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

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

The New York Mets drafted Rocker on Sunday, making him the 10th pick in the first round of the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.

Anyone who has followed Rocker’s path is probably only surprised that he wasn’t ripped off sooner. His high school career saw his throws reach high speeds in the 90s and he only improved in college, winning the MVP in the 2019 College World Series and being named the 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 mixed-race son of Tracy Rocker, a black football coach who is part of the College Football Hall of Fame, and Lalitha Rocker, an instructional designer whose parents immigrated from India. He represents two under-represented groups in baseball – as a “blind,” as his mother put it in a 2019 interview with The Tennessean.

“I told Kumar when he is filling out forms to put ‘blindian’ because you are black Indian,” she said. “I want him to be aware of his heritage and for other people to ask where his heritage is, and not just see him as an African American child.”

The choice of Kumar Rocker is monumental for people who haven’t seen themselves represented in baseball often. Some waiting for Indian children wearing Kumar Rocker swimsuits at school. Other look forward to him representing South Asians on the pitch.

“Dude, I’m so moved reading this… The rocker is of Indian descent and selected in the top 10 for my favorite team. Give hope to a community in a sport that lacks representation,” Andrew Khan, writer for the MLB Marathon baseball website, wrote on Twitter.

While about 37% of MLB players are people of color, only 7% are black and about 1.4% are Asian, according to a 2021 report from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. But while South Asian representation in baseball may be rare, it’s clear what a rising star in the sport looks like may change for the better.

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