Anderson, along with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton combined for five hits, four home runs, five runs, and 10 RBI on the giant stage of the most watched regular season baseball game since 2005.
The game served its purpose of creating an event that put the spotlight on baseball, which can struggle to keep America’s attention once football pushes its way back onto the scene.
The fact that Black ball players were the central figures in the outcome of the game was icing on the cake.
Alex Rodriguez made note of that fact, hoping that this historic moment might continue to inspire young Black athletes to give themselves a chance to fall in love with baseball.
@AROD nailed it. Great cultural perspective. Great insight. That’s why #MLBbro.com was started on April 1. If you support diversity in baseball then support the voice of that diversity by giving us a follow. pic.twitter.com/AZmq3dxp2K
Anderson and Black Ace CC Sabathia both openly stated that they had never seen the film and really didn’t plan too.
Major League Baseball’s fan base is the oldest its ever been, at an average of 57 years of age. By comparison, the NBA’s fan base is a full 15 years younger.
The country is getting younger, and browner. MLB has to start making a cultural adjustment.
Baseball can keep its “Field of Dreams” nostalgia fest, and also reach out to those fans who don’t see any reflection of themselves in the Iowa cornfields.
Here are a few sites that might resonate with Black families and honor the contributions that our community has made to making the game what it is today.
Rickwood Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Alabama is home to some of the greatest Black players to ever grace a big league diamond, including Henry Aaron and Tim Anderson. The Deep South has plenty of baseball talent and is home to dozens of minor league teams.
Why not celebrate that by partnering with the Birmingham Barons and hosting a Rickwood Classic Weekend?
A minor league affiliate of the White Sox, the Barons have hosted the game for years in the 110-year old ballpark.
Hamtramck Stadium, Hamtramck Michigan
MLB is already part of the effort to help restore the former home of the Detroit Stars. The ball park has been used as a community field for years, but once the restoration is complete, what better way to reopen than with a major league game.
There are other sites as well; stadiums that have endured in one way or another, still carrying memories from generations past. Any would be great.
Imagine the feeling of watching Black major leaguers walking out of the dugouts of stadiums that once provided the only stage for them to play, wearing the uniforms of the men whose dreams they now live.
Imagine the impact on Americans who would see again the fallacy of there ever being “separate but equal” conditions.
Imagine the stories suddenly being told by family members who had heard of or had seen some of those legendary players and inspiring the next generation to come.
Possibly the most famous line from Field of Dreams is “if you build it, they will come.”
Baseball has a chance to build a bridge to millions of potential fans.
The Hank Aaron Invitational is a two-week baseball extravaganza camp held from July 17- 30 at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida. It’s operated by MLB, the MLBPA and USA Baseball. Approximately 250 Black and brown players (ages 13-18) from across the United States receive elite-level training from former Major League players and coaches.
Instructors include former Major League manager Jerry Manuel and former All-Stars such as Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., his dad Ken Griffey Sr, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Tom “Flash” Gordon, Marquis Grissom, Reggie Smith, Luis Alicea, Willie Banks, Lou Collier, Eric Davis, Marvin Freeman, Charles Johnson, Pat Mahomes Sr, among others.
Bo Porter, a former MLB player, manager, coach, executive, and Washington Nationals announcer is also one of the instructors. Porter currently serves as MLB’s Director of Coaching Development.
In the spirit of the Hank Aaron Invitational and its commitment to leveling out the playing field for minority athletes, Porter has an academy that opened out of Texas in 2021 called Bo Porter’s Future All-Stars Sports Development Academy. Former Olympic gold medalist and 15-year minor league pro, John Cotton, is Director of Baseball Operations for the academy.
The goal of the facility is to inspire student-athletes and future MLBbros to achieve whole-person development, educating and advising parents, and empowering educators and coaches to become transformational leaders.
Da Gambler caught up with these baseball lifers as they evaluated talent at the Hank Aaron Invitational this past week.
Ray Doswell, Bob Kendricks, and the entire Negro Leagues Baseball Musem team are excited to introduce an educational initiative called “Negro Leagues 101,” which includes a series of programs, lectures, and events along with a bevy of exciting virtual learning experiences about the accomplishments, contributions, perseverance and strength of Black and Brown players through baseball history, including a virtual tour of the NLBM.
Taijuan Walker has silenced many of his haters this season by taking the city that never sleeps by storm. He has the seventh-lowest ERA in the Major Leagues and struck out a career-high 12 batters during his start this week against the Chicago Cubs.
Through the first three months of the season, Taijuan Walker has been the steal of the off season. The Mets were the only team to offer him a contract, which is for 2 years and $20 million with a player option for the third.
“Everything’s worked out well for everyone,” Walker told reporters. “I’m glad the Mets were my only offer.
Taijuan Walker's 2.12 ERA is the second-lowest in history by a Met in his first 12 starts with the franchise.
The lowest: Al Leiter, who produced a 1.70 ERA over his first 12 starts in 1998.
In Tuesday’s start against the Cubs, Walker struck out a career-high 12 batters and lowered his ERA to 2.12 which is good for seventh in the league. It was his third start this season without allowing a walk and he has caught fire since returning from the Injured List.
In the four starts since his return, Walker has thrown 24 innings and struck out 31 hitters.
His Black Knight rotation mate Marcus Stroman has been the Andre 3000 to Walker’s Big Boi. In his last two starts, Stroman has thrown 13 innings with 15 strikeouts and only one earned run.
Taijuan will get the Fathers Day start for the Mets as they travel to the nation’s capital to take on Josh Harrison, Josh Bell and the rest of the Nationals.
2. Mookie Betts
We have high expectations for Mookie, being that he is the best player in all of baseball. He got off to a slow start this season for his standards, but during the past week, Betts showed flashes of his MVP-caliber skills.
He’s hit .318 with three home runs, four RBI, eight runs, five walks and a .727 Slugging Percentage in his last seven games.
Bett’s has four multi-hit games this month and on Tuesday night against the Phillies, it was the 7th inning of a 3-3 game when Mookie stepped to the plate and blasted a solo home run.
It was the first time he hit a homer with Dodger stadium completely full.
Mookie travels to Arizona this weekend to take on the Diamondbacks who will be rocking their city connect uniforms on Friday night.
3. Marcus “Rock Any Park U” Semien
Marcus Semien has kept his hot bat from the month of May going in June. The reigning American League Player of the Month is batting .263 with three home runs this month, including a leadoff bomb Wednesday night against the Yankees’ Garrett Cole.
Through his last seven games, Semien is hitting .286 with three home runs, six RBI, seven runs and a stolen base. He is on track to start at second base for the American League All-Star team and is in the middle of what is a career year leading up to his free agency this offseason.
Bobby Bradley has been rocking out since joining Cleveland on June 5th as they have been riddled with injuries and he has given them exactly what they have been missing: power at the first base position. Thursday Bradley hit his fourth home run in just 10 games this season. He is now batting .375 with four home runs and 11 RBI.
Bradley has also helped the Indians stay afloat in a wide-open American League. Since his call up they have a record of 8-2 and sit in second place in the American League Central, four games behind Tim Anderson’s White Sox while being only a game back of Michael Brantley and the Houston Astros for the final Wild Card spot.
After finishing a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles Thursday, Bradley will travel to Pittsburg to take on Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pirates.
Justin Upton was named Rob Parker’s Home Boi Highlight after batting .360 with 10 runs scored and two home runs last week. He recently moved to the leadoff spot in the Angels lineup and raised his batting average from .120 to .232.