Los Angeles Angels` African-American superstar center fielder Torii Hunter detonated the first of the 2010 baseball season`s field atomic bomb when he claimed that Dominican players are not really black.
According to Hunter, Dominicans are "impostors"
Here are Hunter`s exact words:
"`People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they`re African American. They`re not us. They`re impostors.
"`Even people I know come up and say, "Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?" I say, `Come on, he`s Dominican. He`s not black.`
"`As African-American players, we have a theory
that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us.
It`s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to
the Dominican or
"`I`m telling you, it`s sad. ` "[Hunter talks about race, Associated Press, March 11, 2010]
Hunter`s credentials spared him. As a three-time All-Star Hunter, 34, has won nine Gold Gloves and is a career.274 hitter with 235 home runs. His Torii Hunter Project assists children in athletics, education and overall wellness.
Nevertheless, Hunter`s remarks triggered a furious outcry from talk radio and the ESPN talking heads that centered mostly on what they perceived as his racism and unenlightened view of how blacks arrived in the West from Africa. [VDARE.com note: Black immigrant ballplayers from the Dominican or Venezuela are of African descent, but due to Spanish colonial slavery, not American. What Hunter means is that they aren`t part of the American black community—the people Abraham Lincoln freed, Martin Luther King defended, or Jackie Robinson desegregated. Of course, this is also true of the President of the United States. ]
Hunter`s main point, however, is the same one that I have been making on VDARE.COM for years: Major League Baseball largely ignores American players, both black and white, because it can sign foreign-born players for less money.
In 2006, for example, the
Chicago White Sox told its fans
The White Sox
subsequently cooled off on de los
What`s certain, though, is that during the four years since the Chicago signed de los Santos, neither the White Sox nor the A`s spent much time or money developing the local talent in its backyard.
It`s not as if there aren`t any prospects in
That gets back to the point Hunter tried, crudely and unsuccessfully, to make.
The debate isn`t about whether Guerrero is black or Dominican or a black Dominican. The argument is whether American kids, black and white, are ignored and therefore ultimately screwed by baseball owners and league officials.
On this point there is increasingly more agreement among impartial baseball observers that yes, they are.
Hunter`s comments came during a five-part series about how baseball can better itself hosted by USA Today and moderated by reporter Bob Nightengale.
Among the topics: improving umpiring, keeping the World Series from being played in November, eliminating drugs and reformatting the World Baseball Classic
But the day devoted to developing more American talent was the most important.
On last year`s opening-day rosters, baseball`s African-American population was only 8 percent, compared with 28 percent for foreign players. For concerned blacks like Hunter, the issue is at a crisis level.
But as Hunter also pointed out, as foreign-born players increase it is not only blacks who are displaced but also whites.
As more becomes known about the growing
shortage of American players, MLB points increasingly to its
RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) program which
has baseball academies in
Compton, CA. and Houston with additional sites approved for
But in truth, RBI is more about keeping kids—boys and girls—off the streets than it is about teaching baseball skills to real prospects.
Much more time and money is spent developing the foreign player market than the urban American market. Since 2004, baseball franchises have paid out nearly $250 million to international prospects.
The conclusion reached by the eight man USA Today panel is encouraging, however. Amazingly, it agrees with me that the emphasis on foreign player development is misplaced.
Two scouts (Chicago Cubs` Gary Hughes, Cincinnati Reds` "J" Hughes), two players LaTroy Hawkins and Hunter), the Reds` manager (Dusty Baker), an umpire (Steve Palermo) and an agent (Scott Boras) suggested: "Scaling back in foreign markets to increase investment at home."
I`d amend Boras` remark to read: "We will lose this game if the best American athletes are not playing baseball." .[Panel Part III: Efforts to develop black talent in USA insufficient, By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, March 9, 2010]
To non-sports fans, I remind you that my column is not just about baseball but also about American jobs.
Every visa that is issued to a foreign-born
player means that he will come to the
If, on the other hand an American kid signs a contract with a major league team his long-term job opportunities, in or outside of baseball, soar. Nothing beats an association with professional sports to enhance a resume.
A closing note: it`s very satisfying to see that the mainstream is finally catching up to VDARE.COM
I wrote my first column about greedy owners ignoring American baseball talent to beef up their bottom lines five years ago.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.