Stat-urday, April 7, 2017


Baseball is crazy with statistics, but the stats that are most interesting to me, are those related to people: demographics, attendance, community impact, etc. Fortunately, there are baseball stats on that, too! For the 2017 season, I will periodically highlight important social stats about baseball – on “Stat”-urdays!

Here’s an interesting take on the decline of Black players that was posted in 2014 by Business Insider. Do you agree with their conclusions?

Data through 2016 was recently posted by SABR

LGBT Nights at the Ballpark


zoom-1Just three weeks ago, Sean Conroy pitched a 3-hit shutout for the Sonoma Stompers (of the independent league Pacific Association Baseball Clubs). It was Conroy’s first start with the team since being signed right out of college in May. It also happened to be Pride Night at the Stompers.

Oh. And Conroy just so happens to be the first openly gay professional baseball player in the nation’s history.

The weird thing is, though, the media hasn’t really said much about it. There appears to have been one AP article that was picked up by a lot of news outlets, including ESPN.com. The Washington Times picked up the story, but not the New York Times ­– at least not fully. Buried at the bottom of an AP article summarizing the previous night’s games is a few sentences with the title, “Openly Gay Pitcher in the Minors.” The next day, the NYT printed another AP piece titled, “10 Things to Know for Today.” Listed between #6, “Trump Comments Rankle TV Networks,” and #8, “Bristol Palin Pregnant Again,” was “Who Made Diamond History.” And all it states is: “Baseball history is made in Northern California wine country when 23-year-old Sean Conroy, the sport’s first active professional player to come out as gay, pitches a shutout.”

In my research on diversity/heritage days and other observances at baseball stadiums this year, I’ve run across only a handful of LGBT pride events. However, the more digging I did, the more I realized that a lot of teams had such events, they just didn’t necessarily advertise them – often remaining completely silent and leaving the organizing and advertising up to partner organizations.

Of course, when the Oakland A’s announced they’d be holding their first-ever Pride Night on June 17 this year, some fans were not too happy about it. However, one player’s girlfriend took care of the problem by offering to buy people’s tickets. She blogged, “So, A’s fans; if attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME!” The tickets she purchased, she said, would be donated to the Bay Area LGBTQ youth center. She also set up a “Go Fund Me Page” to purchase more tickets for the community center. She and A’s ballplayer Sean Doolittle pledged to match the first $3,000 in donations.

Some teams have been holding LGBT pride events for years – such as the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants. Others are just starting to befriend this part of the community, such as the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays, both of whom held their first LGBT events this year.

Here’s the list of pride events I’ve found so far. The lack of information is astounding. As I learn more, I’ll post more on this issue.

~ baseballrebecca

Date Team Event
6/3 Detroit Pride Night
6/10 Atlanta LGBT Night
6/12 Red Sox Pride Night
6/12 Tampa Bay Pride Night
6/17 A’s Pride Night
6/17 Nationals Night Out (LGBT)
6/18 Mets LGBT Night
6/18 Nashville Night Out at the Ballpark
6/19 Dodgers LGBT Pride Night
6/23 Bridgeport Bluefish LGBTQ Community Night
6/26 Giants LGBT Night
6/30 Orioles LGBT Baseball Night Out
7/6 Staten Island Pride Night
7/16 Buffalo Out at the Ballpark
7/30 Phillies Gay Community Night
8/9 Columbus Pride Night
8/18 Reading LGBT/Reading
Pride Celebration
8/25 Toronto Play with Pride Night
8/29 White Sox Out at the Sox

Baseball’s Diversity and Heritage Days


viva250x250As I’ve noted before, baseball teams – especially Minor League Baseball – develop a variety of events to draw people to games. One category of such events is, as I’ve named it, is “Diversity/Heritage Days.” These days celebrate the diversity of the United States and the communities in which the teams operate.

I’m not sure what some of these events actually celebrate – such as “Redstoberfest” and “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day.” And, of course, teams need to be thoughtful and respectful in their approaches to these events. The Orem Owlz recently learned that lesson when their “Caucasian Night” promotion was widely criticized. In their apology, the team noted: “Our goal in this promotion, like any of our promotions, is to have fun and make fun of everyday normalcies. Our night was to include wonder bread on burgers with mayonnaise, clips from shows like Friends and Seinfeld and trying to solve the vertical leaping challenge. We understand, in light of recent tragic events, that our intentions have been misconstrued. For that, we sincerely apologize.”

