…Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Near where I work in Brooklyn is the building where Robinson signed his first contract with the team. He lived in East Flatbush near where I used to work. The one thing I am not is a baseball romantic, but the city tore down Ebbets Field with such casual disregard all those years ago.

One of the most perplexing phenomena in baseball in recent decades has been the steady decline of African-Americans into the game. Some have attributed the trend to the rise of football and basketball. Another factor people point to is how difficult it can be, for reasons of space, to play the game in the city; the game needs considerable more space than other sports. These reasons all have merit. Still, Orlando Hudson of the Padres puts his finger on probably the biggest cause. In general, MLB has always done a poor job reaching out to younger fans, regardless of their race or ethnic background. It’s one of the reasons the game is less culturally relevant than it used to be for many Americans.

(image/Fawcett Publications)