As we approach another celebration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's accomplishments and dedication to humanity, we all pause to reflect on the times - the here and now. Dr. King's dream is the closest it has ever been to becoming a reality in 2009, and that is evident with the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. For years American history has been linked with Major League Baseball, as our national past time has mirrored the changes, accomplishments, and perseverance of our nation. However, as we march toward inauguration day for President Obama, and closer to Dr. King's dream, the state of Major League Baseball and it's ties to American history have never been as far apart as they are today.
As the nation prepares to celebrate and welcome the first African-American president of the United States, baseball continues to watch the diversity of it's game suffer. The past presidential election reaped a new record high in votes for African-Americans in the political process, a sheer, utter, and obvious cause of President Obama's participation, and President George Bush's futility. In the past, yours truly has touched base on the importance of African-American participation in baseball for African-Americans (Dome Pondering Import: Young, Gifted, and Black), our culture, and the great game of baseball (Opportunity a Forgotten Substance), as well as the reasons for the decline and candidates to revive the participation (Chance and Risk: The Future of the African-American Baseball Player).
One of the potential candidates to become a catalyst for African-American interest in the latter posting in June of 2007 was C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia, an active member in Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (R.B.I.), was recently thrusted into the spotlight due to his remarkable performance at the end of the 2008 season, receiving the highest contract in baseball history, and signing with the New York Yankees history. Sabathia, a former Cy Young winner, who boasts a powerful pitching arsenal and carries himself with the respect for himself and the game, as well as a certain individualistic swagger with his hat cocked to the side, now combines that all with the media exposure of playing for the New York Yankees, in the biggest "inner-city" in the world.
Sabathia can be the guy.
All the tools are in place for Sabathia to take off in this role. A huge void left by Ken Griffey Jr. A role for which Sabathia, like President Obama, can help the baseball aspirations and ambition of America's inner city youth, and make them believe once again, "Yes We Can". A role he can help re-tie Baseball history with that of our nation's, and create a better tomorrow. And most importantly, a role in which he can continue to keep The Dream alive.