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Nearly half the roster at this year’s MLB All-Star game is made up of players of color

This year’s game should definitely be on your radar

When the 87th Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicks off Tuesday night in San Diego, there will be familiar sights – Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is batting cleanup for the American League, marking his 10th and final All-Star game appearance, for example, but there will be other, bolder, more different optics too.

As of Opening Day this season, just 8.3 percent of the entire sport identified as African-American or black, according to Richard Lapchick’s annual racial and gender report card. Sky-high prices to participate in travel-ball at the youth level don’t make raising that number any easier. But this year’s midseason tilt will serve to remind in case anyone forgot: Many of the very best players in the sport are players of color.

Among the American League’s starting nine, the lineup features seven players of color.

The National League has three players of color in its starting lineup, and the man throwing first for the squad is Dominican-born San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto.

It’s not just the starters, though. Between the two clubs, Tuesday night’s game will showcase 30 foreign-born players spanning nine countries and territories outside the United States (Aruba, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela), according to data provided by MLB. Combined, the rosters have 39 players of color, good for nearly half (49.4 percent) of the playing field.

The Boston Red Sox alone have three black players in the American League starting lineup, three players who have crushed the baseball this year, who bring huge power and bigger swag regularly: Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Xander Boegarts.

The game will also feature Bartolo Colon (YO!) and Make Baseball Fun Again inventor Bryce Harper. Tuesday night, maybe just maybe, players won’t get plunked with fastballs for celebrating and enjoying themselves but for not doing so. Tune in at 8 p.m. EST to find out.

Ryan Cortes is a staff writer for The Undefeated. Lemon pepper his wings.