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Little League World Series: Chicago Little Leaguers Can Help Change the Face of Baseball


The Jackie Robinson West little leaguers from Chicago may have a chance to have a larger impact on baseball and their city.

That statement may seem hyperbolic considering that these are only twelve year-old kids playing little league baseball, until you consider the current state of affairs of Chicago and the game.

By even making it to the Little League World Series tournament, these kids had already brought joy to their home city of Chicago. But the city that has become equated with gun violence and crime in the United States is now home to the country’s little league champions.

Whether they win the final against South Korea or not, they have already inspired Chicago, and might ignite future RBI baseball programs around the country.

As the first all black team to make the World Series in 31 years, their impact is historically and culturally significant. Their accomplishments stand out even more because of the current demographical breakdown of Major League Baseball.

Entering the 2014 season, only 8.3 percent of professional baseball players identified themselves as African-American or black. Compare that to less than 30 years ago when almost 20 percent of players were black. 

If you compare the MLB percentage with that of the NBA and NFL, you see that there is comparison. The NBA for decades has drawn many black athletes around the country. Take into account the emergence of football over the past 25 years as well as baseball losing popularity and it provides some explanations.

Despite the RBI programs in major cities, MLB’s outreach to black youth has faltered greatly. The league is losing athletes from one of the country’s demographics, that simple. But having the Jackie Robinson West all-stars in the national spotlight can change things for the better.

These young black men can make baseball relevant again in inner-city neighborhoods around the country. And with a win tomorrow against Seoul, you can call these Chicago sluggers Little League World Champions. 

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Filed under LLWS LLWS2014 Little League World Series Chicago Chi Town Chitown Chi City MLB baseball NFL NBA sports

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World Cup 2014: Don’t Expect FIFA to Drastically Change Concussion Protocol


Safe to say FIFA’s current concussion protocol is a huge problem, but do not expect FIFA to be too concerned about it.

The way team doctors have dealt with concussions during the World Cup is abhorrent and antiquated and in the World Cup Final things were no different.

In the 17th minute German midfielder Cristoph Kramer received an NFL-type hit to the head. After a brief and laughable medical examination Kramer stayed on for about another 14 minutes until he fell on the pitch. The midfielder, who was in a daze, had to be helped off by the team doctors.

This is one of three alarming incidents of players remaining on the pitch after absolutely brutal blows to the head. 

In the semifinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands, Argentina midfield Javier Mascherano violently butt heads with the Netherlands’ Georginio Wijnaldum. After the contact, Mascherano was seen stumbling and holding his head with a look of bewilderment as if he had no idea where he was. And by the look of things, he probably didn’t at that point in time.

In group play, Uruguayan midfielder Alvaro Pereira took a brutal knee to the dome in his squad’s match against England. The collision left him out cold for a short period of time, but Pereira objected to being subbed out despite orders from the team doctor.

What happened in all three occasions? They remained on the pitch and kept playing either until the end of the match or until they had trouble standing up on their own.

I am not a doctor and I can’t confirm whether these in fact were concussions. But if it looks like a concussion, stumbles like a concussion, it very well might be a concussion.

Granted, these are grown men making decisions for themselves. They know that the World Cup happens every four years and they will make every possible effort even if that means putting themselves in serious danger.

Players should not be the ones making decisions of whether or not to stay on the pitch after sustaining a serious head injury, but they did in these instances. As a result, there have been calls for the presence of independent doctors not affiliated with the country.

As serious as this problem appears to be, FIFA has exhibited very little focus and action when it comes to other very glaring issues. Whether it is turning the blind eye to racism or slavery-like conditions, they just do not care. They do not have to care because they have not been held liable for their deplorable actions.

Seems that with an organization like this, the only way for changes to occur with concussion protocol is if something drastically tragic happens on the pitch. Second Impact Syndrome is a very, very real thing, but do not tell FIFA that.

Actually do tell FIFA, they will disregard what you are saying anyway. 


(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)