2007
08.27

A thought hit me while watching the Georgia-Japan Little League World Series game on ABC Sunday afternoon: why doesn’t ESPN have any Asian baseball analysts? Considering the impact of Asians in baseball worldwide, this seems to be a hole in the network’s coverage of the sport.

According to Wikipedia, there were 26 Asian players on major league rosters at the beginning of the 2007 season. Comparatively, there were 68 black players, 182 Latino players, and 484 white players. (Not sure how players are counted, but those are the wikipedia numbers). As of 2007, ESPN had three current baseball tonight hosts (all white), three white analysts, two black analysts, three hispanic analysts, four white reporters, one hispanic correspondent, and one white correspondent. No Asians.

Admittedly, Baseball Tonight has had two personalities with connections to the Japanese game. Current analyst Orestes Destrade once played in Japan for the Seibu Lions and former analyst Bobby Valentine currently manages the Chiba Lotte Marines. However, Valentine is not on the ESPN payroll and Destrade last played in Japan in 1995.

In defense of Baseball Tonight, am I looking for something that shouldn’t be there? Possibly. I’ll admit, if you work the percentages, one person out of 17 Baseball Tonight personalities is just under 6% of the roster. Asian players make up 2.8% of all current players. Statistically, they would have to double the amount of players in order to qualify for “fair” representation. But for a region of the world where the game is and has been so immensely popular, wouldn’t it be prudent to have a correspondent who represents that segment?

(About the title: I know it’s not tyranny; it’s a shout out to James Otis for you history buffs out there.)

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  1. Actually, I was a little displeased with how the Japanese team was treated. I noted that all the highlights on ESPN were of US plays. Also, it was painted too much as “The US vs. Japan”, which I frankly found a little offensive and unfair to our visitors. (Only because they were such young kids; if they were pros, it wouldn’t matter). I like variety in my coverage. I do have to say, though, those Georgia uniforms were nice. I would wear one if I could get one.

    Another interesting storyline was that if Japan could have gotten out of that inning, they probably would have won, as Georgia apparently did not have much pitching left. It was a good game.