It is well documented by now that whether if it’s mainstream media or in blue-collar workplaces, representation is vital. The representation of a gender or race has proven to be effective in attracting more of that class that is being initially represented. The same logic applies to professional sports. Major League Baseball is the third most popular sport in the country yet less than 8% of the league’s players are represented by black players. This is largely due to fewer opportunities for Black and brown American born baseball players to gain notoriety.
That is why the announcement of Hall of Famer, and all-time great outfielder and MLBbro Ken Griffey Jr. as the Hitting Coach for Team USA is exceptional. As one of the most notable MLBbros of all time, representing not only the MLB but America on this big stage is a great way to represent the minimal black presence in our game.
In his playing days, “The Kid” as he was known, was arguably the most dynamic player to ever step onto a baseball field. The true definition of a five-fool player, there was nothing he could not do on the field. He played with a charisma and flair that had an effect on young black kids all over the country. He made a sport that was known as boring and uneventful to some and made it seem cool and remarkable. It is only fitting that someone of his caliber be placed on to the Team USA coaching staff. Not only will his influence be welcomed with the team, but his mere presence brings not only black fans but potentially more black future players.
Griffey Jr. is more than qualified to teach the art of hitting. With over 600 Home runs, 2700 plus hits, and 1800 plus RBI he is one of the best all-around pure hitters the game has seen. He posted these numbers while batting .284 over a 22-year big league career. Not to mention “The Kid” has one of the most recognizable and iconic swings of all time.
The World Baseball Classic does not officially return until 2023, but with the addition of Griffey Jr. to the staff, the team is already gaining momentum and giving fans reason to be optimistic about a repeat of its 2017 championship. Seeing him work with the roster of some of our best players in the game should be a welcome sight. It will also be interesting to see him work with young MLBbro Cedric Mullins, who has similar tools to Griffey Jr. whose His Hall of Fame impact should have a great influence on the entire club.