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Torii weighs in on the Sheffield controversy

Posted at 9:43 AM on June 8, 2007 by Chris Dall

Torii Hunter has added his voice to the controversy started recently by Detroit Tigers DH Gary Sheffield.

In a recent interview in GQ, Sheff was asked about the decreasing number of African-Americans playing baseball, and the increasing number of Latino players. His response, to paraphrase, was that Latino players are easier to control, partially because of the language barrier. (Unfortunately, the interview is not available online). He's taken a lot of heat for those comments, but has insisted that he meant nothing derogatory. And his teammate Carlos Guillen agrees with him.

Well Torii thinks the issue has more to do with money, essentially arguing that Latino talent is cheaper for major league teams.

Sheffield and Hunter aren't the only ones concerned about the decreasing number of African-American players in MLB. Dejon Watson, farm director for the LA Dodgers, told ESPN he's not sure of young black athletes are even paying attention to baseball. Dave Winfield was on the Midday program talking about the issue a few months ago, and has argued that MLB needs to do a better job of reaching out to the African-American community.

As of last season, 8.4 percent of major league baseball players were African-American, while 29.4 percent were Latino.

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