The “Bruin Approach” to Baseball’s Race Issue

The Bruin Approach:  Keep your mouth shut and let your actions do the talking.

Origin of the “Bruin Approach”: An old fraternity brother of mine (nicknamed Bruin) wasn’t particularly gifted in the art of  flirtation.  Instead of trying to flatter the opposite sex with words, Bruin kept his mouth shut and attracted women with his good looks and actions.  It is rumored that this approach was very successful…. Now onto a much more important matter.

The lack of African Americans in Major League Baseball is a popular topic in the media today.  If you haven’t heard, only 9.2 percent of Major League Baseball players are African American in 2010, as opposed to 27 percent in 1975.  Over the past few years,  some of the most popular African American players in the game have shown their disapproval for this statistic by issuing opinionated statements to the media.  My problem with this isn’t the fact that they are bringing attention to the issue, it’s the type of attention they are bringing to it.  Here are some examples:

Now, I can’t imagine that players like Hudson and Hunter would intentionally want to hurt the issue even more and give young African Americans another reason to choose football or basketball over baseball.  In my opinion,  however, they are doing just that.  What else could these statements be taken as?  When Sheffield, an eight time All Star, calls one of the greatest managers for baseball’s most storied franchise biased; or when Hudson infers that older African American free agents have a harder time getting jobs; are they expecting to inspire their peers to pick up a bat and glove over a pig skin?  The negative implications surrounding these statements are exponentially increased by the fact that they are coming from the very people that young, aspiring African American baseball players look up to.   If the current African American players in the game want to increase the percentage of black players in baseball, they need to quit drawing harmful press to the issue and concentrate on activities that will have a positive influence on young black athletes…. or in other words…. use the Bruin Approach.  Initiatives such as Hudson’s “Around the Mound” program give young African Americans a reason to stay involved in baseball and instill a positive outlook on the game.  Hopefully, with a little less talk and a little more action, we will be seeing more players like Jason Heyward, Ryan Howard, Hudson, Hunter, and Sheffield in the years to come.

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