Playing baseball is hard. Living up to the hype is a little harder. But so far, Hunter Greene seems to be up to the task. It’s too bad the league he’s playing in isn’t like that.
The day after Major League Baseball and most of its fans, network and Americans pretend to care Jackie Robinson’s legacy and the 75th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier, one of the few Black baseball players – and pitchers – in the league who has shown how he continues the legacy of a talented athlete in a sport that is still lousy at elimination. except Blacks.
As the nation was busy putting their “42” jerseys back in the closet, Greene paid little attention to when he threw 39 100 mph throws or faster, as the Cincinnati Reds fell 5-2 to Los Angeles Dodgers in his second career. start. Since throw tracking began in 2008, no one has been able to generate such heat in a match, as Jacob deGrom held the previous record of 33 throws at least hitting the 100 mph mark.
“I wish we’d come out with a win, but it was a really, really fun time,” Greene said after the game, played in LA, not far from Compton Street, Greene grew up. “It was an unbelievable feeling and experience going up against that squad. Freddie [Freeman] gave me some love, kind of a cap one end, so that’s great. I’m happy to be able to do it here and have my family here.”
There is no guarantee Greene, 22, will become a major. He could go on to be one of the greatest pitchers of his time, or just a serviceable laner that clubs keep in their cages. But, no matter how this happened to him, he made it. “Greene Hunter has been compared to Noah Syndergaard on the field and Alex Rodriguez on the field. Meet the possible first overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft,” is how one would describe a future #2 overall pick as he was the teen boy who covered the latest Sports Illustrated in 2017 .
“This is exactly the kind of kid we desperately need,” a major federation official told Lee of SI Jenkins in pieceIt is noted that Greene started wearing Robinson’s number 42 shirt at the age of 6.
“What [Robinson] Suffering as a player, as a man, was unbelievable, the grace he played with, everything on the pitch, his teammates,” Greene talks about Robinson the day before 75th Anniversary. “Being here at Dodger Stadium, being here for the 75th anniversary, it’s pretty special. Being here as a Black player and a young man, to represent what he stands for, is incredibly important, to shine a light on that for our community, let these kids know they can do it. ”
You would think that a tournament in the annual digits when it comes to the percentage of Black players on the Opening Day roster would find a way to highlight players like Greene. For example, the Phillies made history this year by not having a African-American players on their Opening Day roster for the first time since 1959.
“When you’re talking about African-American soccer players, we need to do better,” Dodgers captain Dave Roberts recently told the LA Times. Roberts is one of two black coaches in the pro league this season. “I think about it all the time. It gets really annoying.”
It feels like Major League Baseball wants to focus on international talent compared to the homegrown blacks who made baseball what it is today, when the Inaugural Day roster stands out 275 international players born. Many fans and tournament executives are focusing on the feat of 27-year-old Japanese rookie Seiya Suzuki, who knocked out .429 / .564 / .929 in 10 games in four home runs. and 11 RBI, or Rōki Sasaki a Japanese pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Nippon pro baseball league in Japan who has had a perfect game this season (beating 19) followed by eight more perfect innings. which he started before being pulled. Both are outstanding talents that deserve recognition, but so are the “diverse” talents here in the US.
This moment we feel is similar to what happened in 2020 when Triston McKenzie – a young black pitching prospect – had a breakthrough moment that seemed to be overlooked even though the then rookie right-back hit 10 shots, including Miguel Cabrera – twice – and allowed just two on target in Cleveland’s 6-1 win over the Olds. tiger. McKenzie will go on to appear in eight games (42 Ks) in 2020, 25 (136 Ks) in 2021 and has appeared in a few games this season.
“There’s a cloud or stigma that no Black kid wants to play baseball,” Greene recently said. “Not so right. There are a lot of Black kids who love to play baseball. I just came from Atlanta. There are many black baseball players in Atlanta. So does Chicago. The kids are out there. They just need to be given a chance.”
Black kids always, and always will, want to play baseball. The question is whether baseball wants them to compete and thrive at the highest levels. There’s a reason why Kyler Murray turned down the sport after becoming the only athlete to make the Top 10 picks in the MLB and NFL Drafts. And if baseball doesn’t do better with the introduction of the next Hunter Greene, don’t be surprised that Black athletes are starting to choose soccer and basketball helmets over baseball bats more than they currently do. in.