Chris Rock Isn't Really a Baseball Fan - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Chris Rock Isn’t Really a Baseball Fan

I listened to Chris Rock’s rant against baseball from HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and I must say that he doesn’t have a clue to what he’s talking about. (WARNING: Video embedded probably NSFW).

Rock discusses the decline of African-American participation in Major League Baseball which has dropped by about two-thirds over the past four decades. He argues that baseball is losing black people because it isn’t hip or cool enough.

So what does Rock consider to be unhip and uncool? Its emphasis on history (“old fashioned, stuck in the past”), “white haired announcers”, the construction of new old fashioned ballparks (what he calls “fake, antique stadiums”). Rock argues that “black people don’t like being reminded of the past” and going back to the days of “Ruth, DiMaggio and Emmett Till.”

Is Rock telling us that the presence of Camden Yards evokes slavery? Would he prefer the 1970’s concrete, multi-purpose stadiums with Astroturf which cut years of players’ careers? Stating black people don’t like being reminded of history comes across as extraordinarily condescending and presumptuous. Surely Rock isn’t suggesting that repeated viewings of Ken Burns’ Baseball result in cross burnings? Would he prefer that MLB not observe Jackie Robinson Day?

Rock complains that 5 out of 6 people who watch baseball are white. “That’s not an audience. That’s a Tea Party rally.” Well, good to know that Rock judges people by the color of their skin. I don’t think Rock is paying close enough attention. He complained that neither the San Francisco Giants nor the St. Louis Cardinals featured a single black player on their roster. I guess Rock only watched the NLCS and not the ALCS between the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals. The Orioles feature players like Adam Jones and Delmon Young while the Royals offer Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson. Indeed, the Royals’ propensity towards stolen bases added spark to the post-season. Dyson’s mantra “That’s what speed do” became the theme of the 2014 post-season. But I guess that isn’t hip enough for Rock.

He would probably argue that there is an average of only two black players per MLB roster joking that they would have to listen to Blake Shelton to keep from getting beat up by their white teammates. If Rock went inside the Boston Red Sox clubhouse he would probably hear mostly Latin music and hip-hop with the presence of “Big Papi” David Ortiz, ex-Giant Pablo Sandoval, ex-Dodger Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, relievers Edward Mujica and Anthony Varvaro with Cuban prospects Rusney Castillo and Yoan Moncada soon to be called up. I don’t think there’s a lot of Blake Shelton being played in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Rock objects to the fact there isn’t enough celebration in baseball after a homerun and decries brush back pitches. I hate to break it to Rock, but that’s been happening in baseball for a long time. He might want to spend time with Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson who would throw at you if you said good morning to him. Indeed, while delivering the eulogy at Ernie Banks’ funeral in January, Hall of Famer Billy Williams recalled Banks telling Gibson around the batting cage one morning that Williams was going to take him deep. A horrified Williams told Banks, “Don’t say that!” Although Gibson is nearly 80, if he finds out what Rock is saying about baseball he would invite Rock into the batter’s box and knock him on his ass.

As for “white haired announcers” had he watched the World Series he might have noticed Harold Reynolds in the broadcast booth providing color commentary. Yes, I said color commentary.

Rock laments that participation in Little League is down 20% since 1995. I’m not sure where Rock gets that particular piece of information. Rock ignores MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) initiative. The RBI initiative played no small part in last year’s Little League World Series. The Jackie Robinson West Little League team of Chicago, Illinois was the U.S. representative in the championship game. (Unfortunately, it would be stripped of its title back in February because they used players from outside the area).

Rock complains about the lack of young black role models in baseball. So how can Rock not mention Mo’ne Davis? The 13-year old pitcher from Philadelphia became the star attraction of the tournament by becoming the first girl to throw a shutout in the 75-year history of the Little League World Series. Davis became the first Little League player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Based on what we saw in last year’s Little League World Series, I believe we will see a gradual increase in the number of black player in MLB over the next 10 to 15 years. That might not be quick enough for Chris Rock, but good things come to those who wait.

Frankly, I’m not sure why Chris Rock is unhappy. Rock says he complains because he’s a baseball fan, not because he’s a black man. He says he’s a New York Mets fan. Well, his team has won 10 games in a row. He should be ecstatic. He shouldn’t care what color the Mets players are and yet he does. Chris Rock is a man in a hurry and wants instant coffee, instant downloads and instant gratification. That isn’t the nature of baseball and a true baseball fan understands this fact. But it would seem that Rock rather hear Dr. Dre over the PA system than see Curtis Granderson go yard, Matt Harvey work on a shutout or watch Juan Lagares do his best impression of Willie Mays. As such I can only conclude that Chris Rock isn’t really a baseball fan.












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