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.

Robert Gsellman diagnosed with partial lat tear

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SNY’s Andy Martino reports that Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman has been diagnosed with a partial lat tear. There is no timetable yet for his recovery, but it would seem likely he doesn’t pitch again this season.

Gsellman, 26, went on the injured list on Saturday (retroactive to August 14) with what was initially called right triceps tightness. Across 63 2/3 innings of relief for the Mets this season, the right-hander posted a 4.66 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 23 walks.

Losing Gsellman is a big deal for the Wild Card-hopeful Mets. While his ERA wasn’t anything incredible, he was a workhorse, accruing the most innings of anyone in the bullpen. With Gsellman out of the mix, the Mets will lean even more on Seth Lugo and Jeurys Familia behind struggling closer Edwin Díaz.