Chris Rock said he's "an endangered species" — a black baseball fan — and he has a few tips for the sport to get its black audience back.
Baseball's old-time style is to blame for why the sport's black fan base seems to be dwindling, Rock said on HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. "You got the white-haired, white-guy announcers. You got cheesy, old organ music at the games," he said. "And every team is building a bullshit, fake-antique stadium that's supposed to remind you of the good old days."
Rock argued that the game needs to change its rules and its style to allow for more spirited, shorter matches. But he said baseball needs to do this not only because of the diversity it would bring — but because the game desperately needs more people watching.
"I don't care about any of this as a black guy. I care about this as a baseball fan. We don't really need baseball, but baseball needs us," Rock said. "The fact is black America decides what's hot and what young people get excited about."
He added, "And make no mistake: baseball is losing. Yeah, the owners made more money than ever last year. But while they were celebrating, kids were skateboarding away. Little League participation has fallen 20 percent since 1995. World Series viewership is down 50 percent during the same time. Of the people who still watch baseball on TV, 5 out of 6 are white, and their average age is 53. That's not an audience; that's a tea party rally."