Professional baseball has changed and looks to continuously change with “ANALYTICS.”
In fact, It’s gotten so bad that Black Ace C.C. Sabathia has just come out and said what we all know: “Black baseball players are forced to play baseball the White way.”
From the defensive shifts to the devaluing of athleticism and other aspects of the game like stolen bases and bunts. The authenticity of the game is dying and giving way to a data-infested robot show with a focus on home runs, spin rates from pitchers and hitters’ exit velocity.
All of these things have altered the way the game is played, managed and consumed. The most glaring way that baseball has changed is in the complexion of the guys who play the game.
Watch any major league game and you’ll quickly notice the lack of MLBbros. It’s exactly why we started MLBbro.com.
Analytics Is The Op
Being forced to play and manage under a new metrics-obsessed and often talent-oppressing culture has contributed to the decline of African-Americans in the sport.
In fact only 7% of the players on Opening Day rosters this season were African-American, down substantially from a high of 18.7% in 1981, according to the Society of American Baseball Research.
That’s pretty sad in a country where Black people currently make up 13.4% of the population according to U.S Census Bureau stats and Black and Brown players dominate MLB’s All-Time record books, leaving no misconceptions about their impact on the game’s history.
Playing a sport that’s predominantly white like baseball means that there are a multitude of factors Black and brown players will always have to contend with, that have absolutely nothing to do with their on-field ability.
Power In Numbers
Yankees legend C.C. Sabathia recalls himself reeling during the summer of 2016, much like the rest of us, following the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
That was just the latest in a long string of Black Americans dying at the hands of officers.
But instead of finding comfort in his teammates, he was met with a stereotypical response: “Why don’t they just obey?”
An Excerpt from “Till The End”, a new autobiography of pitcher CC Sabathia, addresses the pressures Black players face to play baseball “the white way.”
When you see a lack of Black players who are willing to speaking out about social issues, systemic problems and police brutality, it’s because of the lack of diversity. There are just not enough Black players for one to feel comfortable enough to take a stand — unlike the NBA or NFL where there’s strength in numbers.
Ex-A's catcher Bruce Maxwell, who took a knee during the national anthem, can't find work,… https://t.co/ueIprwA3aK
Sabathia says there were times in Cleveland where he was the only Black player on the entire roster. The Yankees only had four or five Black players at most, on its 24-man roster each season during most of C.C.’s tenure in the Bronx.
“That’s a lonely place to be at any point in your career, but especially if you’re a younger guy trying to prove yourself in the game. You want to hold onto your job and you want to feel like you’re part of the team, not an outcast, not an angry Black guy,” Sabathia lamented.
”And you want fans to love you. LeBron is probably the only athlete who is so good that as soon as he’s back on the court everyone forgets what he just tweeted about social injustice.
But the rest of us would hear about it from the fans and media. You can play baseball for a long time, have a lot of fun, and make a lot of money. But right now this sport isn’t for us, and we know that. And if the game doesn’t change, it’s going to be in trouble, and not just with Black people.”
It’s Bigger Than Baseball
Sabathia recalls spending fifteen minutes in a Boston Louis Vuitton store without one sales associate even acknowledging him, and it wasn’t because they were archrival Boston Red Sox fans either. And how about Willie Mays arguably the greatest player ever, not being able to purchase a home in the wealthiest San Francisco areas when he played for the Giants in the 50’s and 60’s.
Not much has changed as far as how Black players are treated.
This country has always done a really good job of reminding you that even if you’re rich and famous, many people still consider you less than when you’re Black.
Black baseball players should be free to express themselves comfortably and exist within their culture. The thought that players of color have to be fearful of being authentic is just one of the systemic ills that have made baseball a sport that’s not easily digestible for Blacks.
Until MLB has more Black ownership, leadership in the dugout and in the front office, Black players will continue to be forced into an analytics box where their potential is stripped from them as they attempt to fit a certain number or personality mold created by a person who could never understand the depth of their genius.
