It has been excruciatingly slow, tormenting Major League Baseball, creating skepticism and doubt anything will change.
The numbers still are embarrassingly low, but finally there are signs of growth.
“We live in a microwave society, and we want to see instant change,’’ said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, with the 100th anniversary of the league to be celebrated Sunday throughout baseball. “That doesn’t happen in baseball. But I am encouraged.
“I do think we’re seeing a total shift in interest in this sport, and that’s what gives me hope, that we start seeing a reversal of those numbers.’’
About those numbers.
MLB has seen a small increase in the percent of Black players on opening-day rosters this year, with 7.8%, or 80 players, comprising the 30-man rosters, injured and restricted lists, according to analysis by USA TODAY Sports.
There are three teams – the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays – that didn’t have a single Black player on their opening-day roster. And 14 of the 30 teams have two or fewer.
The Seattle Mariners have more Black players than the entire American League Central Division, and as many as the NL West.
Certainly, the Mariners are the outliers, with 10 Black players on their opening-day roster, and 12, including those at the team's alternate camp.