The Black Baseball Renaissance Must Be Televised To Be Acknowledged As Reality

The Black Baseball Renaissance Must Be Televised To Be Acknowledged As Reality

At times it can be easy to be discouraged. 

 

When we started MLBbro.com in the spring of 2021, baseball was just coming back from the pandemic. It was reintroducing itself to the world just as we were making our debut.

 

Our mission, today as it was then, is to shine a light on the Black and brown players who have contributed to make the game what it is today. It’s to tell the stories of the players right now, making their own history. And it’s to let the world know about the ones on the way.

 

At the start of the 2022 season Black representation in the big leagues was at 7.2 percent, the lowest number since data began being tracked in 1991. Then it dropped even further this season, to 6.2 percent.

 

All-Star Game Lacked Melanin Again 

 

With so many players out with injury or ineffectiveness, the All-Star game had a much different vibe. The reigning American League MVP (Aaron Judge) didn’t play, neither did last season’s All-Star Game MVP (Giancarlo Stanton), the perfect representations of both injury and ineffectiveness.

 

MLBbros went a combined 0-4 at the plate. Josiah Gray’s single scoreless inning served as the only highlight.

 

However, hope, does appear to be on the horizon.

 

Ten Black players represented their organizations in the Futures Games in Seattle, and the inaugural Swingman HBCU Classic was a resounding success. 

 

These Electrifying Diamond Miners Will Be Representing MLBbro Nation In SiriusXM All-Star Futures Games

 

Baseball has invested in real grass roots efforts to cultivate youth programs for communities where access has been a problem. Current and former players have made the investments of money, time, and have created spaces for kids to fall in love with the game.

 

From 2012 to 2022, there were 56 Black players taken in the first round of the draft (17.5 pct). In 2022, three Black players were selected in the top five, the first time that had ever happened.

 

Five MLBbros Chosen In The Top 18 Picks Of 2022 MLB Draft

 

At the MLB Draft combine held last month, 15 percent of all players there were Black. Ten potential MLBbros were selected in the top 100 of this year’s draft. There were 50 more young athletes who got to be seen by major league scouts at the Swingman Classic, with two of those going on to be drafted. 

The decrease in numbers across every level of baseball didn’t occur overnight, and there are numerous socio-economic and racial dynamics that have diverted the pipeline of talent in the Black community away from the sport over the years. Many of those are still at play.

 

What Does Baseball Need To Do To Increase Black Representation?

 

We still need greater investments at the youth, high school, and collegiate levels. Not just financial, but in development of coaches and helping to create a culture that encourages participation. Baseball sits with basketball and soccer among the sports that the world can share and yet the representation at its highest levels does not reflect the diverse nations that enjoy and compete in the game.

 

We have to continue to water the soil, protect the seeds, and see what’s been started, continue to grow and produce for years to come. Because it isn’t enough to have stars. There was time when Black players were simply part of the game. They played every position, and some were utility men just making a career for themselves. 

 

You didn’t take notice of how few there were, simply because there were so many.

 

It can be that way again. And we will continue to celebrate the achievements, note the progress, and discuss the methods that will help extend what we at MLBbro.com believe is a renaissance in Black baseball. 

 

Interview With Bubba Thompson | The Former QB Is Bringing Next Level MLBbro Speed To Texas Rangers

Interview With Bubba Thompson | The Former QB Is Bringing Next Level MLBbro Speed To Texas Rangers

Bubba Thompson was once committed to play quarterback for the University of Alabama, now the 2022 Triple A stolen base leader is looking to have an impact on winning for Texas.

 

 

Bubba Thompson came into this season as one of the Texas Rangers highest ranked prospects.

They drafted him 26th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, in large part due to his perfect speed grade of 70 and an above average arm which was rated at 60.

He collected a franchise record with 49 stolen bases this season for the teams Triple A affiliate in Round Rock, however his game on offense is not limited to just speed.

 

 

He hit 13 home runs, 12 doubles and four triples with 48 RBI and had a .304 batting average in 80 games.

Thompson was called up to the Majors on August 4th.  Had he not been brought up this season, he could have been selected by any other team in this off-season’s Rule 5 Draft.

