Two interesting stories this week on Baseball and the Caribbean.
First there was the Sport Illustrated news story that Major League Baseball (MLB) will be partnering with Jamaica to build a field in Trelawny, Jamaica.
Then came the story on a quote by Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter which he made to USA Today about black Latin players. It was made during a discussion on the decline in Black American players in baseball. He has come out and said it is the wrong choice of words. Here is the qoute:
Hunter said: “People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American. They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’
Again he mentioned it was the wrong choice of words however I can’t help but think of the tension between black Caribbean/Latin people and Black Americans. The sense that we are taking food out of the mouth of Black American born in the US. Will Jamaican players be looked at the same way as the Latin players.
On the other hand his statements is also a reflection on the MLB going outside the US to find the cheapest players. When was the last time you saw a MLB commercial featuring inner city kids. They have build fields in Latin America and the Caribbean to encourage the sport but what about the inner cities. I know the game is slow and not as flashy as football but there is no visibility in the US inner cities.
Torii Hunter’s statement has caused a “firestorm” but this may actually focus some attention on how to attract black American players to the MLB.