At a time when Major League Baseball is seemingly doing everything it can to keep African-Americans off the Big League rosters, a group in Salt Lake, Utah is throwing its hat in the ring for a future franchise get . years. Remember that next time MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred mentions anything about diversity.
“I can’t believe what you’re saying because I can see what you’re doing.” — James Baldwin.
Based on recent reportsGail Miller and the Larry H. Miller Company – former owners of the Utah Jazz, who also owns the Los Angeles Angels Triple-A team, the Salt Lake Bees – they joined Nashville and Portland launching campaigns for an MLB expansion team. Although no one knows when the expansion may take place, Manfred told ESPN last year that he “would like to reach 32 teams”.
An expansion team in Nashville makes sense since the city is already home to the Titans and Predators. Portland’s MLB franchise also makes sense, as this would give Pacific Northwest two franchises as a Seattle Mariners they are currently the only representatives of professional baseball in the region.
But a Utah team is just another example of Major League Baseball’s intentional competition problem.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune – where I previously worked as an intern – census data indicates that only 1.5 percent of the state’s population identifies as black. Utah joins New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Wyoming as the only states with a black population of less than 2 percent.
On opening day, I wrote about how the start of the MLB season is an annual reminder how little Major League Baseball thinks of African Americansand the examples are there before us. THE 81 players were selected to last season’s All-Star Game, only five players were African-American born. Just 7.2 percent of players born African-American were on the Opening Day roster last season, down from 7.6 percent in 2021. For the first time in 63 years the Philadelphia Phillies did not have a single African-American player on their Opening Day roster. It was the World Series between the Phillies and the Houston Astros It was the first time since 1950 that no American-born black players had played in the Fall Classic. Astros manager Dusty Baker was the only black face on the field as he became one the third black manager to ever win it all.
“Frustrating.” CC Sabathia, vice president of The Players Alliance and special assistant to Commissioner Rob Manfred, they said recently USA Today Sports. “I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m starting to see him digging and there’s some progress. It’s under the surface.”
This season’s numbers are already there and worse, as only 6.1 percent of the players on the Opening Day roster were black. according to USA Today Sports — the lowest percentage since 1955, when the league was 89.8 percent white. The report notes that five MLB teams have no black players on their rosters, while nine other teams have just one.
And if that wasn’t proof enough why Utah would be a terrible destination expansion, let’s not forget what happened BYU recently, or the fact that former jazz star Donovan Mitchell has spoken publicly about the state racist fans and how hard it was to be Black in that state – even as the face of a franchise.
“To be honest with you, I never really said that, but it was exhausting.” It just sapped my energy because you can’t sit in your room cheering me on and then do all these different things.” Mitchell He told Marc J. Spears on ESPN’s Andscape. “I’m not saying specifically for every fan, but I just feel like it was a lot of things. THE [Utah] state senator [Stuart Adams] saying I need to learn about my own black history. Seeing black kids being bullied because of the color of their skin. To see a little girl [Isabella Tichenor] hang yourself because they are harassing you.”
Over the years there have been many reasons why African American participation in baseball I felland MLB played a big role in this. The sport has become a hard sell for young African-American athletes. Imagine how much harder it would be to lure black players to a place like Utah. There’s a reason the Jazz have never made much of an impact in the NBA.