News Articles, Op Eds, Interviews, and Podcasts




Juan SotoPhoto Credit: Billy Sabatini 

Immigrant Athletes Can Become Agents of Change

Jim Witte and Marissa Kiss published this op ed that explores the role that Dominican baseball player Juan Soto and other athletes play in their communities, and how foreign-born athletes can bring diverse communities together. They write, "Fan bases are built by connections with individual players, and this is of great value to the teams and leagues. They should highlight the stories and contributions of immigrant athletes, and how diversity on the field is mirrored in the diversity of their fans."

Photo Credit: Canva

Immigrants' Pivotal Role in TeamUSA's Olympic Success

IIR Program Coordinator Michele Waslin published an op ed in The Hill describing how the United States’ resources, training facilities, coaching and athletic excellence attract top athletes from around the world, and our generous immigration system is a big part of our Olympic success story.

Jackie Robinson

Photo Credit: Bob Sandberg


Why are there so few Black American players in MLB 74 years after Jackie Robinson took the field?

IIR alum Marissa Kiss, PhD and former Mason professor Earl Smith published an op ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer featuring their research into Major League Baseball, immigration, and race.

"The rise of the academy system in the Caribbean and South America during the 1980s, and a shift in the pipeline to the major leagues for native-born players in the 1990s, altered the demographic makeup of MLB players. As a result, a new MLB emerged. This MLB featured fewer American-born Black players. It relied on the recruitment, extraction, and exploitation of foreign-born Latino players and American-born parents’ wealth to cultivate their sons’ talent through showcase events, private coaches, or sports academies like IMG Academy.

Thus, we can no longer say that baseball is part of the American Dream. Major League Baseball is a story of the haves and the have-nots; it is a story of the colony and the country club."

Photo Credit: Dylan Buell 

Can Small-Town America Survive Pandemic's Hit to Minor League Baseball?

This article describes how international baseball players transform small towns. Former IIR Graduate Research Assistant Marissa Kiss is quoted.

Baseball FieldPhoto Credit: Canva

America's International Pastime

IIR Director Dr. James Witte and former IIR Graduate Research Assistant and Mason Grad Student Marissa Kiss discussed how baseball has become an international sport on the With Good Reason podcast.