His first career hit came by way of a bunt single, during which Thompson registered a sprint speed of 30.1ft/second, the fifth highest home-to-first sprint speed in the Majors this season.

“That’s what I was blessed with, to be fast,” said Thompson when I asked how his speed affects the game.  “I try to bring it every time to the field.  I want to get good jumps and put myself in scoring position for my team.

The next day in his second game he stole the first two bases of his career. He is still searching for his first career homer, which should have come off of two-time Cy Young award winner and former American League MVP Justin Verlander in the 9th inning of a game vs the Astros.  

Although the ball cleared the wall, because it hit a fan and bounced back on the field it was ruled just a double after instant replay.

Thompson was rated as a three-star quarterback for the class of 2017 at McGill Toolen high school in Mobile, Alabama.

He held offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, and Tennessee before committing to Alabama prior to a senior year in which he threw for 3,173 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading McGill Toolen to the 7A state championship game along with current Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert.

“Marcus Mariotta was a guy I watched a lot of, but Cam Newton was my favorite player,” said Thompson.

“Playing quarterback helped me be a leader.  As the quarterback, you have to know everything, just like in baseball, if you play all three (outfield) positions  you have to know where to be.  It helps a lot on the competition side of things.”

Thompson’s bid at an every day spot in the lineup for the remainder of this season and into 2023 continues this week with a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics.

 

 

Aaron Judge vs. Shohei Ohtani | 3 Reasons Why Each Player Wins AL MVP

Aaron Judge vs. Shohei Ohtani | 3 Reasons Why Each Player Wins AL MVP

As the 2022 MLB season begins to head through its final quarter, the end-of-the-season awards are being discussed more and more.

One of the major awards, the AL MVP, has two players who each can make an argument on why the award should go to them. Those players are Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani.

Each player has three key reasons why they are deserving of the AL MVP.

Aaron Judge

1. His home run count

Judge has hit 45 home runs this year, and he is on pace for 67 home runs for the entire season according to Julia Elbaba of NBC Sports. That would be the third-most home runs in a season in MLB history. Especially in today’s game, where the home run ball is king over every else in the game, it does not matter what his other stats are, having the third-most home runs for a season very much will earn you the MVP.

2. He’s the best player on one of the best teams

One of the biggest edges he has over Ohtani is that the Yankees are a real threat to win it all. Plus, a majority of the wins are due to a big contribution from Judge. Whether it’s on social media or Sportscenter, there will be a highlight of Judge around once every other to every three games of him either hitting an absolute blast, or making a play on the by either flashing his leather or making a play with his arm.

3. He has been consistent throughout

Normally, any player who is hot and is on a record-setting pace for any stat eventually falls back down to earth. Judge’s home runs have been an exception. The most games he has gone without going yard this year has been seven games, and that was at the very beginning of the year, between his first and second one. With that being said, as every player tends to have a bad slump throughout the year, it really does not look like it’s going to be happening to Judge.

Shohei Ohtani

1. His duality

It does not matter what year it may be, but as long as he is healthy, Ohtani will always be in the MVP conversation due to his expendability. While pitchers are usually seen as automatic outs, not only is he not seen as that, but he is seen as a threat each and every time he walks up to the plate with his 25 home runs and 66 RBI. His averages are a bit down this year compared to his MVP season last year of .257/.372.592, as this season he is batting .256/.348/.499.

2. His pitching has been phenomenal

Ohtani has been an absolute force on the rubber. He has pitched better compared to his last season, as this year he only has a 2.66 ERA, which is exactly half a run better from the previous year. His record is not as impressive at 10-7, but a good chunk of that blame can go to his surrounding cast, as the entire team, from the front office to players, has been an absolute trainwreck. The team cannot get their act together for the eighth straight year.

3. He is keeping the team from completely sinking

While most people may see the Angels as being eliminated by being 10 games behind the last wild card spot, does not mean that’s exactly the case. It may be improbable, but it certainly is not impossible, as crazier things have happened. With Mike Trout having a career threatening injury, and Anthony Rendon being out for the year, if Ohtani somehow, someway can carry the team on his back and get past the biggest obstacle of his career, he is going to make it very tough for voters to simply give it to Judge, as completing this obstacle would be more impressive than any stat or record he may have achieved in 2021.