Lack of interest in youth baseball among blacks has a lot to do with money

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Yesterday, in that “Baseball is boring” post, I said as an aside that there were other, better reasons why kids are steering away from baseball than its no-fun culture. I will grant that, yes, there is likely some element of that involved, but there are probably more substantive reasons as well.

Economics is the one I’ve been hung up on for a few years now. The expense of youth baseball played at a high level initially. The fact that playing pickup baseball just isn’t the same as pickup basketball and that if you want to develop the skills you’ll need to turn scouts’ heads as a teenager, money matters. Andrew McCutchen said as much in a recent editorial. It’s been talked about for a long time and has spurred Major League Baseball’s recent “One Baseball” initiative.

This story from the News-Journal underscores that as well. The culture of baseball is given a mention way down the page, but first and foremost is this:

In Division I, FBS football programs are allowed to award 85 scholarships. Basketball teams are allowed 13 scholarships, for a roster of no more than 15 players. The maximum number of baseball scholarships is 11.7, for rosters of more than 30 players.

And because of budget constraints, many Division I baseball programs aren’t even able to offer 11.7 scholarships. So no college baseball player receives a “full ride.”

“I can go play football and get a full scholarship,” Delaware State University baseball coach J.P. Blandin said. “In baseball, a good scholarship offer is 50 percent. A lot of the big schools give 25 percent or 33 percent.”

That, and a mention of how playing basketball is, basically, free.

So, yes, culture matters to some degree. But like most things, it has an awful lot to do with money.

Mets place Noah Syndergaard on 10-day injured list with hamstring strain

Noah Syndergaard
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Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard has been placed on the 10-day injured list, the club announced Sunday. Syndergaard was removed from Saturday’s outing against the Cardinals after sustaining a bout of tightness in his right hamstring, which now appears to necessitate some time on the shelf.

It’s an unfortunate development for the 26-year-old, who has struggled to pitch to consistent results over his 2019 campaign so far. Through Saturday’s 8-7 win over St. Louis, he carries a 5-4 record in 15 starts with a 4.55 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 8.8 SO/9, and 2.0 fWAR across 95 innings. He pitched through six solid innings on Saturday, allowing five runs, two walks, and five strikeouts, but couldn’t stay to finish out the seventh and limped off the field after giving up a leadoff single to Yairo Muñoz.

For now, Syndergaard is expected to miss at least one start, though the Mets won’t be able to project a timetable for his return to the mound until he undergoes further evaluation. They also have yet to determine a suitable replacement in the rotation, and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo suggests that their internal options are currently limited to lefty reliever Seth Lugo, prospect Anthony Kay, and rookie Walker Lockett.