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Fans go crazy with the shirt that Mookie Betts wore on the baseball field

Mookie Betts, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, may have made one of the most important comments in baseball in recent memory by simply donning a t-shirt.

Before the MLB All-Star Game began on Tuesday night, Betts donned an airbrushed shirt that stated, “We need more Black people at the ballpark” (July 19). The American League defeated the National League 3-2, and Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees won the MVP award. The game was played in Dodgers Stadium for the first time since 1980. Betts had attended the midseason classic six times in a row.

When the National League team took the field for batting practice prior to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, seemingly all players wore their white uniforms. However, Mookie Betts used the opportunity to advocate for more inclusion.

Betts paired his white uniform pants and white and gold Air Jordan shoes with a t-shirt that read, “We need more Black people at the stadium.” Betts was shown the design by Los Angeles Dodgers reporter Kirsten Watson and was moved to order the t-shirt.

Despite all the excitement surrounding the game itself, there were several references to African American contributions to the game including a tribute to both the late Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel, who celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday.

Betts’ jersey, which he wore during batting practice before the game and is made by the premium streetwear clothing brand Bricks & Wood A South Central Company, reignited a conversation about the declining appeal of professional baseball to African Americans.

Airbrushed in Dodger blue and white, the paint lay fresh on a black T-shirt as clothing designer Kacey Lynch whipped out his phone to snap photos of his new creation.

Click here to buy this shirt:

Mookie Betts With Message – We Need More Black People At The Stadium T-Shirt

Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts With Message – We Need More Black People At The Stadium T-Shirt

A week or so later, Los Angeles outfielder Mookie Betts would enter Dodger Stadium for MLB All-Star Game batting practice while sporting Lynch’s shirt, which said boldly: “We Need More Black People at the Stadium.” Betts would take swings and respond to questions while sporting Lynch’s shirt.

The decline in the number of Black Americans participating in baseball games

Over the past ten years, Major League Baseball executives have made an effort to increase the number of Black Americans who watch and participate in the sport through funding youth baseball initiatives. Despite the efforts, this season’s opening day rosters had 7.2 percent Black Americans, down from 7.6 percent the year before.

According to research by the Society for American Baseball Research, the percentage of Black baseball players in MLB fell from 18.7% in 1981 to 7.7% in 2019, according to Sports Illustrated’s report from 2020.

The decline also showed a general decline in Black interest in the sport among fans and young athletes, with many choosing basketball instead, which uses less space and only one piece of equipment—the ball—in a community. In addition, prominent professional sports leagues like the NFL and NBA have long attracted Black youngsters by promising them a direct route from their classrooms, playing fields, and courts to success. something that baseball has come under fire for not doing more frequently over the years.

Ironically, up until the end of the Negro League in 1960, baseball was the most popular sport among African Americans.

Betts’ statement on race in baseball comes as part of a trend of activism with him, though. During the 2018 World Series, when he played for the Boston Red Sox, he served food to the homeless outside of the Boston Public Library. He also won AL MVP that year.

He also took a knee in the same fashion as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Opening Day in 2020. In the 2021 season, he and his teammates boycotted a scheduled game against the San Francisco Giants in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. After that gesture, other MLB games were postponed.

“That tribute is probably the thing I will remember the most,” he said. “It was very special for me to be able to be on the mic.”

However, Betts seems to appreciate history. Also before the first pitch of the 92nd Midsummer Classic. Betts led the All-Stars in gathering around home plate to recognize and celebrate Rachel Robinson’s 100th birthday on Tuesday.

After the game, in which he had one RBI for his single appearance at the plate. Betts said that he has grown into speaking up more for Black participation in baseball.

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