Jan. 19, 2014 AUGUSTA, GA-- A group of players visited Augusta this weekend with the idea of taking baseball back.
The sport hasn't really gone anywhere in most circles, but a void exists in African-American players at most levels. Something one group has set out to change.
The Metropolitan Junior baseball league is doing a lot to fill the void. It's a nationwide youth baseball league for African-American players.
Kids from all over the country played a weekend of baseball at various Augusta baseball stadium. The championship games being played at the home of the Augusta Greenjackets, Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The idea of the MJBL is to level the playing field, providing training and opportunities for every baseball player. However, the most important aspect of the league is encouragement.
"It's just not being preached to them that they can do it. A lot of coaches and a lot of teams are telling kids, 'you can't do this, go to football or go to basketball'. These kids have really good talent, and they like to work hard, so they deserve a shot," 13-year-old Dawson Joe said.
The MJBL makes sure all of their talent has the resources to succeed, reaching out to college coaches and scouts. In total, the league is home to 1,000 players from 20 states.
"I think I get to learn something from them, and they can learn something from me. I can make a big impact on their life and they can put one on mine too," Cross Creek baseball player Luis Campusano said.
"As long as we continue to offer baseball and provide the right type of training for baseball. The children will come and they will stay," MJBL Virginia commissioner Askia Sparrow said.