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.”

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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.”

Governor Pritzker casts doubt on sports returning to Chicago anytime soon

Governor Pritzker casts doubt on sports returning to Chicago anytime soon

Governor J.B. Pritzker ​​​said Thursday that he does not see how large gatherings of people, like sporting events, can take place in Illinois before a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, which in his estimation is months away.

As the governor pointed out, that is tough for sports fans to hear, and it could point to games in empty stadiums being the only way for the Cubs and White Sox to play in Chicago this summer.

The agreement between Major League Baseball and the players' union outlined certain criteria that would need to happen for the 2020 season to resume, and those included no government edicts that would prevent teams from playing in their home ballparks, with a strong preference for games to happen with fans in the stands. Though there was a pretty important caveat that other options could be explored if that was impossible.

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Per reports from earlier this week, baseball is discussing a plan that would effectively quarantine the 30 teams in Arizona, and stage games at spring training stadiums and the regular season home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. That plan reportedly included a potential start date as early as next month.

While Governor Pritzker's comments might point to a poor chance that fans will get to watch games at Guaranteed Rate Field or Wrigley Field this summer, it remains uncertain whether conditions could improve enough to allow games to be played at those ballparks without fans present. Still, when taking into account the players, coaches, training staff, front office staff, stadium staff and those needed to broadcast the games on TV, even games without fans present would involve a lot of people in the same place, potentially creating health risks for those present.

Baseball's plan runs the risk of returning to action too soon, something that's already been seen in Japan, where multiple players tested positive for COVID-19 while playing practice games. The availability of widespread testing in the U.S. would seem to be a necessity, as to prevent baseball players from receiving frequent tests while the general public faced limited access. Baseball would need to make sure it was not taking much-needed resources away from treating the general population.

There are many hurdles to clear before a quarantined season in Arizona would make sense. But you can see why the league and the players are getting creative to find a return to action, as it might not be possible to do so in any way that resembles normalcy. Especially if other local, state and federal leaders share Governor Pritzker's outlook.

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10 White Sox trades that made the biggest impact on Rick Hahn's rebuild

10 White Sox trades that made the biggest impact on Rick Hahn's rebuild

Rick Hahn has the White Sox on the precipice of a new winning era.

It’s been more than a decade since there’s been October baseball on the South Side, but the expectation is that the unfortunate streak could soon come to an end thanks to a group of young stars with a very bright future.

A busy round of free agency, some promising draft picks and the notable international signing of Luis Robert have made for a diverse list of how Hahn has constructed the team’s future. But many of biggest names were acquired in rebuild-defining trades.

Hahn’s made a lot of deals during his time as White Sox general manager. Click here to see the 10 trades that have had the greatest impact on the rebuilding process.

 

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