by Racialicious sports correspondent Luke Lee
The latest issue of Sports Illustrated features Cleveland Indians’ outfielder Grady Sizemore who is known for possibly being the best all-around young player in the game today and for his soon to be ownership of the Derek Jeter “most beautiful/popular man in baseball” crown (Seriously. The Indians sell “Mrs. Sizemore” t-shirts at the ballpark).
But anyways, to be honest I had no idea that he was multiracial Black and White like Mr. Jeter but it’s an interesting coincidence because as quiet and low-key as Sizemore is (the anti-Jeter, in that sense), one of his hopes is to “inspire other black athletes to play baseball.”
Unfortunately the article doesn’t dig deeper on that issue but it’s important nonetheless because it’s something that Black baseball players have been saying for years. Many even felt that the recent Jackie Robinson remembrance was a joke considering how little the MLB was doing today in terms of bringing baseball to Black communities in America while building academy after academy in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, to name a few.
But speaking of baseball academies in the DR, teams like the Indians and New York Mets have started to lead the charge in “social responsibility” (at least a little bit) in terms of providing potential recruits with a basic grade school education.
Don’t get your hopes up though, because the writer and even the New York and Cleveland brass are very honest in their intentions because this isn’t any sort of “look at the poor situation there, we’re just doing this without any ulterior motive!” kind of deal.
Rather, “It heightened our ability to understand and know the players we were evaluating, signing and developing…We wanted them to think analytically. Increasing aptitude is a competitive advantage.” admitted a Cleveland official.