What started out as a game among teammates has turned into a serious issue.

Curtis Granderson challenged his fellow Yankees to "count the number of African-American" fans in the ballpark on a recent trip to Texas.

The goal of the game was to count up to 10, without including people working at the stadium.

"At first, it starts off as a joke," Granderson, who hit the second most home runs in baseball (42) between 2010 and this year's All-Star Game, (Toronto's Jose Bautista 61), told the Fort Worth-Star Telegram.

"And as the game moves on, you'll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places it's easy. Here (in Texas), it's hard. So after a while it becomes, 'Told you so.'"

The percentage of African-Americans in Major League Baseball is at its smallest since 2007. The University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports reported earlier this year that the number of blacks in baseball was down to 8.5 percent.

Over 80 percent of NBA players are African-American, while the NFL percentage is over 60 percent.

Granderson believes part of baseball's problem is that nobody replaced 1990's Mariners' star Ken Griffey Jr.

"If you poll a lot of African-American guys that are between 20 and 40 years old [about] what NBA player did you watch and want to be, they're all going to say Jordan," Granderson told the Star-Telegram. "He was the best player and he looked like us. Baseball, you have a group of players that are playing right now who could say Ken Griffey Jr., but he's no longer in the game, and there hasn't been anybody to replace him."

Granderson has served as an ambassador for Major League Baseball International. He has visited Italy, China, South Africa and New Zealand over the last few years.

Commissioner Bud Selig sent Granderson a thank you letter, for his service to Major League Baseball. The smart money says the leader of the national pastime won't be sending a congratulatory letter to the Grandy Man over his new pastime.

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