Brian Ross: Is Major League Baseball Going Broke? Why American Needle Makes Sports Leagues Nervous –

Brian Ross: Is Major League Baseball Going Broke? Why American Needle Makes Sports Leagues Nervous –

Major League Baseball (MLB) appears to be hurting financially. The signs were there, or more correctly, not there, from the time that we landed at the airport in Indianapolis, site of this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings, which concluded on Thursday.

As I reported at the MAJOR BLOGS of Minor League News this week in “Indy MiLB/MLB Winter Meetings Goes Meeting Lite” gone were the huge airport banners welcoming Baseball’s big winter event to town. In their place? Rowdie, the mascot of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians holding up a white board with “Welcome to Indianapolis” scrawled on it…

…Diversity, preached throughout the Winter Meetings, is a fine idea. MLB needs to reconnect with the African American and Hispanic communities.

Most of all though, if the hide-bound powers-that-be want to expand their audience in a historic way that meets the new growth demographics for the sport in the minors, they need to bring women into the game of professional baseball. They are the growth market in the minors, and they can easily be the engine of prosperity for baseball.

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson proved that women can play the men’s game by pitching in the Negro Leagues in the 1950s and pitching well. Only Jackie Robinson’s implosion of the color line ended her career. Joan Joyce pitched a softball so fast that Ted Williams could not get a piece of it at several exhibition games.

The next Joan Joyce will be to women what Jackie Robinson was to African-Americans. The game has been sanitized and padded by multi-million dollar investments in arms and legs. There is nothing “unsafe” about the game for women playing alongside men…

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