Dusty Baker
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Dusty Baker frustrated by ‘dwindling’ number of black baseball players

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Today is Jackie Robinson Day, commemorating the day in 1947 in which the former Dodgers second baseman broke baseball’s color barrier. His number, 42, has been retired throughout the league in 1997, though Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was allowed to continue wearing the number as he was grandfathered in. In the time since, players have begun all wearing the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.

Sadly, the percentage of black players in baseball has been on the decline. 7.7 percent of players on Opening Day rosters last year were black. According to SABR, black players haven’t been above 10 percent since 2004. They peaked at 18.7 percent in 1981.

Astros manager Dusty Baker is one of only two black managers in baseball along with the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts. Baker finds the lack of black players in the sport “frustrating,” Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press reports.

Baker said, “Hopefully in this decade and the next decade there will be more guys that get a chance. All they need is a chance. A lot of guys have been bypassed and overlooked.”

The issue is extremely complex and there are myriad factors for the lack of black players in baseball: political, social, and economic. Major League Baseball has, in recent years, made a concerted effort to reach out to a more diverse audience, but seeing that result in a player population change will likely take a while.

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.