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Over the last 10 years, much has been written about the declining numbers of African-Americans playing Major League Baseball and collegiate baseball.

African-Americans make up just 9 percent of all of those playing Major League Baseball this year, a far cry from the 27 percent in 1974. The 2010 College World Series featured eight African-American players out of the 269 who participated.

When it comes to African-American players, the future looks no brighter. For example, the U.S. semifinals of the 2010 Little League World Series between Georgia and Hawaii featured only two African-American players, both of whom played for the team from Columbus, Ga.

Although there are programs like Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and other initiatives designed to reintroduce the sport to African-American kids in place, a combination of poorly kept urban baseball fields the expense of the game, and the popularity of basketball and football are among the reasons why baseball might not be catching on in places like Philadelphia, despite having two MLB MVPs in Phillies Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins in place as potential role models.

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But some are pointing to the single parent household as one of the major factors keeping African-American boys away from baseball. According to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one out of three black households (29 percent) are headed by single mothers, many of whom can’t afford to take their kids to baseball games played in the ultra modern and grossly expensive ball parks. Traditionally, baseball has been a sport that boys learn from their fathers.

Or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. In reality, single moms are grabbing their sons and saying “Take me out to the Ballgame!”, fighting economic, racial and gender barriers at times to keep their kids in the game.

Cheryl A. Mobley-Stimpson, who runs the Facebook site Philly Sports Moms and works as a sports and entertainment consultant and Sarah J. Glover, an award-winning photojournalist with the Philadelphia Daily News, have boys who not only play baseball, but are good at it and have a passion for it. Both have invested the time, money and effort to help their sons in their course of their baseball development on their own without assistance from their children’s fathers.

“I am the exception to the rule and if I can be an exception to the rule, it can happen,” said Mobley-Stimpson, who started her own business as a way to devote more time . “It’s a matter of vision, it’s a matter of dedication and it’s a matter of adapting to a different type of a lifestyle and so I can’t get to all of the parties that I used to get to and when I do get to that small window of opportunity, I am so tired from driving and driving to practices and playoff games.”

Read the entire article at TheGrio.com

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