MLB creates a task force to study the decline of U.S.-born blacks in baseball

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Even if we are taking the annual Lapchick study with a grain of salt due to its failure to use common denominators, Major League Baseball takes the underlying issue of the decline of U.S.-born blacks in baseball seriously enough that it’s doing something about it:

Major League Baseball has created a task force to study why the number of African-Americans playing the sport has declined in recent years, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The 17-member committee, which will be chaired by Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski, will hold its first meeting in Milwaukee on Wednesday. He’ll be joined by several other baseball executives, plus Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir; Frank Marcos, senior director of baseball’s scouting bureau; and former White Sox and Mets manager Jerry Manuel.

I wish baseball hadn’t made a mockery of task forces and studies with that whole Oakland thing, because I would like to think that this would lead to some actual useful and actionable information. Here’s hoping it does, because it would tickle me pink if baseball could figure out how to get more kids to put down the footballs and basketballs and pick up a bat and a glove.

The answer, at least in part, is probably money and engagement by people and organizations with money. Because we have to face facts that baseball is not a cheap sport to play on the amateur level, what with its single-use fields, travel and equipment requirements.  I know there are urban initiatives afoot by the league, but in addition to that I’d like to see something less charitable/community-involvement-oriented and something of something that is more ruthlessly talent-development-orients. A system in which teams try to identify and support young baseball talent in the U.S. with an idea toward making them major league ballplayers. The draft disincentivizes this, sadly, but perhaps there’s a workaround or league-wide solution.

Cubs place Brandon Morrow on disabled list with biceps inflammation

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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have placed closer Brandon Morrow on the 10-day disabled with inflammation in his right biceps. Manager Joe Maddon said he doesn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. He said, “Velocity was down last outing. I asked him about it after the game and could tell he was holding something back. Said it was just that time of year.”

Morrow, 33, has had an excellent season for the Cubs, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30 2/3 innings. The right-hander is under contract next year at $9 million and has a 2020 vesting option worth $12 million with a $3 million buyout.

Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop will likely handle save situations while Morrow is out.