Sunday, April 1, 2007

It's A Pastime - - But Truly National?

I'm pretty happy that Monday is the beginning of Milwaukee Brewers baseball at Miller Park, and as the eternal ball park optimist, I'd say the team has its best chance in years for a winning, even playoff-contending season.

Which is due to better ownership, and a crop of better players coming into their own - - Bill Hall, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder and others.

There were years past in which the Brewers had few African-American players, and when they did, didn't nurture or feature them like some of their white teammates (the club's horrendous mishandling of Gary Sheffield comes to mind), so it's refreshing to see Black ballplayers here in leading, publicized roles.

The numbers of African-American ballplayers around the major leagues, however, are dismal, which is one shameful reason that baseball is vanishing as the entire country's pastime.

Bud Selig has had a mixed tenure as Commissioner: The new playoff format is good, but his slow-to-awareness-and-actions on drugs and testing was a minus.

He can ensure his place among great commissioners if he tackles baseball's lack of appeal among Black youth and a related problem: too-few African-American coaches, managers and front-office personnel.

That said, play ball.

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