CC Sabathia retired from baseball in 2019 after a successful career. Ever since he’s retired from the league, he’s been putting in work and transforming his body.
Sabathia certainly doesn’t look how he did when he was playing. Our MLBbro is out here looking like a bodybuilder and he looks like he can still dominate on the mound.
Though Sabathia had success throughout his career, his weight was something he struggled with.
“My tagline as a baseball player was mass equals gas,” Sabathia said in an episode of Men’s Health’s Eat Like. “And I always thought the bigger I was, the better I pitched. And that was always the case for me.”
At one point during his career, he weighed over 300 pounds. 342 pounds to be exact.
But if you saw a recent picture of him and didn’t know who he was, you would never think he weighed that much.
It’s a process and a consistent routine that Sabathia sticks to daily. And it’s not all about working out, he’s eating healthier as well which is a good balance to have.
As you can see, his hard work is definitely paying off.
According to a Yahoo.com article, Sabathia wakes up around 6:30 a.m. to eat breakfast and then heads to the gym to work out with his trainer.
That is something Sabathia does six days a week and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Sabathia had a health scare towards the end of his career and that prompted a change to his health.
It was in 2018 when he was doing a training session with his trainer.
“I was in there working out, and he was like bro, you’re white,” Sabathia told Menshealth.com. “You need to go get checked out.”
When he went to the hospital, he ended up needing a stent because of a 90 percent blockage in an artery to his heart.
That will wake somebody up for sure and open their eyes to see that a change needs to be made.
Sabathia wasted no time and after he retired, he got to work.
The lefty had an exceptional career on the mound. He played 19 seasons in the league and during that time he won a World Series title and won an AL Cy Young award.
Not to mention he was a six-time All-Star and led the league in wins twice.
He finished his career with 251 wins and 3,093 strikeouts.
Those are some impressive accomplishments and numbers right there and he was doing that weighing close to 300 pounds.
Just think, if Sabathia had the body he has now and was in the league, he could have been even more dominant.
But he still was able to make a name for himself and establish himself as one of the most dominant pitchers to ever take the mound.
It won’t be too long until his name will be called in Cooperstown. But until then you might want to follow his journey because the transformation he has made is a sight to see.
Through the first month and a half of the Major League Baseball season, Cardinals’ pitcher Jack Flaherty is on his way to joining one of the rarest fraternities in baseball: Black Aces.
The title of ace is given to a very select few in the game of baseball. It comes with high expectations. When an ace is on the mound, it is win day; period. They stem the tide and stop losing streaks while also being able to be called on to perform in the biggest moments of the season and take down the best hitter on the planet.
The Black pitcher, in general, is a rare sight to see in our game. We see many of our MLB Bros showcase their athleticism while roaming in the outfield and even more recently have seen them anchoring defenses throughout the infield, most notably Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford.
The term “Black Aces” derived from a book, “Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty Game Winners” written by former pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who was the first 20-game winner in the American League when he did it for the Minnesota Twins in 1965.
To qualify for the fraternity of Black Aces, you must win 20 games in a season. Looking at the current landscape of the game, there is one pitcher who looks like he will be on his way to having his own Probate this season, and it’s Flaherty.
The former 34th overall pick in the 2014 draft currently sits alone on the top of the throne for the Major League lead in wins. His record stands undefeated at 7-0 this season with a 2.47 ERA. He recently became the first Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1965 to record a win in seven of his first eight games while having an ERA under three.
Flaherty will be compared to the late Gibson – who passed away last year at the age of 84 to cancer – throughout his entire career.
Gibson pitched for the Cardinals during his entire 17-year career and is one of the original Black Aces in the game of baseball. He recorded five 20 win seasons during his time in St. Louis, which is second most all-time only trailing Ferguson Jenkins who had seven such seasons.
Flaherty is trying to be the newest member of the Black Ace fraternity since David Price joined the group in 2012.
Recently retired future Hall of Famer C.C. Sabathia joined the group in 2010 and former pitcher Dontrelle Willis did so as well in 2005. Before then, the feat had not been reached since 1990 when it was accomplished by Dave Stewart who remarkably completed four straight 20 win seasons from 1987-1990.
