The World Baseball Classic Is Turning Out To Be Another MLBbro Show | The Best In Black Baseball Is On Display

The World Baseball Classic Is Turning Out To Be Another MLBbro Show | The Best In Black Baseball Is On Display

Four MLBbros are set to compete in the 2023 World Baseball Classic championship game for Team USA after defeating the Cuban National Team 14-2 in the WBC’s semifinals.

While the rest of Major League Baseball are currently in Spring Training and preparing for Opening Day, MLBbros Mookie Betts, Tim Anderson, Devin Williams, and Cedric Mullins are already playing for international gold in March. Back in 2017, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen and Marcus Stroman put Team USA on their backs and captured the country’s first title. 



Now this year marks the first appearance in the WBC for this new group of MLBbros, aiming to leave their mark on the global stage.  

Mookie Betts 

Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Betts, who officially committed to Team USA back in August 2022, has spent most of the tournament as the team’s leadoff hitter. The former American League MVP has a stat line of .296/.310/.333 in 27 at bats at this point in the WBC.

“I’m having the time of my life playing these games,” Betts said to La Vida Baseball. “This is very similar to the World Series and when we play, we want to play with passion. It’s not that much fun when you’re just playing and nobody cares. I think if you ask anybody on the field, we’re having some of the most fun we’ve ever had.” 

An everyday right fielder, Betts has also spent time at second base for Team USA.

“My brain’s in it more,” Betts told the Los Angeles Times, comparing second base to right field. “There are certain intricacies that make you a good right fielder. You’re just not in every play and whatnot like you are in the middle of the infield.

“But I definitely enjoy playing right. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t enjoy it. I love going out there and playing and trying to be the best that I can be.”

Betts is no stranger to second base, receiving his first Major League start at the position in 2021 after recovering from an injury. Betts also had 230 starts at second base during his time in the minors.



But Betts is not the only MLBbro experimenting with other positions during the WBC.

Tim Anderson

Chicago White Sox All Star Tim Anderson transitioned to every day second baseman for Team USA due to the roster depth at shortstop. Anderson has been solid for USA, batting .313/.368/.500 while also playing slick defense at second.



It appears the switch to second base is not slowing Anderson down.

“It’s alright, not too bad. I got comfortable as the game went on and I was able to make some plays,” Anderson said to MLB Network after USA’s victory against Canada. 

Anderson appears to be using the WBC as an opportunity to remind everyone how good he is after battling an injury riddled season in 2022.

“I’m always out to prove something,” Anderson said to The Athletic. “Just to be among some of the greats, I just get a chance for the world to see what kind of athlete I am. And also the guys get to know what kind of person I am, the human being.

The “WBCbros” are also getting it done on the mound.


Devin Williams

Brewers All Star reliever Devin ‘Airbender’ Williams made his biggest impact in the quarterfinals against Venezuela. In the eighth inning of the matchup, Williams would pitch around a leadoff double by striking out the next two batters and forcing a line out for the final out of the inning. Williams contributions in the eighth were vital as USA held on to a 9-7 lead to advance to the semifinals. “The Airbender”, known for his nasty changeup, has been sensational in his role in these games, giving up only one hit and zero earned runs.


MLBbro Devin Williams ‘AKA’ Airbender Will Be In LA For His First All-Star Game | As He Should


Cedric ‘CM Storm’ Mullins

Orioles’ outfielder Cedric ‘CM Storm’ Mullins has had a limited role in the WBC, batting .333 with a home run in six at bats. The home run was an eighth inning bomb against Cuba which would prove to be USA’s 14th and final run scored. The known bag thief has also been utilized as a pinch runner.



Team USA general manager, Tony Reagins spoke to MLBbro on how he felt about the Black representation at the WBC.

“That’s cool in the fact that black baseball will be represented. A number of our coaches are African-American. Some of our most talented players when you talk about Cedric, Mookie, [and] Devin Williams are going to be key parts of this. I think that black baseball will be represented in a number of ways, not only on the field, but in the dugout so I’m looking forward to it.” 



With a combined 10 All Star appearances, these four players are representing Black baseball on the global stage. Through their elite set of skills, they continue to be among the best representation for Black fans and players alike as they prepare with Team USA for the WBC championship game.

