It's hard to watch the college-baseball World Series, under way now in Omaha, Neb., without noticing how different the college game is from the major-league version. Not in the caliber of play or the funny ping of the aluminum bats, but in the way the players look.Because it's the Wall Street Journal there's a lot of good stuff in the article about the economics of all of this including how, for example, college baseball's farkakte scholarship rules affect minority recruitment.
College players in the three main divisions are 86% white, according to the most-recent NCAA figures. That's a big difference from Major League Baseball, where one study puts the number at less than 60%. The most striking difference is in the number of Latinos on the field: They made up about 29% of all major leaguers in 2007 but only 5% of players in college.
I think one of the reasons I can't take a shine to college baseball -- apart from the obvious pings -- is that so many of the teams seem to be stacked with Tylers and Austins and not enough Joses and Juans. It's not some overt flaw that violates some squishy equality requirement on my part. I don't look at the TV and yell about the lack of diversity on the screen. But the relative lack of Latin players is kind of disconcerting on some level, in the same way that weird lighting or the lack of crowd noise would be disconcerting. Something is missing from the game that we have come to expect -- something just wrong -- that makes you feel like you're watching something less than baseball.