I think it's great that they took a request from Junior Griffey last year and have allowed it to blossom into allowing every player who wants to to wear #42 today as all of MLB pauses to honor Jackie Robinson. MLB.com: The percentage of African-Americans in baseball has been declining in recent years. What do you think are the contributing factors and what can baseball do to generate more African-American players and fans?
Jeter was interviewed on the subject and two of his responses are here:
Jeter: It's unfortunate. In some ways, I think other sports have done a great job marketing their games and I think baseball has taken steps forward in doing that the last couple of years. Then again, I also think that kids nowadays look at football players and basketball players in college, and then the next day you turn on your TV and they're in the NFL or the NBA. In baseball, there's the Minor Leagues and you've got to do all that. I think there's more attention paid to the other sports. Even the [MLB] Draft was only televised for the first time last year, so maybe that will help. But I think kids nowadays look at guys going from high school to the NFL or NBA and it looks like an easier route. Baseball can continue to market. They're doing some great things in the inner cities and RBI and those kinds of things. I think they just have to bring awareness to the sport, that's the biggest thing. They've got to get kids excited about playing baseball.
MLB.com: What would you say to Jackie if you could speak to him today?
Jeter: I probably wouldn't talk too much. I'd probably ask him about how he was able to deal with those things, how he was able to block things out. I think it'd be more off-the-field questions than on-the-field questions. Everybody could learn a lot from him if they listened.
Leave it to Jeter to say it the right way "everybody could learn a lot...if they listened." So true.
MLB.com: The percentage of African-Americans in baseball has been declining in recent years. What do you think are the contributing factors and what can baseball do to generate more African-American players and fans?