Andre Dawson Classic Continues To Be A Conduit Of Diversity & Inspiration For Black Baseball Explosion

Andre Dawson Classic Continues To Be A Conduit Of Diversity & Inspiration For Black Baseball Explosion

The 2023 Andre Dawson Classic took place at the University of New Orleans this year on the weekend of February 24th-26th. The annual event, marked its 15th year of showcasing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their baseball programs, coinciding with the start of the college baseball season. 

Formerly known as the “Urban Invitational”, the 2023 Andre Dawson Classic features seven HBCUs this year:

  • Alabama A&M University (Huntsville, Ala.) – 1st appearance
  • Alabama State University (Montgomery, Ala.) – 7th appearance; 2012-2013, 2018-2020, 2022-2023
  • Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, Fla.) – 3rd appearance; 2019, 2022-2023
  • Grambling State University (Grambling, La.) – 11th appearance; 2011-2012, 2014-2020, 2022-2023
  • Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss.) – 2nd appearance; 2022-2023
  • Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas) – 8th appearance; 2012-2013, 2016-2020, 2022-2023
  • Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.) – 15th appearance; 2008-2020, 2022-2023
  • University of New Orleans (New Orleans, La.) – a non-HBCU – will co-host games of the tournament as they make their 9th overall appearance (2014-2020, 2022-2023)



The Major League Baseball-hosted event received a national spotlight through a live doubleheader feature simulcasted by MLB Network and as part of an initiative to generate interest in baseball among young black athletes. 

Andre Dawson, a 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, spoke to MLB Network on what it meant to him for MLB to showcase HBCU talent. 

“When Major League Baseball reached out to me it was quite the honor…. I have achieved many accolades and awards in my career, but this is right there at the top.”

MLB Network began its broadcast with Florida A&M taking on Southern. The game was highlighted by an explosive FAMU offense who had fifteen total hits including two home runs. FAMU, who benefited from a five-run 8th inning, won the game 12-6. 

Alumni of both MLB Development Initiatives and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs were included on every Andre Dawson Classic roster, most notably including:

  •  42 players who have participated in MLB Development initiatives (such as the Dream Series, Breakthrough Series, and the Hank Aaron Invitational)
  • A 121% increase from 2022
  • 44 alumni from RBI, a 47% increase from 2022
  • 10 players from the Houston Astros RBI and Youth Academy (across five ADC teams)


  • 5 players from the Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson Baseball Foundation RBI program in Birmingham, AL
  • 5 players from Atlanta Braves RBI
  • 5 players from Puerto Rico RBI
  • 19 alumni of MLB Youth Academies, including 10 from Houston and six from New Orleans


MLB also recognized that to increase black participation in baseball the players must be introduced early on at the youth level. In conjunction with the Andre Dawson Classic, a three-day 12u tournament consisting of teams from RBI and/or Youth Academy programs were held.

Throughout the weekend, many of the young players watched the HBCU games while also finding time to mingle with Dawson, who was there in attendance. 

“The kids, they’ve got to start young,” Dawson said to MLB Network. “You have to keep it fun for them. They have to get quality coaching, first and foremost, and not this parents coaching stuff.

“Let them play the game and enjoy it for what it is – recreation. But they learn the craft, too. This can take them to the next level. If you can continue to work with them and help them, get better, you increase their interest in the sport.”

The young players experienced the company of the Baseball Hall of Famer, a Black man whose presence offered a level of confidence in their baseball future. The gravity of these moments should not be understated when it comes to representation: if the kids see someone of the same ethnicity make it to the big leagues, it helps them realize that their own goals are attainable.

In addition to Dawson, who is one of only three Baseball Hall of Famers who are HBCU alumni (including Lou Brock and Larry Doby), other special guests in New Orleans will include HBCU alumni and former Big Leaguers Marquis Grissom and Marvin Freeman, former Major League Manager & current MLB Baseball Development Consultant Jerry Manuel, and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick, among others.

The Andre Dawson Classic is a precursor to the HBCU Swingman Classic, which is powered by the MLB- MLBPA Youth Development Foundation and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., scheduled for Friday, July 7th at T-Mobile Park during 2023 MLB All-Star Week in Seattle.



