White Sox

Micah Johnson: MLB has platform to reach African American youth

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Micah Johnson: MLB has platform to reach African American youth

CLEVELAND -- Micah Johnson thinks Major League Baseball has an audience with young African Americans, it just needs to reach them.

The White Sox second baseman is excited for the opportunity to start Wednesday on Jackie Robinson Day and to pay tribute to the legendary Brooklyn Dodger. But Johnson, who will bat ninth when the White Sox play the Cleveland Indians, is saddened by the decline in African American players, who only represent 7.8 percent of the players on Opening Day rosters. He hopes MLB takes advantage and better markets players like Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen and San Diego’s Tyson Ross, Justin Upton and Melvin Upton.

“It’s not like what it used to be,” Johnson said. “Basketball is kind of huge. … “Everybody knows who Steph Curry is and Kyrie Irving. Everybody knows who those guys are because they’re on TV all the time.

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“That’s what it really takes is to kind of put it in the face of the kids so they can see. You’ve got a guy like McCutchen, an MVP who has dreads … you can be yourself and still play baseball.”

Even though the day is intended to honor Robinson, as players throughout the league wear No. 42 jerseys, Johnson also believes it honors the late White Sox great Minnie Minoso. Same as Robinson, Minoso endured hardships because of his skin color and race. Johnson sees Minoso, who passed away in February, as a trailblazer for many of his Spanish-speaking teammates.

“He’s equally important,” Johnson said. “He set the stage for (Jose) Abreu and all these guys, the international game.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Johnson doesn’t expect baseball’s African American population to continue to decline. But he also thinks MLB, which has worked to create opportunities in the inner-city in several major markets across the United States, needs to continue its proactive efforts to draw more fans.

“Everything always has those phases,” Johnson said. “It’s going to take baseball to put the players to the forefront. Market the McCutchens, the Uptons, the Brantleys, Tyson Ross, Taijuan Walker, Dee Gordon, all these young faces to really put them out there so that kids can see them.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.