Below I’ve collected the Diversity/Heritage Days for all MLB teams, plus the minor leagues that include teams for my Orioles and Nationals: the International League, Eastern League, Carolina League, and New York-Penn League. Also included are all of the independent leagues. The remaining dates are shown first, broken down by group. However, that doesn’t give you the full story, as we’ve already missed several dates, including Korean Heritage Night and Japanese Heritage Night at the San Francisco Giants.

Have fun celebrating your heritage and that of others!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Hispanic/Cinco de Mayo/Latino/Caribbean

Date Team Event
7/25 Royals Viva Los Reales
8/2 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
8/5 Hudson Valley Latin Heritage Night
8/8 Tigers 10th Annual Fiesta Tigres
8/11 White Sox Orgullo Sox Night
8/16 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
8/20 West Virginia Latin Heritage Night
8/21 Reds Fiesta Rojos
8/22 Marlins Dominican Heritage Night
8/26 New Britain Latino Heritage Day
8/28 Phillies Latino Family Celebration
8/30 Kansas City T-Bones Hispanic Heritage Day
8/30 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
9/5 Brooklyn Latin Music Night
9/10 Braves Hispanic Heritage Night
9/12 Giants Fiesta Gigantes
9/12 Mariners Salute to Latin American Beisbol Night
9/12 Rangers Hispanic Heritage Day
9/17 Bridgeport Bluefish Hispanic Heritage Night
9/17 Nationals Hispanic Heritage Day
9/20 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
9/26 Marlins Hispanic Heritage Day
10/2 White Sox Hispanic Heritage Night
10/3 Dbacks Hispanic Heritage Day
10/3 Dodgers La Gran Fiesta – Viva Los Dodgers

 

Black/African American Heritage/Tributes to the Negro Leagues and Players

7/18 Brewers Negro League Tribute Game
7/20 St. Paul Saints Larry Doby Night
8/2 Durham Negro League Night
10/2 Giants African American Heritage Day

 

Asian Heritage

8/21 A’s Filipino Heritiage Night
9/15 Giants Filipino Heritage Night
9/18 Giants Polynesian Heritage Night

Irish Heritage/St. Patrick’s Day

7/16 Brooklyn Irish Heritage Night
7/17 Binghamton Irish Night
7/20 Long Island Ducks Irish Night
7/22 Hudson Valley Irish – Organically Green Irish Night
7/23 Akron Irish Heritage Night
7/23 Trenton Irish Heritage Night
8/1 Williamsport Irish Heritage Night
8/8 Lakewood Irish Heritage Night
8/11 Giants Irish Heritage
8/25 Tri-City Irish Night
8/28 State Island Irish Heritage
8/28 West Virginia Irish Heritage
8/28 Staten Island Irish Heritage Night
9/2 Royals Irish Heritage
9/12 White Sox Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
9/17 Braves Halfway to St. Patricks Day
9/22 Tigers Irish Heritage

 

Italian Heritage

7/16 West Virginia Italian Heritage Night
7/17 Phillies Italian Heritage
7/31 Tri-City Italian Night
8/7 A’s Italian Heritage Night
8/16 Staten Island Italian Heritage
8/16 Staten Island Italian Heritage Night
8/20 Brooklyn Italian Heritage Night

 

German Heritage/Oktoberfest

8/1 Brooklyn Augtoberfest
8/14 Tri-City Oktoberfest
8/20 Akron German Heritage
8/27 Hudson Valley Augtoberfest
9/3 St. Paul Saints Oktoberfest
9/3 West Virginia Oktoberfest
9/4 A’s Oktoberfest
9/5 Reds Redstoberfest
9/30 Giants Oktoberfest
10/3 Mariners Oktoberfest
10/3 Rays Oktoberfest Freezer Mug

 

Polish Heritage


8/7
Toledo Polish Heritage Night
8/13 West Virginia Polish Heritage Night

 