Representation Matters

Major League Baseball’s concerted efforts to make baseball palatable to young Black players not only helps the black youth, but they also help expand the game overall. Inclusion helps baseball evolve and become more innovative rather than stagnant. Bringing in diversity assists the sport in finding a new set of eyes from fans who may have felt ostracized due to a lack of representation. 

Diversity Keeps The Sport Alive

Promoting growth is why initiatives such as the Andre Dawson Classic are integral to the game. Many of the college players who competed in the tournament were products of the RBI and Youth Academy pipeline. It is a cause for optimism that the number of players who were alumni of these youth programs played in this year’s Dawson Classic has increased. MLB Development initiatives are working.

In a statement to, co-founder and program director of the Chicago White Sox ACE Kenny Fullman expressed joy about the Dawson Classic.

  “One of the great things about this tournament, our kids don’t get to watch a lot of college baseball,” said Fullman. “A lot of times our kids don’t get to see people who look like them playing college baseball.

“This is a great opportunity for one, to see college baseball, and two, to see a lot of African-Americans and diverse people playing college baseball at a high level. I’m so thankful for this tournament.”

MLB The Show 23 Adds Negro League Greats, But Also Takes You Back & Tells The Story Of These Heroes

MLB The Show 23 Adds Negro League Greats, But Also Takes You Back & Tells The Story Of These Heroes

MLB the Show franchise announced the inclusion of eight Negro League Legends into this year’s MLB the Show 23 edition of the video game. The players in the package include Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, Rube Foster, Hilton Smith, Hank Thompson, John Donaldson and Martín Dihigo. The legendary Negro Leaguers will be apart of a game mode called “Storylines”. 


MLB The Show 23 Adds Negro League Greats


This has been the latest efforts of Major League Baseball to acknowledge their complicated history with the Negro Leagues in the past few years. Back in December 2020, Major League Baseball announced the addition of Negro League statistics into their official records. 


(Some) Negro League Stats Officially Recognized By


MLB the Show video game developer Sony partnered with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and its President Bob Kendrick, to add the legendary Negro Leaguers into the video game.  Sony brand strategist Ramone Russell released a statement to the media regarding the addition of the historical players. 

 “The Negro Leagues are an important part of baseball and American history, whose iconic figures are not nearly as well known as other baseball players of the era,” Russell said. “We’ve thought about introducing the Negro Leagues into MLB The Show for years, but we needed to figure out how to do it the right way for an interactive medium.” 

 Russell also expounded on what to expect in the new Storyline feature. 

 “The best way I can explain it is, it’s an amalgamation of a short documentary series combined with curated moments of gameplay. Each of the eight players has a storyline, and the coolest part is learning about these players then immediately being able to play as them in the game. That transition from the images and video to the on-field gameplay experience is powerful and immersive. The ambiance is carried through, from the uniforms to the crowd and everything in between.” 

New Roster Of Negro League Stars Each Season 


The new immersive game mode will not be a one-off addition. Next year’s MLB the Show will include a new roster of Negro League players who will be implemented in Season Two of Storylines.  Along with the inclusion of the Negro League players, Sony’s San Diego Studios announced a donation of one dollar to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for every MLB The Show 23 Collector’s Edition sold in the U.S. from now through the end of 2023. 

The inclusion of Negro Leaguers in the MLB the Show franchise displays a new creative attempt to bring awareness to these revered players of the past who were shunned from the Major Leagues and unable to show their talents on the pro level in the height of the Jim Crow Era. Talented players such as Satchel Paige, who did not get to make his Major League debut until the age of 42, will have their stories told to a new generation of baseball fans. Paige himself was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 via the Negro League Committee. 



The Negro Leagues were created due to the harsh racist climate that persisted in America which denied Blacks the opportunities to compete with their white counterparts. The first Negro League was formed in 1887, just twenty-four years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 while the last great  league folded in 1951. That is nearly sixty-four years of Black players being forced to compete under the “separate but equal” doctrine.  

Major League Baseball has made considerable efforts throughout the years to acknowledge Negro League players by inducting players in the Hall of Fame and integrating Negro League statistics into their record books.  

Now in 2023, fans will be familiar with the Negro Leaguers through video game play, giving fans an interactive lesson on baseball history. Black players who were once denied the opportunity to play on Major League fields will now be represented on every baseball fans’ video game console.