Monday, February 25, 2008

Celebrating Diversity

MLB.com ran a feature story today about the number of African-American players on the Brewers roster. The article pointed out that four of the eight projected everyday starters in the field are black. It also noted that not only is top free agent signee Mike Cameron African-American, but so are Tony Gwynn Jr. who will likely cover for him during his suspension, and top Brewer prospects Lorenzo Cain, Brent Brewer, Darren Ford, and Jeremy Jeffres. It went on to praise Doug Melvin and Jack Zduriencik for this remarkable accomplishment in an environment where the percentage of African-American players has dropped 10.6% since 1995, and saw only two in the most recent World Series.

For the love of Pete... Can't we get to a point in society when we stop counting African-Americans? Can we?

Honestly, it never really stuck me that Mike Cameron was black until this article pointed it out. I mean, I know what Mike Cameron looks like, but the color of his skin had no more impact on my opinion of him as a baseball player than whether or not he had a beard. And I wish it wouldn't to anyone else. These pointless tallies of people of color are not pointing out racism or raising awareness of racism - they are racism. Prince Fielder, Bill Hall, Rickie Weeks, Mike Cameron, and Tony Gwynn are on the Brewers for the same reason that J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart are - they are very good baseball players (sorry, Jason Kendall). By coincidence, they happen to be black. That's all it is - coincidence. Nothing more, nothing less. It won't be until we stop making a big deal about things like this that we will truly have a colorblind society.

In the article Prince Fielder is quoted as saying:

"[I]t's not about skin color. It's about being a good player. If we keep saying that [African-American kids] aren't into baseball, then they're not going to be into it. If anybody keeps putting things in your mind, of course it's going to stick. I think we should be more positive. Let's not worry about who's not playing, and look at who is playing."
Amen, Prince.

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