By La Velle
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield is one of several people I interviewed for my special section stories this spring. The former Twin deserves such attention because he’s just released a book titled, `Dropping the Ball: Baseballs Troubles and How We Can and Must Solve Them,” in which he discusses some of things that are wrong with baseball. He cares deeply about interest in the game growing in this country, and has some suggestions for people on all levels to help achieve that.
Here’s part of a long interview I did with him:
“One of the chapters I have written is called, `The Last Black Major Leaguer.’ We go from Jackie Robinson to when there was 28 percent black players in the 1970′s when I was playing and we’re down to 8 percent (now) and it is declining. In ten more years you’ll see the last one. That’s just one chapter.”“I’m showing how important the game is to people in America and I urge people not to give up on it. I tell them. `Here are some examples of these trends.’ People need to know that we have academies in other countries. We have kids who no longer go outside and play. They don’t know pick up games and all this stuff.”
“The are not developing the skills and the responses and the athleticism to play baseball, so you put on a uniform when you are eight or nine years old and mommy wonders, `Johnny, why can’t you play very good.’ Johnny never went outside and played all these games that helped him develop and improve. The kids are declining and the culture is declining.”’
“I point out that trends are going on, but it is not an attack on anything. I’m just saying, `this is where it is. If you want to do something about it, here’s something that everybody can do from kids to parents to schools to organizations and rec departments to major leagues to players and agents and all of that.’ ”
You can click here for more information. Winfield is in the middle of a nationwide book tour. He’s in the Twin Cities today and will appear on Dan Barriero’s, `Bumper to Bumper,’ show this afternoon on KFAN. He’s got a lot of good stuff to talk about.