Title

America's Game? Major League Baseball's efforts to globalize the game have come at the expense of maintaining a moderate level of African-American interest in the game

Authors

Sam Gale

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2005

Abstract

Baseball has long been dubbed as America?s pastime. However, with the increase in the United States? global influence, baseball too has experienced a rapid growth in foreign popularity. Economically, for Major League Baseball, such an increase in foreign participation has led to an epic growth for the organization. But this globalization of the game has come at a steep social price as African-Americans? interest in the game, both as fans and as players, has quickly diminished to a level of near extinction. My research project aimed at studying why specifically African-American interest in baseball has fallen off dramatically in the last thirty years. Baseball was once an integral part of African-American culture with the Negro Leagues. Integration of the Major Leagues occurred in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first African-American to play in the MLB. Yet the event may have also triggered the decline of African-American interest in the game, as the Negro Leagues folded when MLB harvested their best players. Baseball also began to move away from the African-American inner city and into white suburbia. Additionally, the NBA and the NFL revamped their images and appealed strongly to the African-American community, thereby taking potential African-American baseball players away from the game. Ultimately, African-American interest in the game will continue to dwindle until MLB steps up its interest in a neglected part of the American community and rectifies the issues alienating African-Americans away from America?s game

Advisor

Doug Smith

Department

american_studies

Support

Ford Research Endowment

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