The Heart Of MLBbro Culture Pumps Through MLB’s Various Diversity and Development Programs

The Heart Of MLBbro Culture Pumps Through MLB’s Various Diversity and Development Programs

This past Monday we celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, a day that changed the course of Major League Baseball forever. As the first ever MLBbro, he showed the world what a Black player in baseball could do.

Although we have come very far, there is still much work to be done. There was virtually no movement in the amount of Black players in the league this year, up only 0.2% from last year.



Major League Baseball Is All In On Diversity & Development 

This is not for a lack of effort by Major League Baseball. Several programs have been implemented to help grow not only the popularity of the league but add more diversity. With programs like the Hank Aaron Invitational giving black players not only a chance to showcase their talent, but the opportunity to meet former MLBbros who have had success in the major leagues. Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr and Dave Winfiield are two of the MLBbros that are instructors in this program.


MLBbros Comprised 10.3 % Percent Of 260 Opening Day Starters | Black List By The Numbers


HBCU Classic, DREAM Series, Breakthrough Series, Hank Aaron Invitational

There was also the 2nd Annual Cactus Jack HBCU Classic which occurred in February. This game has shined a spotlight on colleges that feature Black players and give them a chance to be on display in a huge setting. The schools get to play a round-robin style tournament at the Houston Astros stadium, Minute Maid Park. Ken Griffey’s HBCU Swingman’s Classic has become a flagship event for Black college players with MLB dreams. 

HBCU Swingman Classic Comes To Texas | Ken Griffey Jr’s Star Shines Light On Black College Baseball’s Brightest



The DREAM Series in Arizona and the Breakthrough Series, in Vero Beach, Florida, where Jackie Robinson had Spring Training with the Brooklyn Dodgers, are designed to give African Americans opportunity to get exposed to some MLB eyes and introduced to a new fan base. 


The Black baseball renaissance must be televised


Since the debut of Robinson in 1947, MLBbros have been a force in the big leagues.

However, in recent years, while the sport has become more global, African American participation has slimmed tremendously. There must be support, opportunity, and intentionality in increasing these numbers. Major League baseball is doing their part, and MLBbros of the past must continue to do their part as well as they are the example that it can be achieved.


Hank Aaron Invitational: African-American MLB Pitching Fraternity Discusses State of Black Pitcher


Seeing is believing, and putting notable MLBbros at the forefront is key in succeeding in this goal. The Chief Baseball Development Officer, Tony Reagins is a black man, who leads the aforementioned Breakthrough Series, and has been advocating for this change and doing his best to aid the cause. The more focus shed on this issue, the spooner it gets better.


Chris Archer Is Now Part of LA Dodgers Front Office and He’s Seeing The Fruits Of MLB Black Baseball Initiatives

Chris Archer Is Now Part of LA Dodgers Front Office and He’s Seeing The Fruits Of MLB Black Baseball Initiatives

As an African-American man who was raised in the inner city, I know all too well about the struggles of bringing baseball to these areas. The lack of fields, the lack of funding and facilities, which leads to a lack of fans amongst my peers due to them not being able to play the sport. 

 Black American Representation In Baseball Is Low


Still earlier this year, me finding out that there were only 6% of us in the MLB was staggering. This is exactly what former Ace (now Los Angeles Dodgers front office special assistant) MLBbro Chris Archer wants to change. 


I would love to see more representation, but I do understand it takes time for these things to happen, the former Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins pitcher said on an appearance on “Foul Territory.” “One thing that I love to talk about are the initiatives. The RBI program, the Dream Series that was just this last weekend, the amount of Black American players that have been getting drafted the last several years, kind of shows MLB’s investment into the community, the seeds are starting to be planted and we’re seeing some fruit from those.”


If change is what Archer wants, he’s certainly at the right organization to help implement that. The Dodgers are known for bridging the gap in between African Americans and baseball. Both in history and present day. 

LA Dodgers Always Had A Connection To Black Baseball 


We all know the story of Jackie Robinson, the HOF MLBbro who broke pro baseball’s color barrier when he signed with the Dodgers and eventually started at first base on April 15, 1974. We also know about Dave Roberts, who in 2015 became the first minority manager in Dodgers franchise history and also became the second African American manager to win a World Series. 



The Dodgers continue their efforts of supporting and promoting baseball in underserved communities through their Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation renovating and constructing Dream Fields throughout Southern California. 



Dream Series 

One program Archer mentioned, the Dream Series, held its 7th annual baseball camp at Tempe Diablo Stadium (the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels) on Martin Luther King Weekend.  The program featured nearly 80 top African American and Latino high school players from across the nation. 

 The athletes received elite-level instruction from former Major and Minor league players, managers, and coaches. There were also scheduled appearances from MLBbro stars such as CC Sabathia, Josiah Gray and Dream Series Alumnus Hunter Greene (just to name a few). 


