Jason Heyward helped end the longest championship drought in American sports history nearly seven years ago. Feel free to ask any Cubs fan, they’ll never forget the moment their torment was finally over. He’ll most likely never have to buy a meal again in Chicago again because of it. However, it’s what he’s doing now in the very same community that may turn out to be his greatest contribution in the future.

After breaking ground last year, the Jason Heyward Baseball Academy finally opened, a new super fly facility on Chicago’s West Side. Heyward himself has selected the academy’s head of baseball operations.

Why Did J-Hey Open Baseball Academy In Chicago? 


With the Jason Heyward Baseball Academy, Black kids on the West Side of Chicago will now have their opportunity to build a powerhouse similar to the one that produced Heyward. The East Cobb travel team Heyward played for is the East Cobb Astros, a national powerhouse based in Georgia. The Astros have produced dozens of MLB players, including fellow MLBbro Brandon Phillips.

The JHBA sits on a 10-acre site in North Austin, a predominantly black neighborhood.

“I want all the kids to get the right fundamentals and, if they love the game, to keep playing,” Heyward said. “But, if not, we would like to expose them to front-office jobs, media jobs, coaching jobs, all that kinds of stuff, as well.”

“There’s so much opportunity to create a place to host tournaments, to host a league, to have a travel-ball team have that as their home base facility-wise,” Heyward told the Chicago Sun -Times.

The high cost of travel ball has been well documented, but one of the keys to a quality travel baseball program that often gets overlooked is access to state of the art facilities.



“But just give all the kids in the community a place to get excited about going to play. I remember what that was like for me playing in East Cobb, being from McDonough, Henry County, just out of Atlanta.”

Heyward Still Wants To Play, In LA?


The Cubs released Heyward with props for meritorious service. Despite now trying to earn a spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s clear that Heyward’s heart remains in the Windy City, and the love runs much deeper than his role as a player.



Upon leaving the Cubs, most assumed Heyward would retire after 13 impactful seasons in the game. However, the guy Hank Aaron once considered the future of the game, wants to prove that he can still add value to a contending team, so the 32-year-old Gold Glover joins the Dodgers this spring as a non-roster invitee. 

“I know I can still play. I know I still want to do it,” Heyward told reporters. “They (Dodgers) have a reputation for doing things in a special way, getting the most out of everyone involved. For them to reach out to me and want me to have an opportunity to be part of that process, that made it that much easier.”

According to reports, Heyward is reportedly going to receive “every opportunity to win a job this spring,” per Dodgers beat writer Juan Toribio.

Regardless of how much time he spends playing pro ball on the west coast this season, it’s clear that he’s also committed to the next phase of his life as an influencer of the game at the grass roots level back in Chicago.

“I spent my time here as a Cub, as an athlete in this city,” Heyward said via MLB.com, “and being able to be rooted on by a lot of people. But that’s always going to come to an end, right? The playing side of the game — for this city or another. But either way, this will always be here.

“There will always be new kids. There will always be new families. And to me, that’s something that’s always going to be passed along. I’m just so happy and excited to see what that brings — the opportunities, the fellowship. It’s something for this neighborhood to be proud of.”

With American-born black players on a sharp decline for decades now, making up roughly 7% of major league rosters, MLB has not had many transformative solutions for their inability to attract black athletes. This program has a great plan to introduce more black talent to America’s pastime. MLBbro Jason Heyward is doing his part to produce future MLBbros not only on the field, but in the dugout and front office.

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