by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
LOS ANGELES — Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts made a strong statement during a media zoom call, wanting the Black community to love baseball and voice his displeasure in MLB’s response regarding the George Floyd death at the hands of the police.
“I think baseball did not do a good job with that, but voices were heard,” Betts said. “That’s the main thing, that we get our voices heard to make some changes. I know it’s not all going to be at one time, but a little change here, a change there, we’ll eventually get to where we need to be.”
In the wake of protest from thousands across the country against social injustice, racism, and oppression, Betts utilized his platform responsibility to address issues concerning our community. With approximately seven percent Black American baseball players currently in MLB, the drought started in the inner cities of America decades ago.
Reviving baseball more in the Black communities is essential and a project that Betts intends to highlight and fix while playing the game he loves.
“Us, as Black people, don’t think it’s that much fun so we have to find a way to make it fun for the Black community and get more guys here.“
Both the Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have established an RBI program in Compton, California, but more has to be done by the players and getting the community involved.
“Obviously, MLB can help, but I think it’s on us, as in the Black players, and kind of make baseball cool because I think that’s where the disconnect is,” Betts said.
Beyond just more Black players ingratiate themselves on the diamond, there also is a need for more Black managers, and executives in baseball.
“To have people that look like you around you, sharing space, having those conversations daily certainly will move the needle ahead,” manager Dave Roberts said. “That’s my goal.”