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Fewer inner-city children are playing baseball, studies find

Published On: Apr 11 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 12 2013 04:39:53 PM CDT

Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier 66 years ago.

Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier 66 years ago. A new movie is celebrating that milestone.

Now, studies show that many growing up in the inner-city are not following in Robinson's footsteps.

One organizer said, with big companies like Nike pushing golf, basketball and football, some youth are focusing on those sports and leaving the national pastime behind.

42 is the story about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

More than 60 years later, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports reports many inner-city youth are not interested in the national pastime.

"It makes me think about all those inner-city kids who have great skill sets and, for one reason or another, are no longer being exposed to the game or playing the game," said Dean Young, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Club in Easton.

Young said cost and popularity of the sport may be two reasons.

"Baseball for an example here, before we did our renovations we had a full sized baseball field and that baseball field is now gone," added Young. "So we use just what we have out here without a diamond."

Major League Baseball is working with Boys and Girls Clubs across the nation with the Reviving Baseball in the Inner-Cities program, aka, RBI. The only problem, the almighty corporate dollar may be helping baseball strike out with the youth.

"Nike has done a phenomenal job with Tiger Woods and getting young people to aspire to play the game of golf," said Young. "Basketball is always something you can play year round."

Young also said the lack of funding for leagues run by different city parks and recreation departments could be another reason for the decline.