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A Turning Point panel discussion: Racial disparities in baseball

This panel, hosted by Chris Webb and three urban league owners, was about some of the issues baseball faces.
Credit: Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association
OHSBCA recently announced its 2014 academic all-state team.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from Tuesday's panel.

The Tokyo Olympics are just days away, and baseball is one of the sports that will be played during these summer games. 

In just about every year since 1981, the number of African American players in Major League Baseball has fallen. The racial disparities in baseball in America are felt from little leagues, to high school, all the way up to the major leagues.

3News Contributor Chris Webb hosted a digital pane on Tuesday, featuring local urban league owners Wendell Fields of Bbuzz Baseball, as well as Dave Ramnarine and Marcus Morrison, both of the Inner City Baseball Academy of Greater Cleveland. DJ Anderson, a recent high school graduate and baseball player from Cleveland, also joined the panel discussion. 

The group discussed the financial roadblocks, social barriers and the skills that are needed to reintroduce America's greatest past time, baseball, to today's Black community.

Cleveland has a rich history of baseball in the Black community, but a gap still remains between generations that haven't yet picked up an interest in playing the sport.

"It was a sense of pride in the Black community," Ramnarine said of baseball when he was a kid.

The panelists said that one of the biggest hurdles facing inner city kids who want to play baseball is a financial one. Families can't necessarily afford to buy them the equipment they need to play.

"We want to cover the cost of uniforms, we want to cover the cost of equipment. We want to teach the game and all it entails," Fields said of his organization, Bbuzz Baseball. "We want to build the little leagues up...so they can get the skills."

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These inner city organizations also help parents get skills they may need to coach their kids' teams.

"Some fathers, they want to be there, they just don't know how to run a practice," said Morrison.

"What you're excited about as a father, you pass on to your child. If you like baseball, you're going to pass it on to your child," said Ramnarine.

Anderson, a recent high school graduate, credits organizations like these to his success. He says he will head to Georgia later this year to participate in a post-graduate baseball program. He credits moving to Twinsburg and gaining access to facilities, equipment and other kids that share his passion for baseball for how far he's gotten in the sport.

If you want to get involved in either of the organizations featured on Tuesday's panel, you can find them online at innercitybaseball.com and bbuzzbaseball.org, where registration for players and coaches is open for the 2022 season.

Be sure to turn in to the next edition of "A Turning Point," live on WKYC Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m.

You can watch Tuesday's A Turning Point panel on racial disparities in baseball in the player below:

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