Too Late To Apologize ………………

Too Late To Apologize ……

As MLB celebrates the Civil Rights games scheduled over the weekend I found it quite fascinating to see the interview that took place between Hank Aaron and CNN’s Don Lemmon . The interview with baseball’s former home run King shed light on what is now a glaring disparity within the game of baseball and that is that the African American’s participation within the game , is now said to be at its lowest level in years. I know that the game’s hierarchy has done its utmost to honor Jackie Robinson and his contribution’s to the game but I feel that Aaron summed it up best when he said that …..” baseball simply doesn’t do enough to lure young African American fans to the game “ . If anything it has been how the game is now marketed and the mere fact that Commissioner Bud Selig has set his sights on the Latin America , the Caribbean basin as well South Asia to bring the game of baseball to a wider audience. And granted , the game has seen a growth in those areas but what cannot be denied is the waning interest in the game amongst young African Americans . So much so , that their participation in the game at the professional level is now at its lowest level in two decades.


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Slide show for your perusal .

It wasn’t that long ago that Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter made the comment that ….” Latino males who are of African ancestry can’t be considered to be black “ ……unfortunately for Hunter even if that wasn’t his intent to generate the resentment that may well have brought up amongst the Latin players but after those comments if anything , it simply didn’t stir much of a response amongst prominent African American players in the league . I’d like the to think that the contributions of such players as Reggie Jackson , Willie Mays , Robinson and Aaron would actually mean something to young African American players at the youth level but the fact of the matter is now they are simply no real African American icons within the game today that they can simply identify with. They’ve seen the game brought to its knees by the antics of Barry Bonds the steroid allegations that have surround him and the game’s handling of that very issue amongst other things may well be one of the main reasons for their choosing to shy away from the game of baseball. Most certainly as Hank Aaron stated the league hierarchy has indeed done a poor job of actually bringing back the game at the grassroots level .

OK, it’s said that they have specific programs within the elementary schools , high school and inner cities within their recreation departments . But that in of-itself simply hasn’t been enough to actually heighten the interest sought by the game . And that if anything is really a sad indictment of the game and how much of a waning interest that there now is with the African American community. If anything the NBA and NFL have simply stepped up their branding and marketing of their respective sports and the financial opportunities there are far greater and the chance of immediate success would seem to be far greater given the right set of circumstances for a player seeking entry into the those sports .

One of the points also raised by Hank Aaron also was that during lean economic times we tend to see it hit the African American community hard in terms of their attending games and taking an interest in recreational events . But I think that comparison can be made for the whole demographic of the community at large because if fans aren’t simply turning up for games then there’s also to be less of an interest in participating in that sport as a recreation. Certainly , I do believe also that when public schools are making budgetary cuts within physical education it makes the situation much more stark as to the gravity of the events that are now taking place. Even within the game itself where we now see that there’s also a glaring disparity with the haves and have nots amongst the large and small market teams I can’t help but wonder what might be the next step to be taken by Bud Selig , the team owners , in particular the MLBPA and what they might do to remedy the situation that facing them as they see a fall-off in the presence of African Americans within the sport at the professional level amongst the players. Certainly at the executive level amongst the general managers and managers there is a presence there with prominent African Americans . But I for one have yet to hear a public statement from any of the individuals in question concerning this issue much less a public statement on this issue from Bud Selig, himself. I think if anything Selig’s handling of this all has been like everything else that he at times deal with , it tends to be haphazard and rather laissez-faire attitude as he simply seeks to put a positive spin on any issue that tends to show the image of the game in a bad light . And nowhere was this more self evident than his handling with the whole steroid issue and the hearings that came with this all he gave his own testimony to the House Oversight Committee .

I don’t know that there’s a clear cut answer for this situation but I do feel that the league hierarchy has been lax in dealing with this and several other issues that now seems to have befallen the game of baseball. Even when I hear statements being made by Rob Manfred even addressing the financial disparities within the game I simply know that he’s not at all sincere much less does or any of his colleagues within baseball’s hierarchy have a real answer for the disparities and problems . It would appear problem solving isn’t even the highest priority within the game of baseball but merely keeping up this facade that they’re simply the ones who still carry this flag of social conscience as it relates to the issue of racial integration within team sports. If anything it’s simply now doing the game a disservice as it fails to really deal with a number of issues within its own parameters.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning this piece and are you at all in agreement with the statement made by Hank Aaron ? And what changes if any do you believe would be of benefit to the game concerning this specific issue ? Simply just chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron watches a tribute video showing him hitting his 715th career home run at the Major League Baseball Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(2) (From left to right) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Billye Aaron and Beacon Award winner Ernie Banks gather after the Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(3) Baseball Hall of Famers wave to fans following ceremonies opening the Hank Aaron Museum at the Hank Aaron Stadium on April 14, 2010 in Mobile, Alabama. From left: Bob Feller , Ozzie Smith , Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron and Rickey Henderson . Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images North America …….

