Growing up in St. Louis, Nelly starred on his high school’s baseball team and even won MVP honors. The “Hot In Here” rapper’s passion for the game is still high, as evidenced by his appearance yesterday (July 17) on ESPN’s First Take program.
Sitting with hosts Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Cari Champion, Nelly gave a candid response to Bayless’ question regarding the declining number of Black players in Major League Baseball. Delivering his comment with an expert view, Nelly explained that the MLB’s marketing of the game is why the numbers are trending low.
“I would say something that needs to take place for baseball’s marketing skills as whole, even if you look at last night [Tuesday’s Home Run Derby], they market the home run,” shared Nelly. “It’s no wonder why guys come into the league and they wanna be bigger and stronger to hit home runs.”
Adding that Home Run Derby winner Oakland Athletics player Yoenis Cespedes wasn’t even an All-Star, Nelly remarked that there are skills in the game that aren’t being taught on a basic level.
“I just think they do a terrible job at marketing and really getting deep into the problem of training kids from the very beginning,” added Nelly, who also wants to see the MLB All-Star Game add a skills competition similar to what the NBA does in their All-Star showcases.
Check out Nelly speaking on baseball’s skills decline in the clip below.