Chris Archer Is In A Position To Help Change The Culture 

Archer holds a career record of 63-89 with a very respectable ERA of 3.93 with 1,454 K’s. His career record doesn’t really do him justice as injuries stunted the two-time All-Star’s growth and never allowed him to reach his peak. However, Archer’s knowledge, his position as a rare Black starting pitcher and his new role in the front office with the Dodgers allows him a chance to influence and fix some of baseball’s obvious flaws. Inner-city talent is essential to providing athletics with the greatest and most talented performers on the biggest stages.

The battle to bring baseball to the inner cities is ongoing, with much more work to be done, here at MLBbro we stand with Chris Archer and will do our part to return that 6% into a much higher number.

‘No, I Catch, I’m A Catcher’ | IMG Star Catcher And MLB Draft Prospect Zion Rose Has A Refined Sales Pitch From Working In The Family Business

‘No, I Catch, I’m A Catcher’ | IMG Star Catcher And MLB Draft Prospect Zion Rose Has A Refined Sales Pitch From Working In The Family Business

IMG Academy’s baseball team just secured its first-ever undefeated season. The Ascenders, 25-0 record capped off a season where they were recently named the 2023 MaxPreps national champions.


Led by star pitcher Cameron Johnson, who’s the 24th-ranked according to Prospects Live, and the 41st-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline. It’s safe to say Johnson, is a very likely first round pick in next month’s MLB Draft.


 IMG Academy Stud Pitcher And LSU Commit Cameron Johnson Just Letting The Chips Fall Where They May As MLB Draft Approaches



But what about the guy catching all that heat from Johnson, the young mound marauder?



That’s right IMG Academy star catcher, Zion Rose, is definitely a name to remember in next month’s three day festivities in Seattle, Washington at Lumen Field. The Chicago native himself is the 41st-ranked prospects by Prospects Live, and the 144th-ranked draft eligible prospect according to MLB Pipeline’s eligible draftees.




Put On: Several Young Stars Set to Flash MLBbro potential at 2023 MLB Draft Combine




Johnson Raves About 2023 Season: One For The Ages



Rose, who does all the dirty work behind the plate, was recently asked the Ascenders epic 2023 season. The Louisville commit was short and sweet in his response with this.



“It’s been an amazing year,” Rose said.


And with so much more still to unfold based on next month’s draft, Rose, just like many other prospects, will have a decision to make. If drafted, does he go to college or jump right into the professional ranks of the sport.


Rose who was a standout at the MLB Dream Series in January, used that to catapult into a great senior season. In fact, one scout mentioned that Rose is more than a catcher and can affect the game in many positions around the diamond.



“I like the swing,” the scout said. “He has bat speed, uses the whole field and he has pop. He can run and play multiple positions. I wouldn’t bet against him to catch. He has something to prove.



Rose Isn’t Moving From Behind The Plate 



“People ask me questions, ‘Do you play outfield?” Rose said. “I say, ‘No, I catch. I’m a catcher. ‘But also, I don’t take away from my ability that I can play the outfield. I can still do that. But I’m a catcher.”





Johnson Made Sure To Bring Family Business To Florida



Moving from Chicago to Bradenton, Florida was a huge change for Rose, who admitted it was a difficult being away from his family.



“Yeah, it’s been a little hard being away from my family.”



But Rose always had something with him to remind him of the “Windy City.”



Rose’s family owns a shea butter line called “Nature’s Dezzert,” and Rose reportedly brought some of that with him to Florida.



Rose has been selling the scents on campus.



“We have 12 or 13 scents and they all smell amazing.”


“I just bring down duffel bags of it and sell it here. They call me ‘Shea Butter Man’ on campus.”



Rose says the family started the business because his younger brother had really bad eczema, and over-the-counter stuff wasn’t working. He also says as a salesman is like dealing with different pitchers, can’t have the same script.



Rose is a salesman to the core pitching the product with this line.



“I’ve been full games of catching, and people are like, ‘How do you smell so good after catching a full game? I’m like it’s the product.”



Zion is set to get paid on the diamond, but we also know he’s a salesman at heart. That’s an easy sell to MLB teams looking for the first impactful catcher since Charles Johnson. 



Hank Aaron Invitational Is A Summertime Sample Of Baseball’s Black Excellence | Future MLBbros Will Be At Jackie Robinson Training Complex

Hank Aaron Invitational Is A Summertime Sample Of Baseball’s Black Excellence | Future MLBbros Will Be At Jackie Robinson Training Complex

Deion Sanders made some comments this week about why Blacks and baseball don’t seem to mix anymore like they once did. There’s a disconnect. Many of his points were valid, from high costs pricing certain minority families out of the sport to a low number of Black fathers passing the game on. While all of that is certainly true, MLB’s Diversity Team has been making incremental but successful efforts to increase Black participation in baseball at the grassroots and professional levels.

The Hank Aaron Invitational is one of these developmental programs that identify and encourage Black participation up the ladder.