Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke claims Major League Baseball has a plan to phase out African-American players and replace them with black Hispanic players.
April means Major League Baseball's opening day, which gets me thinking about the media firestorm Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter ignited last month when he called players from the Dominican Republic "imposters." This reflected his opinion that dark-skinned Latin American major leaguers shouldn't be counted as blacks. He's right.
For quite some time, Major League Baseball has disenfranchised African-American kids. The scouts and owners have gone out and found players who look black, but to whom they can pay less money. Major League Baseball adopted this sweatshop mentality by targeting countries like the Dominican Republic, where players don't have a chance of being drafted or getting a scholarship right out of high school. A baseball team has to pay much more money to the African-American kid coming out of college than a kid from Santo Domingo or Puerto Plata. A former pro baseball player who is now a minor league coach told me all about the farm system in Latin American countries. The Dominicans often accept being shipped to minor league farm systems where they have to sleep dormitory-style, 100 to a room. In Mexico, minor league players have to play games all day and all night. Sometimes a game doesn't start till midnight. And every Major League Baseball team has people on the ground scouting for talent.
How do the Florida Marlins manage to field a competitive team and keep the payroll low? Because the club has one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball. They can get top-of-the-line Dominican players at a bargain price.
What Major League Baseball needs to do is reintroduce the sport to African-American children. Let's not forget the Negro Baseball League played a very important part of African-American people's history. I played it as a kid at Flamingo Park in Miami Beach. When I started the Liberty City Optimist Club, we had the kids playing baseball before football. In fact, the club is one of the oldest African-American Little League teams in Florida. You would think the Marlins would do their research and support a program like that, but they don't.
Even at the high school level, there is no effort to generate interest in baseball among teenage black boys. The owners need to put the resources in the inner cities because baseball is a beautiful sport.
But that is not in the plans. The plan is to eliminate black Americans and replace them with Dominicans.