It caused the servers to meltdown, but by moving yesterdayâ€™s chat with Harold Reynolds from the Yakcy sports social media site (see http://www.yakcy.com) to Yackyâ€™s Facebook page, Reynolds was able to get more than 140 characters out on questions.
One of the best exchanges involved a question from Ken Fang of the great Fangâ€™s Bites sports media blog, who asked Reynolds about getting more African-Americans back into Major League Baseball:
I think players understand there's a problem and yes, deep down it may be how they're thinking. The game has changed how guys get into the game...for lower income families. With all the travel squads and feeder systems into the draft, it's what scouts are in tune with. There's really only 10 teams that will go ahead and draft high school players and develop them and those are the teams that have higher percentage of minority players. The solution is we either have to figure out a way where scholarships for baseball have to be equal to the other sports in order draw the minority player or all the other Major League teams that have the philosophy of drafting college players need to change or adapt and look at and take chances with high school players. Baseball doesn't give full scholarships like other sports in college...it's difficult especially when it comes to the finances.
I followed up by asking about ascension of Michael Jordan which bolstered the NBAâ€™s popularity, as well as the NFL seeing quicker transition from college to the big leagues, Reynolds had this to say:
I think [MLB's] done a great job of marketing the game. I really believe it comes down to scholarships. When you're looking for ways to overcome economic situations, it comes down to scholarships. In most communities, the best athletes are playing all of the sports. I did it as a kid but I was given a scholarship to play baseball and if I hadn't gotten one, I would've played football. I just don't think that's there for these kids today.
The issue is complex, and kudos to Reynolds for bringing up the full-scholarship issue, a key pillar in the topic. Still a ways to go.
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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