(4) Robinson is seen here alongside his wife Rachel at his Hall of Fame Induction . Also pictured is Branch Rickey whose courageous act brought Robinson into the Majors . Post Archives Inc….


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Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

8 thoughts on “Too Late To Apologize ………………”

  1. Aaron is right but in large part it’s a two-fold effort that needs to be adopted in order to lure simply not just African Americans but kids of all ages and ethnicity back to the game . It’s bad enough isn’t that even less kids are now playing the game at all levels and it’s not about the economic environment . Baseball has done a piss poor job enticing the kids back to the game here domestically never mind the mess with regard to the Olympics the idiocy of how and when the World Baseball Classic is staged .

    tophatal ……………….


  2. One of the best baseball books I ever read, Al, was Aaron’s “I Had A Hammer.”

    I highly recommend picking it up to anyone who wants to understand what baseball was like for a black man back in the day.


    1. Chris Humpherys

      It’s a terrific book ! One of the guys who I visit at the local VFW Lodge recommended that I read as he’s an avid baseball fan like myself. We’ve attended several Spring Training and Rays’ games together. He’s a Korean War vet and he continually tells me about those days when he attended games with his father .

      Had to have been a special time but I can’t help but wonder the malice that was directed towards Aaron on the night prior to him breaking what was then Ruth’s alltime home run record . Now with Bonds having surpassed that mark I wonder if all baseball fans in general still genuinely recognize that feat or Aaron’s as the legitimate mark ?

      tophatal ………..


    2. That’s a great point, Al. I actually think it’ll be a generational thing. Right now, Aaron still gets a lot of love and is even considered the Home Run King by some old schoolers.

      We’ll see how he’s remembered in another thirty years when all those old schoolers are gone or putting their teeth in jars.


      1. Chris Humpherys

        The baseball historians are the ones who’ll really dictate how these records will be looked at . Especially those that came about in and post steroid era. As it is now I still don’t believe that the sport is as clean as Selig claims it to be ! Hell only a week ago another player got caught and was suspended for the league mandatory suspension . So what does that tell you about the league’s policy and the fact that it’s still weak ?

        To my mind the league hierarchy either takes a stand wipe those records off the books or simply place an asterisk by their side denoting that they’re tainted . The sport cannot continue to think that those records can be recognized as legit in light of the wrongdoing of these players . It does the game a great disservice and makes the feats of the greats even less so in the aftermath .

        tophatal ……………


  3. I honestly don’t know too much about this but definitely a good article. I know this has become a problem in baseball but I feel that some of it has to do with the fact that a lot of AA’s go into basketball or football because those are much more accesible games. In this day and age it’s a lot easier to go to the park for a game of pick up basketball or throw the football around rather than gather 15 kids for a game of baseball. I played a lot of baseball growing up but I rarely had games with my buddies. Everything was organized, with my parents driving me to practices and games and my dad throwing me BP. Also, I think that basketball and football are the flashier choices. I think Whitlock has talked about how baseball isn’t the coolest sport around and you’re not tough if you play it. Football and basketball seem to me more respected sports around the world just generally now and have more exposure. Something in the culture of sports needs to change.


  4. Chris Ross

    In all honesty the Rickey ‘s social experiment’ had more to do with making money than it had to do with righting a wrong . Let’s put it this way even after Robinson’s integration into the game the attendees were still segregated anyway . So you tell me how this situation actually changed the game other than the perception ? Once the game became even more integrated granted the situation changed but even on the eve of Aaron breaking the home run record what happened ? The guy was berated with racial epithets and a litany of abuse even after he broke the record as well. So let’s not kid ourselves that this game is as pure as the paragons out there claim it to be . Historians simply hide much of malaise and insidious things that took place such as such as the segregation of those attending the games .

    As of now it’s asinine to think that MLB is doing anywhere enough here domestically when they’re building baseball academies in the DR , Asia and even the content of Africa . But here you have the idiocy of their program which they say is to lure kids back to the game . If they really want to lure kids to the game set an example as to how their players ought to be acting , role out real initiatives but above all act with the local communities in really making the game accessible . You’ve got a bunch of old archaic idiots within the hierarchy of baseball and an ownership culture that are as dumb as they come !

    Accessibility or not let’s take a look at the other sports you mentioned namely the NBA , NFL ? Those two sports also were segregated and if anything the acts there perpetrated by the owners were just as heinous . Now come full circle and those two sports have one thing in common as with only the NBA sticking out . There are no African American owners in the NFL or baseball but they do have high ranking executives within their hierarchy.

    Whitlock is an ass who merely curries favor because he loves this type of controversy no matter how much the idiocy he espouses .

    tophatal …………


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