Early this year, Sabathia presented Price with a custom sweatshirt and joggers. The logo has an Ace of spade between the two C’s with a B hovering over the Ace of Spade.
The numbers Flaherty is putting up this season have put him in the category of potential starters for the National League All-Star team in Colorado this summer, which won’t be easy in a National League that has the best pitcher in baseball – Mets’ Jacob Degrom – and the Padres’ Yu Darvish who has one of the deepest bags of pitches and the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff whose strikeout-to-walk ratio is incredible. Hence, winning and continued quality starts will be key for Flaherty to give himself the starting nod.
After a shaky start on Opening Day, Flaherty has responded with a 1.47 ERA in his last 43 innings pitched. He has only allowed one home run in the past seven games and has currently registered six quality starts in a row.
He is yet to walk more than two batters in a start this year and in his last four starts, he has at least six strikeouts. Also this year, he joined the “Pitchers Who Rake” club when he hit his first career home run while pitching seven scoreless innings against the Rockies earlier in May.
The Black Ace Fraternity is ready to welcome Flaherty with open arms. He is closing in on the halfway point to be allowed in the club, and there’s a possibility that he’ll break past the bouncer before seasons end.
His next chance to start comes today as he will be on the mound in front of the St. Louis faithful taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last time he faced them, he notched a season-high nine strikeouts on May 1st.
Amber Sabathia has been making power moves alongside the greatest Black pitcher of our generation for the last 20 years. Now, she’ll get a chance to shine on her own after joining the Creative Artists Agency as a baseball agent.
Throughout their 19-year marriage, Amber has been a major part of CC’s Hall of fame career, including helping to run the many foundations he was involved in throughout his career. On Tuesday morning, she announced on her Twitter page that she would be joining the CAA sports team as a baseball agent.
I’ve dedicated my whole life to the game of baseball. Nobody has been more supportive and influential than @ambersabathia. So proud of this next chapter for you. If you need me, I’ll be in full-time dad mode on the golf course with some Js on ???♂️. She’s built for this!! pic.twitter.com/kqYMDB0FXh
They have four children together, and On Tuesday morning, she announced on her Twitter page that she would be joining the CAA Sports team.
The CAA baseball organization has more than 200 clients. The roster of talent includes three MVPs, four Cy Young award winners, seven Rookie-of-the-Year award winners, 25 Silver Sluggers and 22 Gold Gloves.
Since its inception, the division has totaled around $4.1 billion worth of contracts. Some of their clients include two-way player Shohei Ohtani, Jack Flaherty, Marcell Ozuna and Hunter Greene, who is one of the top prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Amber is the cofounder of PitCCh in Foundation which is an organization that works to improve the lives of kids in the inner cities. It was reported that she interviewed with four other agencies before deciding to join the CAA.
Black Ace CC is known as an OG throughout the league, and his wife is one as well as she has been at his side for the last 20 years. To go along with having 251 career wins and 3,093 strikeouts, he is the current Vice President of the Players Alliance, which is in its second year.
Post-retirement, CC talks all-things-baseball, and occasionally other sports, on his podcast, R2C2 with co-host, Ryan Ruocco. He’s also made a few appearances on MLB Network, breaking down live games.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to the game of baseball. Nobody has been more supportive and influential than Amber. So proud of this next chapter for you. If you need me, I’ll be in full-time dad mode on the golf course with some Jordans on, she’s built for this!” said CC on his Twitter page.
There’s also another member of the Sabathia family who needs a shoutout from the Bro’s.
Yesterday Amber posted a video of Carsten, one of their four children, who went 2-4 in a win for Bergen Catholic High School, while making plays with the glove along with his bat. Looks like mom has a future client in the wings.
We at MLB Bro congratulate Amber Sabathia on her new role and wish her nothing but the best! It is important to get more black women involved in baseball and she will be a big part in representing them.