#earntheA is a part of the rebranding of L.E.A.D. Center For Youth, a sports based development organization that uses the sport of baseball to help Black boys overcome three curve balls that threaten their success: crime, poverty and racism.
When L.E.A.D. started in 2007, we served Black boys citywide, attracting some of the top players from Dekalb, Rockdale and Fulton counties to play baseball for us proudly wearing the Ambassador “A” on their jersey and hat. They put into action our core values of excellence, humility, integrity, loyalty, stewardship and teamwork on and off the field. They weren’t perfect but they were our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors and we protected them and their need to dream.
In 2010, we committed to exclusively serving Black boys, grades 6-12, from Atlanta Public Schools where I received my foundational education. We continued to have success on the baseball field competing in national tournaments.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the quality of our play on the field to suffer. The boys in our program possessed the spirit of competition, but lost the opportunity to receive thousands of reps and hundreds of in-game at-bats needed to compete at the national level.
L.E.A.D. now is partnering with Minority Baseball Prospects (MBP) to help us win championships on the diamond and continue helping our boys win at the game of life.
On Sunday, August 20, 2023, L.E.A.D. will sponsor MBP signature evaluations for 100 high school baseball players attending Atlanta Public Schools.
Using MBP’s proprietary, signature Swaggy Chain rating system, select players will be invited to join L.E.A.D.’s Ambassador Program which includes year-round baseball training, development and competition, as well as college and career support, all at no-cost to families.
Quincy Carter is a friend of mine and former teammate in the Chicago Cubs Minor Leagues. In high school, he was the top quarterback in the country but delayed getting on the football field because he was our second round draft pick for the Cubs. He later went on to be QB1 at the University of Georgia and the first Black quarterback to start for the Dallas Cowboys. I remember talking to him one night after he had a long day of Cowboys Training Camp. He told me that he was working really hard to earn his Cowboys Star.
I was confused–he was their second round pick and the heir apparent to the recently retired Hall-of-Famer, Troy Aikman. Well, apparently, the Cowboys didn’t just give you a Star because you were on the team.
Starting this year, the Ambassador “A” will be earned in a new way.
August through October, our boys will compete in baseball games and national tournaments for L.E.A.D. wearing our signature red jersey and hat with a number on the back. However, the front of the jersey and their hat will be blank until our 2023-24 Ambassadors are announced in November.
At that time they will have worked to #EarnTheA.
C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 22 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and a track record of success that can work for you.