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Thursday, May 19, 2022
Home Sports MLB Hi MLB, how are the Negro leagues?

Hi MLB, how are the Negro leagues?





Late in 2020, the powers that be at Major League Baseball announced that they were going to officially recognize the Negro major leagues (henceforth just called the Negro leagues) as the major leagues everyone had known for years. This article is not about the can worms that MLB acts as if they are the arbitrators of baseball history. The focus of my writing today is rather on what came after MLB made its announcement.

It’s now more than a year since MLB made their announcement and where do we stand? Organizations like the American Baseball Research Association and Baseball Reference has the idea that the Negro leagues are big leagues. They built on the momentum caused by MLB’s announcement and worked to further integrate the Negro leagues, not only into their websites, but also into the structure of MLB history. This is a topic that is also a double-edged sword, as it does feel that in some ways it disinfects the fact that the Negro leagues did not exist with MLB, but because MLB said that players of color are not in their leagues are not allowed. Either way, I give credit to these organizations for doing their best to keep the ball rolling and further engage with fans on the idea that the Negro leagues are on the same level as the other MLB leagues.

Where is MLB though? What measures have they taken since their announcement to ensure the Negro leagues get their fair share of the historic spotlight? What has MLB done to better address the history of the Negro leagues with modern baseball fans? Did MLB really do anything other than make an announcement, send out some press releases, and then go on as if those actions relieved them of any responsibility for the Negro leagues that existed in the first place and be ignored?

We know the answer to every single one of those questions. MLB did very little after the announcement they made. They held their annual Negro Leagues rating evenings in various stadiums. Rob Manfred and the company occasionally threw a leg to the Negro Leagues baseball museum in Kansas City with a promotional spot, donation, press release, or other measure that was quickly and quickly moved past. When they were given the chance to really let the public know about the Negro Leagues, MLB said, “We finally gave them their recognition, except for the empty platitudes we offer from time to time, can we please continue?”

What’s most frustrating about this whole affair is that it does not have to be that way. Every MLB franchise can have Negro Leagues divisions in their team stores, on their websites, throughout their stadiums, and so on and so forth. MLB itself can bring out regular features on Negro Leagues players. They can do everything in their power to bring home the achievements of the Negro leagues. Above all, it would have been so easy for them to keep up with the statistics they decided to include and incorporate into every radio, TV and internet broadcast the changes to MLB history that occurred as a result of Negro Leagues players who are now kept on par with the standard MLB leagues. Heck, at this point I would be happy with the ability to go to my local MLB team shop and buy some Milwaukee Bears gear. How hard is it to remove some of the 7,000 different types of Milwaukee Brewers equipment that can be found in the store and some Bears jerseys, hats, shirts, posters, and what you have for the public? to see and hopefully buy?

It’s not hard, everyone knows that. You know it, I know it, MLB knows it. It was not difficult to keep the momentum going after MLB’s announcement about the Negro leagues. Websites like Baseball Reference and SABR have shown how easy it was to shift their focus even further to the Negro leagues after MLB announcement and retain an interest in what just happened. But not MLB, they could not be bothered. At the end of the day, their announcement that the Negro leagues are being recognized as major leagues was very hot air and another empty benchmark of an organization living on empty benchmarks. That’s how MLB has treated the Negro leagues for years now, you thought it was going to change just because MLB finally decided to rightfully recognize the Negro leagues as big leagues?












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