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On the Ball: MLB All-Star game is the perfect show of diversity in sports

I figured there’d be no better time to come back to this column then around the midsummer classic, the best time of the year for baseball. From an entertainment standpoint, the MLB All-Star Game is far superior to any other league. Players all come together in the middle of July once a year and play a competitive but fun game of baseball that is truly enjoyable to watch. 

While it is fun to see the stars of the league all come together to face off in a game that celebrates the athletic accomplishments of the players, it is more important to use the All-Star Game to recognize and celebrate the diversity of baseball. 

If you had time to tune into the all star game, it would be nearly impossible to overlook the fact that a myriad of cultures were represented on the field at any given time.  

From Japanese born Shohei Ohtani, to Cuban born Elias Diaz who won the game’s Most Valuable Player award, players from all across the world were on the field attracting fans from all over. 

There are currently 90 players who were born in the Dominican Republic on active rosters across the MLB. This year's home run derby champion, Vladimir Gurrero Jr., is one of the most notable players born in the DR. 

Behind America and the DR, the MLB has 53 players born in Venezuela and 20 from Cuba. 

In an event that brings in seven million viewers a year, so many of whom are children and young people, it’s important to take the time to celebrate diversity throughout the league. 

Cultural entities across the nation have become so whitewashed in the modern day that something as large as the MLB needs to do all it can to be representative of the whole world, not just its Americans. The championship is called the “World” Series for a reason. 

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Latino baseball players became prominent figures of baseball culture, and are now identified as the fastest growing group of both fans and players coming into the MLB. Players like Roberto Clemente and Fernando Valenzuela had a major influence on bringing in fans from both Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Baseball is not about what you look like or who you are. Some players are big and strong and athletic while others can be small and quick and use it to their advantage. Some players speak multiple languages to communicate with their teammates who come from different parts of the world and some players work tirelessly to learn English in order to do the same. 

No matter who you are, you can play, watch or enjoy baseball. It has become such a large part of so many peoples lives that it is important to celebrate all the players' different cultures and backgrounds once a year with the All-Star Game. 

The MLB still fights an uphill battle with bringing in Black Americans to the sport, since 2000 the percentage of Black baseball players in the league has dropped from 12.8% to a modern era low of 6.7%. 

Players of all different ethnicities and backgrounds are celebrated every day in the MLB, not just the All-Star game. So the next time you’re at the ballpark, take a moment to recognize that while baseball is “America's pastime” it is a sport that we share and enjoy with the whole world. 

Robert is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Robert? Tweet him @robertkeegan_

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