*An L.A Focus report about baseball opening up to Blacks seems huge. Do Blacks even like baseball? Are Blacks really trying to play the game? Would young Blacks feel more inclined to, or excited about baseball if access to it were better? Not sure. But whatever the case, Major League Baseball (MLB) says they’re ready to let Blacks in. And maybe it’s not just talk because they say they want to shell out $150 Million towards making it work.
Over a 10 year period, MLB will improve their investment to get Black players. This sounds interesting.
Moving forward, MLB will start funding programs in 2023, according to sources. Particularly those designed to eliminate barriers for Black youth. If all goes well, an up surge of Blacks will have easier access to participate in the game at any level. And in that regard Major League Baseball pledged $150 Million to Players Alliance who joins forces with MLB on the mission.
Check out the pact between Players Alliance and Major League Baseball below.
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“Major League Baseball’s commitment to support the Players Alliance is a monumental turning point in the history of our game. [The commitment establishes] a pathway to progress for equity and access for the Black community,” former All-Star Curtis Granderson said.
Why does MLB want to do this? This sounds along the lines of news that slaves could really be free now back during the reconstruction. OK, maybe not that serious but you do get the drift, right? What gives? Are there new Blacks in official roles over at MLB?
Well, Granderson, a Black former baseball star is the new president at Players Alliance. But his organization is the grantee set to disperse the $150 Million and not the grantor. Still, is it possible that Granderson and Players Alliance influenced the move?
If that’s true, Granderson pulled some major strings (Pun intended). And of course the timing is right. Non-Blacks who were protested after George Floyd’s murders weren’t all kidding when they said they’re ready to help make change.
So about a Black person possibly heading up MLB? Wait. We’re getting waaay ahead of ourselves. Right now, the focus seems to be inclusion.
And that leads to the next point, Major league Baseball not only wants to make easier access to Black players they also want to open it up across the board.
Take a look at this:
“The relationship grew because we were united behind two really fundamental goals. First of all, we all wanted to see more young people of color playing our game,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “We want young people period playing the game, but particularly young people of color. Secondly, we all know that we need more diversity in our game. Not just on the field, but everywhere — front offices, Commissioners Office, everywhere. Those two goals continue to bring these two groups together.”
It’ll be interesting to see.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to expand our commitment to the Players Alliance, which will include joint efforts to strengthen our sport’s engagement with Black communities,” Manfred also said.
And so it’s a wrap, and a deal. Starting in 2023, MLB is providing $10 million annually. Plus the mission will earn an additional $5 million in matching contributions from Players Alliance fundraising.
Here’s a list detailing plans for how the money will get dispersed:
- Fund programs in support of Jackie Robinson Day
- Fund appreciation days for the Negro Leagues
- Fund Black participation in the business of baseball
- Fund programs to support baseball in city schools
- Fund programs designed to eliminate barriers to participation in the sport for Black youth
Additionally the partner organizations have said that educational grants, scholarships and additional community services to the Black community are also being incorporated into the program.
Sure sounds nice. Now, just imagine if the major tennis association (USTA) followed suit. Wouldn’t that be something? Kudos Major League Baseball; we see you.