The Atlanta Braves outfield is stacked with talent and they are young. I’m still on Cloud 9 with the decision that Frank Wren made to bring the Upton’s to Atlanta.
Why did he do it? I don’t know the exact answer but in my opinion, he did it because he felt that they were good enough to help the Braves win. That is a simple answer considering that every major league team wants to win championships and the general manager is charged to put a winning team on the field.
I have listened to so many people over the years say that African-American players never get a chance in Atlanta. Most of these conversations happen in the barber shop of course. The bottom line is that you have to be good enough to play this game regardless of your race. Jason Heyward, BJ and Justin Upton are all good enough to help the Braves win and that is why they have the privilege of wearing the “A” on their hat with Braves across their chest. The Atlanta Braves is more than a baseball team, it is a national brand.
The timing couldn’t be any better for a school age African-American male that has dreams of playing this game. For my Atlanta based non-profit organization L.E.A.D. Inc., the MLB isn’t the focus. Instead, we want to continue to increase the numbers of African-Americans that are competing at the collegiate level. According to the NCAA, in 2009-10, the participation of African-American baseball players was less than 6% on its Division 1 teams.
100% of L.E.A.D.’s Ambassadors graduate from high and enroll into college while 92% of them enroll in college with baseball scholarship opportunities. How would Atlanta operate if we used baseball to afford more African-American males to have the opportunity to attend and graduate from college and work for the Atlanta Braves, Coke, Delta, CDC, UPS, etc.?
L.E.A.D. serves over 500 Atlanta Public School males K-12 with year round programming and most if not all of them will be tuned in to watch several Braves games this season on television. Several of them that track well with our Civic Stats will cheer on the Braves live at Turner Field with my wife, my two daughters and I. It should be against the law to not watch Braves baseball if you live in Atlanta this season!
Thank you Atlanta Braves for continuing to add good faces to the roster.