When Anthony Sosnovsky faced his quest to rebuild Bishop McNamara’s high school baseball program, some people told him he needed to start recruiting the right kids.
But what do they mean? Sosnovsky told USA Today Sports that his team was heated inside the school gym. They were referring to a white child.
The student body of the 9-12th grade Catholic Cooperative School in Bis McNamara is about 90% black out of 650 students that percentage is even higher on the Sosnoskis 2021 roster. None of its 20 players are white in a sport that is essentially at all levels and in an area where other youth sports are the most popular choice.
Bishop McNamara is optimistic that the lack of diversity at all levels of baseball could one day improve.
Compared to games like the NFL, where black players make up about 70% of the league, and the NBA, where percentages are even higher, the number of black players in the MLB this season is 7.1% or 64 players. , Opening time. – Day and injury lists according to USA Today Sports analysis.
The NFL and NBA have teams of black players who dream of playing their sport, but blacks and people of other races see baseball as a way of thinking. Bishop McNamara shows that there may be important areas in the country where this is not the case.
You don’t go out there (with your friends) as you like, let’s play baseball. It’s always like Nah, basketball, soccer. So it’s different, said senior Miles Peterson. If you are good at baseball, you can be good at any other sport. Baseball players are athletes. You can do everything. (Anyone) can shoot a (triple) but you can’t hit a baseball.
At the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC), Bishop McNamaras may have one or two black players in opposition, Sosnosky said, but most teams are completely white.
Anthony Sosnovsky was Bishop McNamara’s coach for seven years.
I think that’s something that really drives us, as Ryan Davis said when we go to play in the minority-based, Maryland-Eastern Shores. Just make a name, earn respect for yourself. Our skin color can play the game.
Davis said McNamara had no skills in making a team monkey sound as soon as he got on the field. There was an incident in 2012 when someone uttered the word n from a whistling car past a practice.
We only use it for inspiration, Davis said.
This senior class, six of which will play college from junior to division level, the most winning class class in the school’s history For several years, Bishop McNamara was the feeder under the diamond. Then came Sosnosky, a special education teacher at the white school. The fighting continued; He won six games in each of his first three seasons.
But two years ago, the Mustangs set a school winning record by finishing 22-7. In the playoffs, they lost the last two games of the three-game series to Dimath Catholic and played one game in 2020 before the epidemic canceled the entire season. This year, they have won 3-3 games, a pair of rematch over De Mathews, with three games left. WCAC will not make a play-off and its season will end on June 3.
Sosnoski, a former Division I player at Virginia Tech, became the coach with a brief speech on the freelance ball, as he discussed his team with the coaches, with more than 20 players moving to college baseball. The next step. These conversations often involve crude etiquette worn by black baseball players.
We have good and talented players who sometimes don’t think they really know as much about the games as they do, Sosnosky said. This makes them the raw talent label. This is something we have tried to analyze: he is a good baseball player. He turned out to be super athletic, he was fine, whatever. He is a good baseball player. He’s slow, in fact, he’s not going to steal the second base.
This is an original stereotype that is played during Mustang games. Players will hit the base and teams will pitch four or five times even if the player base is not a robber.
Sosnosky said he would be assigned to a 45-minute radius around campus. The players originally come from Prince Georges County, where the school is located. The families of some players are financially healthy and others are not.
The sport has become less accessible to low-income families and has reduced ethnic representation in the leagues due to the growing financial cost of youth baseball and the growing popularity of travel. The Greater Society of Baseball Research says the percentage of black players in the MLB has declined since 1981 and reached its lowest level, 6..7% in 2016, the lowest since 1957.
I think this game is suitable for people of all sizes, all wealth and income status, ”said Rafael Lockett, assistant coach of the black Mustangs.
During the day, Navy engineer Lockett played collegiate at Jackson State and was Sassnock’s assistant for three years. Sosnosky was recruited from the Washington Nationals Youth Academy, where Lockett was the head baseball coach. Her passion for life is working with kids, trying to bring more people of color back into the game.
Blacks often set trends before following the rest of society, Lockett said. This can be a barrier to understanding black players to stick with baseball.
No one likes to be seen to fail. And in this game, you fail a lot. So the goal (of the coaches) is to encourage them, let them understand, hey, you’re going to be your best self, Lockett said. This game is about discipline and possibilities. So if you do things right you will succeed.
It’s balanced with feedback loops to make sure players are having fun. Music resonates during warm-ups and stretches. Lots of screams can be heard as the players practice rowing inside the mesh net built in the gym.