Portuguese Heritage

9/22 A’s Portuguese Heritage Night

 Jewish Heritage

7/15 Staten Island Jewish Heritage
7/15 Staten Island Jewish Heritage Night
7/27 Giants Jewish Heritage
8/2 Brooklyn Jewish Heritage Day
8/19 Wilmington Jewish Heritage
8/23 Lowell Jewish Heritage
8/23 Lowell Jewish Heritage Day
8/25 Trenton Jewish Heritage Night
9/6 Marlins Jewish Heritage Day

 

Other Heritage Celebrations

7/28 Tri-City Mardi Gras
8/2 Tri-City Around the World in Nine Innings
8/16 Winnipeg Goldeyes Canada Day
8/25 Giants Indian Heritage Night
8/9 Tides All Ages Run the Bases

 

 

Events that already occurred

4/11 Marlins Puerto Rican Heritage Day
4/11 Braves Asian Heritage Night
4/11 Phillies Asian Pacific Heritage
4/16 Giants Irish Heritage
4/16 Nationals Black Heritage Day
4/17 Giants Korean Heritage
4/19 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
4/23 Keys Italian Heritage Night
4/24 Tigers Negro Leagues Weekend
4/26 Lakewood Jewish Heritage Night
5/3 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
5/5 New Britain Latino Heritage
5/5 Bridgeport Bluefish Cinco de Mayo
5/5 Syracuse Cinco de Mayo
5/5 Baysox Fiesta de La Familia/Cinco de Mayo
5/5 Angels Cinco de Mayo
5/5 Giants Cinco de Mayo
5/5 White Sox Cinco de Mayo
5/8 Richmond Hispanic Heritage Night
5/8 Giants Filipino Heritage Night
5/10 Tides All Ages Run the Bases
5/12 Phillies Jewish Heritage Celebration
5/13 Wilmington Greek Heritage
5/15 Phillies Irish Heritage
5/17 Charlotte Tribute to the Negro Leagues
5/17 Royals Salute to the Negro Leagues
5/19 Giants Japanese Heritage
5/22 Marlins Cuban Heritage Night
5/22 Tigers 45th Annual Polish-American Night
5/24 So. Maryland Hispanic Heritage Day
5/24 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
5/28 Giants Chinese Heritage Night
6/1 Keys Celtic Night
6/4 Camden Riversharks Irish Heritage
6/5 White Sox Italian Heritage Night
6/5 Phillies African American Heritage
6/7 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
6/7 New Hampshire Irish Heritage Day
6/7 White Sox Greek Heritage Night
6/8 White Sox Polish Heritage Night
6/9 A’s Korean Heritage Night
6/13 Marlins Venezuelan Heritage Day
6/15 Giants Portuguese Heritage
6/17 Wilmington Irish Heritage
6/17 Phillies Greek Heritage
6/19 Braves Heritage Weekend
6/20 Dbacks Native American Recognition Day
6/20 Baysox Tribute to the Negro Leagues
6/20 Braves Negro League Tribute
6/21 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
6/21 Camden Riversharks Jewish Heritage
6/23 Giants Italian Heritage
6/24 Marlins Caribbean Heritage Night
6/24 Giants Native American Heritage
6/29 Tides All Ages Run the Bases
7/1 Winnipeg Goldeyes B’Nai Brith
7/2 Winnipeg Goldeyes Ukrainian Celebration
7/5 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers
7/6 Syracuse Negro League Appreciation Day
7/8 Wilmington Italian Heritage
7/10 Lakewood Italian Heritage Night
7/12 Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers

 

#LikeAGirl


11666129_10152879019102026_6668280623557902845_nTonight is #LikeAGirl Night at the Lowell Spinners! Inspired by the 2015 Always Super Bowl ad, #LikeAGirl Night seeks to “continue the campaign by Always, changing the meaning of the phrase ‘like a girl.’” (See the ad below.) Bravo, Spinners!

Several teams have held “Girls Night Out” and “Ladies Night” events. However, some of these events haven’t been met with approval. This year, after criticism from ThinkProgress.org, the Washington Nationals apparently changed their promotional materials for Ladies Night from stating “there’s no crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of wine” to “there’s no crying in baseball, even if you spill your wine.” An improvement, but not much better. A similar event held by the Atlanta Braves in May included feather boas and charm bracelets. (Apparently we have learned little from the Houston Astros’ 2013 Ladies Night debacle.)

guys_cap_500x383Of course, not to leave anyone out, at least two teams have scheduled events just for guys. In fact, if you live on the West Coast, tonight is Guys Night Out at the Seattle Mariners, where you’re invited to “Make Safeco Field your man cave.” Included in the ticket price are your first drink (wine, beer, soda, or water) and a Seattle Mariners bottle opener cap.

