A few days after comedian Chris Rock offered his take on baseball's decline in black and, by extension, youth culture on HBO's "Real Sports," White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas offered a response -- and how that decline can be reversed.
Thomas, who said he met Rock in the early 1990's, addressed the subject on Fox Sports 1's "America's Pregame" on Thursday.
"I think he hit the nail on the head," Thomas said. "I came into the league in 1990 and there were four or five black players on every team. And throughout the late 90's and early 2000's you saw it dwindle every year. Now, each team barely has one black player.
"It's very interesting. I think Chris hit it right, he's a very true baseball guy. ... He knows his baseball. This is a problem that needs to be addressed, especially where the economics are in baseball."
[MORE: Frank Thomas' Hall of Fame speech was years in the making]
So what's the solution?
"It's simple. Major League Baseball has gotta take initiative and put academies in the inner cities across America," Thomas said, adding that there are plenty of former black players who could head up these academies. "We're doing it in the Dominican Republic, we're doing it in Venezuela, as soon as Cuba opens they're going to do it in Cuba because these kids play baseball 24/7. If we get something in the inner city that the kids don't have to pay for cleats, baseballs, bats, the black kids -- we will play."
When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.
That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.
Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.
One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.
Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.
Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.
This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).
The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.
Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski comes on the podcast and tells Chuck Garfien why he’d sign Nolan Arenado over Manny Machado (6:15).
Pierzynski criticizes Machado for saying that he doesn’t play hard everyday (7:08). Would he make Machado the face of the White Sox franchise? (12:30)
He also talks about how bullpenning cost the Milwaukee Brewers a spot in the World Series (14:45).
He reveals the former White Sox player who had a gift for recognizing players who tipped their pitches (21:00). Pierzynski tells behind the scenes stories about former teammates Nick Swisher, Bartolo Colon, Gavin Floyd and more (28:00).
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
White Sox Talk Podcast