Dave Roberts blasts MLB over lack of opportunities for black players

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts expressed disappointment with MLB for having limited opportunities for black players.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts “feels uneasy” about the lack of opportunities for black players in MLB. Roberts called out MLB on Jackie Robinson Day. The organization celebrates this annually to commemorate the day Jackie Robinson made his MLB debut and broke the color barrier. However, the Black community remains a noticeable minority in MLB.

According to the LA Times, “There are two black faces serving in the majors, Roberts for the Dodgers and Dusty Baker for the Houston Astros. The percentage of African American players in MLB has dropped from 19% in 1986 to 7% on rosters on opening day of this season, according to the Society of American Baseball Research.

Dave Roberts is uncomfortable with the lack of black opportunities in MLB

Statistically, baseball does very well in white-dominated suburbs where children have opportunities and resources to play the sport. MLB has funded youth league opportunities in baseball and softball through black churches and community programs for boys’ and girls’ clubs, but these programs don’t offer the same opportunities as traveling leagues and more prestigious coaching.

“Baseball has gone too white,” University of Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich said at the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Summit in 2019, according to Global Sport Matters. “There are a lot of great athletes out there, and I find the cost of travel balls and some of these showcases ridiculous. It negates opportunities for many children.”

Black athletes are not given enough time to develop their skills, especially with significant elimination from draft rounds and minor league teams. Deciding to speak out about the unfairness of black opportunities in MLB, Roberts made a powerful statement.

“If you talk about African American ballers, we need to improve. I think about it all the time. It’s getting really uncomfortable. When you’re talking about undeveloped, raw, talented African American players, that process takes time. It always has. If the draft gets cut, it just doesn’t give the same guys the options. It also doesn’t give organizations the ability to search for these types or identify these types. To me, you’re shortening the draft, you’re eliminating farm teams, you’re looking for more turnkey people. The way the game has been for the past 20 years, that’s people who don’t have color.” -Dave Roberts, via the LA Times

Roberts offers a unique and useful perspective on the experience of being a person of color in MLB. It’s probably most effective and memorable that he chose to do this for the black community on a historic day in MLB.

https://fansided.com/2022/04/15/dodgers-dave-roberts-blasts-mlb-lack-opportunities-black-players/ Dave Roberts blasts MLB over lack of opportunities for black players

John Verrall

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