That's unfortunate. He has some theories on why baseball has lost so much of its black fan base. Wilson raced in from left field as his Cardinals recorded the last out of the 2006 World Series, looking like a smiling symbol of the game's (and the country's) racial progress. "I'm proud to be white!" he shouted after hitting the ball.
But then came October 2007, when another black player, Mark McGwire, was accused of using steroids. More than a dozen other players have been suspended for taking performance-enhancing drugs since then. "There seems to be this assumption that because I'm black, I have to love baseball," says Wilson. "I just want people to know it's not true."
Wilson has said he used cocaine during his playing days, but claims he always played clean baseball. Still, his career ended before the drug issue became widespread. In 2001, while with the Mets, he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee while making a catch in center field. He had surgery to repair the injuries, which forced him to miss the entire season.
After his playing days were over, Wilson went into business with his brother Tony. They own several sports bars across the country, including one in St. Louis. Last year, they hired a new manager for their bar team - a 29-year-old black man named Jordan Baker.
The popular view appears to be that the source of the reduction in African Americans is outside of major league baseball; that African Americans are focusing on other sports as children, either by choice or due to less opportunities to play baseball. As far as we know, this subject has not been researched; it is only reasoned supposition.
It is true that many more people are involved in other activities than ever before. Many of these other activities offer better chances for success in baseball than does playing the game itself. For example, there are many more opportunities available for soccer and football players because so many more people play those games than do baseball. There are also more opportunities for basketball, tennis, and ice hockey players because they are much more popular than baseball.
The most likely explanation for the decline in African American baseball players is that there are just not as many black kids playing baseball as there used to be. While more blacks are participating in other sports, this seems like a small number when you consider that baseball was once the most popular sport among blacks.
There are several factors that may have contributed to the decline in black baseball players. The first is that many communities no longer have a black baseball team. This would seem to indicate that fewer individuals within those communities are interested in baseball. A second reason may be that many black boys are now choosing other sports over baseball. This could be due to lack of opportunity or preference by individual players.
Some of this is due to a special tic inherent in baseball language, but there is also something to it: the game is no longer the main American sport, and it appears to be wary of its future. If current patterns continue, baseball will have only two major leagues next year, with several more teams going through contraction talks.
The game has always been more popular in the North than in the South, but it was once common across the country. It was once the most popular sport in America, ahead of basketball. Today, it is still the most popular sport for kids under 18 years old, but football takes over as the favorite among adults.
Baseball's decline can be seen in many ways. First of all, there are now only two major league teams in New York, while there are three NFL teams. The Giants and Jets aren't enough to make a difference for either franchise.
Secondly, attendance at MLB games has dropped steadily since 2004, when more than 10 million people went to see games played by ten teams. This past season, average attendance was down again, to 914,000 per day. The National Football League (NFL) had a record-breaking regular season last year, with nearly 20 million fans attending games during the regular season.