Rob Neyer posted a link yesterday to a recent interview with former Giant outfield Monte Irvin.
Now, the Giants, an organization with a rich tradition in diversity, have no outfielders who are African American. No infielders or catchers or pitchers, either.
For the first time in their San Francisco history. In terms of Opening Day rosters.
Irvin, 91, said he isn’t surprised, 61 years after breaking the Giants’ color barrier.
“Just happened to be that way. It’s not designed that way,” Irvin said in an interview with The Chronicle on Friday. “That’s going to happen unless you get more participation with youngsters coming up.”
I don’t find much to debate about with Irwin’s comments. In fact, I find them mighty close to being dead-on. However, this brings up a question: why don’t more African Americans in the inner city play baseball? Sure, there are the obvious answers of the draw of basketball and other sports, elevated equipment needs, lack of places to play … the list can go on and on.
Troubling also is the dearth of African American stars in the big leagues. Right off the top of your head, name a few. Ryan Howard, Dontrelle Willis, Cameron Maybin (?!), Orlando Hudson (?!)* …
*Of course, it’s 10:00 pm, I’ve enjoyed a scotch and I don’t necessarily pay attention to race when rooting for teams or following the news.
However, the trend is troubling. And you know what? I think it’s a darn shame. It’s possible that someone like Justin Hayward could turn things around. He might be the role model/cool guy needed in this situation. But, with my best musing voice and thinking face upon, I think it’s more than that.
But — what is it? Then again, is this even a problem? What say you?