At least a bottle opener is more useful than a boa.

Below is a list of gender-related events at ballparks this year, as well as that Super Bowl ad.

~ baseballrebecca

Date Team Event
4/24 Mariners Guys Night Out
5/1

5/2

Atlanta Braves

Camden Riversharks

Ladies Night

Girls in Sports Day

5/6 Boston Girls of Summer
5/8 Mariners Girls Night Out
6/5 Royals Girls Night Out
6/13 Brewers Brewed for Her Event (Girls’ Night Out)
6/18 Nationals Ladies Day
7/10 Lowell #LikeAGirl Night
7/10 Mariners Guys Night Out
7/23 Aberdeen Ladies Night
7/30 State College Guys Night Out
8/1 White Sox Ladies Night
8/6 Lakewood Ladies Night/Women’s Expo
8/7 Mariners Girls Night Out

The Super Bowl ad:

And the extended version:

Happy International Signing Day!


“World Map – Rainbow Bliss Baseball Square” by Andee Design, photo courtesy of FineArtAmerica.com

Last week, a 16-year old baseball player, Melissa Mayeux, made history by becoming the first female baseball player to be added to the MLB international registration list. This means that she could conceivably become the first female major leaguer. (Note that this all happened one day before the 43rd anniversary of the passage of Title IX, commonly known for providing equal opportunity for girls in sports.)

Today is the day that teams can start signing players on list. But first, what is the international registration list? New international signing rules were implemented in 2012 with the latest MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teams must follow this process in order to sign international amateurs. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:

“An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of next year if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1 of this year or by the completion of his first Minor League season. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.”

Ok, so that’s a little confusing. Basically, 16-year olds in countries not subject to the MLB draft (i.e., everywhere by the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico) become eligible to sign with MLB teams on July 2 every year as long as they registered with MLB by May 1. If you’re already 17, you don’t need to register.

But being registered doesn’t mean you will get signed. After Melissa was placed on the international registration list, The New York Daily News had an interesting article about how likely it was that she – or any woman – would sign with MLB any time soon. Even MLB.com’s Lindsay Berra says it’s not likely that Mayeux will sign with anyone.

Right now, Mayeux is at an MLB hitting camp in Germany where she’ll get hitting instruction from former Oriole (Diamondback, etc.) Steve Finley. Later this summer she’ll be at the European baseball championship in the Czech Republic, and then it’s on to MLB’s European Elite Camp in the Netherlands. One thing is for sure: it’s good to be 16!

For a continually updated list of the top international prospects and who is getting signed, go to Baseball America.com.

~ baseballrebecca

Chris Rock on Baseball


Baseball is the only game where there is a right
way to play: the white way.” ~ Chris Rock

One week after Jackie Robinson Day, HBO posted a video on YouTube of Chris Rock discussing the absence of Blacks in Major League Baseball. Rock is a baseball fan, and he has some legitimate concerns.  “Baseball is dying,” he says.

This is something MLB and the Baseball Sociologist have also focused on in recent years. Here are a few of the issues highlighted by Rock (the video is also posted below):

  • Baseball is old-fashioned.
  • The number of Black ball players has fallen from 20% a few decades ago to 8% today.
  • Announcers are old, white-haired white guys.
  • Baseball wants things to return to the way it used to be – from retro ballparks to organ music in the parks; this does not reflect the history and experiences of non-white fans.
  • In a speeded up world, baseball is slowing down.
  • There is an old-fashioned code: no celebrations allowed.

All of these things, Rock argues, do not reflect the interests and experiences of a large part of society. He sums it up: “Baseball is uncool. … you lose black America, you lose young America.”

So what are the solutions to this dilemma? I, for one, would like to start with his point about announcers. Let’s have Chris Rock and other celebrities (who are not old white-haired white guys) do the announcing some day. That would be pretty cool. And completely un-old-fashioned.

What are your suggestions?

~ baseballrebecca