Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred unveiled the launch of the Commissioner’s Ambassador Program on Tuesday, a program that is poised to reshape the way the world views America’s favorite pastime.
The program will be led by former MLBbros, MVPs, and World Series champions Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, joined by fellow former MLBbros Michael Bourn, Dexter Fowler, LaTroy Hawkins, Adam Jones and Hall of Famer Fred McGriff.
What’s an absolute blessing it is to be apart of this amazing group. Can’t wait to work with these amazing baseball players but ever better amazing humans trying to advance the great game of baseball. The best is yet to come!! #CAP @mlb @adamjonespod pic.twitter.com/lFDKXs5H2q
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) August 23, 2023
“Leading the Commissioner’s Ambassador Program alongside Ryan and a group of former players who all share the same passion as we do was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up,” Rollins said. “To be working with Major League Baseball after our playing careers and still have the chance to help continue growing the game we all love is a true honor. I’m excited for the work and impact this program will have on the sport.”
The program features 13 former players, rounded out by Dellin Betances, Jeremy Guthrie, Jed Lowrie, Ichiro Suzuki, Nick Swisher, and Shane Victorino, who will participate in Major League Baseball programs, represent the game at MLB events and support the league’s international growth.
“We are thrilled to begin our Ambassador Program, which will highlight the impact that former players continue to have,” Manfred said. “Their active participation in our initiatives will keep them close to the game and help us advance Major League Baseball in the future. I appreciate this group’s great enthusiasm to support the game’s growth for the next generation of fans.”
It’s evident that each player was chosen with the utmost intentionality. The group’s extraordinary success on the field is certainly a factor, but the common thread that binds these remarkable athletes is their rich and diverse ethnic backgrounds, including the Dominican Republic, Japan, Italy, Hawaii, and the myriad experiences of Black American players, this ensemble embodies the rich tapestry of global baseball.
“I’m honored to have been tasked to help lead and develop the Commissioner’s Ambassador Program,” Howard said. “Being able to work with a collection of former players, who all meant so much to this game, and having the opportunity to assist Major League Baseball in its continued efforts to expand the footprint of the sport was something I knew I wanted to be involved in.”
What Will The Ambassadors Do?
The players will bring their unique cultural backgrounds to marquee events like the All-Star Game, the MLB World Tour, and the Draft Combine, offering athletes and youngsters a familiar face to look up to. This inclusivity extends even further, encompassing MLB Together community programs and youth baseball initiatives around the country.
The profound influence of representation at the highest echelons cannot be overstated when it comes to propelling baseball’s growth across all communities. The addition of luminaries such as Howard, Rollins, Suzuki, and Betances to the Commissioner’s Office team, which already boasts trailblazers like Ken Griffey Jr., who launched the inaugural HBCU Swingman Classic at the 2023 All-Star game, along with Albert Pujols, CC Sabathia, Raul Ibañez, and Adam Jones, amplifies the diversity that will inevitably shape the aspirations of the next generation of ballplayers worldwide.
The Commissioner’s Ambassador Program stands out as a potent catalyst for authentic change in a sport that has been yearning for it, with players who have a passion for the game and its growth. Ensuring that baseball diversity within this country is a priority is also a mission of the program, which has the potential to shape not just the future of baseball but also the hearts and minds of those who cherish it.