the team's all black, all white, or something in between!

And then there's one of the two black players currently on the Padres, Mike Cameron, indulging in a stereotype (which is OK, y'know, because he's a person of color):

The predominant color in the Padres clubhouse is decidedly white. By contrast, Cameron once played on a Cincinnati Reds club with nine blacks among several players of color.

“It's most definitely different,” Cameron said. “You get all these backgrounds in one place, different thought processes. It sounds different. Most of the time, Latins and blacks have a flamboyance. We're louder.”


“The game looks different than when I played,” said Dave Winfield, a Padres executive who also was the first to wear the San Diego cap for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. “It was up to 28 percent (African-American) back then. Now it's down to 8 percent. Is it irreversible? We're well into something hard to turn around.

“I know this. Jackie Robinson would be dismayed.”

The important difference is that Robinson was prevented from manifesting his awesome talent because of asinine racial discrimination. It would be silly to claim that discrimination is responsible for the falling percentages of blacks in baseball today. Not to say that Winfield is claiming this, but his comments go to the heart of this whole ridiculous op-ed: Why is it a "problem" at all that blacks aren't deciding to play baseball anymore??

It's bad enough that "diversity" and "multiculti" dogma has extended its grip to the extent that it has. If it successfully reaches pro sports, you can kiss fandom goodbye. People are already fed up enough with the many pampered, over-paid, and non-hustling pro athletes. Try to enforce some sort of ethnic quota on teams and say goodbye to a huge chunk of ticket sales.

UPDATE: Heh -- someone from the San Diego Union-Tribune just visited Colossus! Hope it was you, Chris Jenkins! Now go learn how to reason!

UPDATE 2: Soccer Dad reported on a related matter over a year ago. I had a hard time believing it wasn't a joke.

Posted by Hube at April 23, 2007 06:25 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

maybe his next peice will be on basketball... or gymnastics!

(ps, slight math error, if "blacks make up approximately 12% of the US population", then black males make up 12% of the Male US Pop.)

Posted by: steamboat willy at April 24, 2007 01:19 AM

Curious that he made no mention of how many Latinos are on the Chargers. I'll bet there are fewer than the Padres.

Posted by: Duffy at April 24, 2007 07:48 AM

Just curious, how many Latino players do the San Jose Sharks have? Or the Phoenix Coyotes?

And by the way, it was the University of Central Florida whose football team had the bench-clearing brawl with Miami this past season. Maybe they should work on their thug image first, huh?

Posted by: G Rex at April 24, 2007 09:48 AM

There are two big problems in terms of African-American participation in major league baseball.

First, AA youth just aren't playing the game. MLB is working on this through their RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) program, but that will take time and still require interest on the part of AA youth, who seem to be more interested in basketball and football.

Second, since 1991, Latino percentages in MLB has almost doubled. That's the Earliest year I could find data for quickly, but if you took it back further the effect would be even more pronounced. In fact, if you look at the data (page 14 of this PDF), you'll see that the percentage of white players has decreased since 1991. And again, I'm sure that drop is even higher as you go back to before the explosion of Latino players in the 80s.

When you take into account the increased internationalization of the game as more foreign players are entering the big leagues over the past few decades, you can actually argue that African-Americans are over-represented as they are a virtually negligible proportion of countries that MLB draws from nowadays in latin America. (Or, I think they are anyway.)

Posted by: Paul Smith at April 24, 2007 03:01 PM

sw: I was going by the general pop. figures.

Posted by: Hube at April 24, 2007 04:22 PM


You don't teach math, statistics or probability- right?

Posted by: AJ Lynch at April 24, 2007 09:30 PM

No, I don't AJ. SW's right -- I should have used the 12% male figure instead of general pop. figures. But to proportionate representationists, that still wouldn't matter to them. They'd argue about "available pool" or some other such drivel.

Posted by: Hube at April 25, 2007 03:17 PM

Considering how unrepresented white men are in pro basketball and pro football, I wonder if those leagues will be conducting programs to encourage white youths to take up those sports similar to the program the baseball league has to encourage "inner city" youths to take up baseball? I won't hold my breath. If whites are underrepresented, that's considered evidence of "how far we've come".

Frankly I'm tired of watching virtually all-black pro football teams. I'm REAL tired of the showboating and poor sportsmanship. And I think it's as discouraging for young white boys to watch football where almost every player is black as it was before Jackie Robinson's day for young black boys to watch baseball where every player was white.

Posted by: Mark at April 25, 2007 03:59 PM

Mark: And I anyone reading your comment should follow the link to your blog and read your April 20 post--and I mean ALL of it, every single word, to the very end--to know where you're coming from.


Posted by: reader_iam at April 27, 2007 01:52 AM

Unless, of course, you meant it as parody.

Posted by: reader_iam at April 27, 2007 05:05 PM