Regal Radio co-founder Sean Terry hosts The Varsity Show on Thursday’s at 9 pm central time with fellow co-founder Joe Tanksley. Terry boasts decades of baseball experience, including a stint working within the Los Angeles Dodgers’ scouting department.
By Sean Terry, Regal Radio
It’s been well-documented that African-Americans no longer get down on the diamond as we did in years past. By and large, today’s inner city parks no longer are the breeding grounds for raw baseball talent playing self-directed pick-up games with grass-stained X strikeout rules, free-lance bases, and walk off shots.
Shaped in the mold and culture of the black style of play and stemming from its Negro League roots, previous generations of black baseball players have been some of the most charismatic and intriguing players Major League Baseball has seen. Many of these players displayed the rawest 5-tool skill sets – hitting for power, hitting for average, speed, throwing ability and defense – ever seen in the game.
The slow build up, the anticipation, the focus, the start and stop; then the crack, the pop, the fast-twitch muscle explosion and it’s on… bang…bang. Pure electricity that makes me think of the likes of Rickey Henderson, Devon White, Eric Davis, Darryl Strawberry, Andre Dawson and many more…
Along the way, the appeal of the game has been seemed to be lost for the African American race, the best athletes in our community no longer have the passion for the game nor developed themselves in it to a point where they can seriously consider playing baseball, tihs despite all the pluses to playing the game professionally.
Baseball is the sport where players have the opportunity to make the most money in an uncapped league, the sport where severe injuries are much less common place than they are in football and basketball. There’s a missing link in this equation but it relates to the black experience in America… give us lemons and we’ll make lemonade.
Out of this grim reality, up like two hands connected by the index and thumb, pops the Roc Nation and its sports division. Hip-Hop mogul and Brooklynite Jay-Z, almost coinciding with the blockbuster release of Jackie Robinson’s modern big screen biopic, 42, (which has relied on Jay’s music heavily in its marketing), remixed the Roc in a new image: as a new athlete-brand management and representation powerhouse. Along with inking New York Giants wide out Victor Cruz, Roc Nation Sports has made many headlines by signing Yankees top talent Robinson Cano.
The current Robinson is indeed named after the color-line basher, he too is a man of color, and one of the most dynamic players in baseball today. Can the combination of MVP-caliber Cano and the Roc-Nation swagger – so in tune with what’s popular in black culture, headed by one of Hip-Hop’s true titans – reactivate the lure and appeal of baseball to today’s African-American youth?
Time will tell, but the makings are there. How about a few Hip-Hop influenced baseball commercials directed by Spike Lee? Featuring Jay-Z in full Roc Nation “gold is back” regalia, arms crossed in his typical b-boy/boss pose. Just ahead, Cano is tattooing line drives in a park – towering shots with the Brooklyn bridge at the background – a slick yet gritty look.
Turning on the right channel, a youngster who’s never thought to pick up a Louisville Slugger may have his attention held for a quick half a minute and suddenly there’s some interest stimulated – look at these guys, and look at that big black bat connecting with that little white ball.