Why South Asian baseball fans are excited about Kumar Rocker's future

Why South Asian baseball fans are excited about Kumar Rocker’s future

Friday 16. July 2021

Caption:

Kumar Rocker can only be in the middle of his own legendary story.

The New York Mets drafted Rocker on Sunday, making him the tenth pick in the first round of the 2021 Major League Baseball draft.

Anyone who has followed Rockers’ path is probably just surprised that he was not intercepted before. His high school career saw his places rush the high 90s and he only got better in college, achieved the title of Most Outstanding Player during the 2019 College World Series and was named Baseball America Freshman of the Year the same year.

But it’s not just his undeniable talent that inspires baseball fans.

Rocker, 21, is the son of the mixed race of Tracy Rocker, a black football coach who is in College Football Hall of Fame, and Lalitha Rocker, an instructional designer whose parents immigrated from India. He represents two groups that are underrepresented in baseball – as a “blind”, as his mother put it during an interview in 2019 with Tennessee.

“I told Kumar when he fills out forms, put ‘blind’ because you are black Indians,” she said. “I want him to be aware of his legacy and for other people to question where his legacy is, not just look at him as an African-American child.”

Kumar Rocker’s election is monumental for people who have not been represented in baseball very often. Some expect Indian children to wear Kumar Rocker jerseys at school. Others looking forward to having him represent South Asians on the field.

“Man, I’m so emotional when I read this … Rocker is of Indian descent and is picked in the top 10 of my favorite team. Gives hope to a community in a sport that lacks representation,” Andrew Khan, author of the MLB Marathon baseball website , wrote on Twitter.

While around 37% of MLB players are people of color, only 7% are black and around 1.4% are Asian, according to a 2021 postponement from the Department of Diversity and Ethics in Sports. But while South Asian baseball representation may be scarce, it is clear that what a rising star in the sport looks like may change for the better.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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