TEMPE, Ariz. — Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” A group of young men were speaking from loudspeakers, with modern beats layered on top. Black The annual baseball practice was held by the players of Major League Baseball. Dream The Series of the Weekend

Tony Reagins was the Major League Baseball Executive behind this event. to A visitor said: “When was the last time you heard a Dr. King speech during B.P.?”

Maybe never was it the answer. Jerry Manuel is a former Mets and Chicago White Sox manager. The audio mix was recorded over the telephone. Manuel also serves as one of the coaches for the Dream Series is a name for an event that was named in part. to honor King’s legacy, and designed to Increase the number Black Major League Baseball.

“Just seeing all this gives me goose bumps,” Reagins said.

Three months have passed since M.L.B. was humiliated and embarrassed by the World Series. It was the first time it had been played without an American-born player in 72 years. Black player.

Baseball, the sport that once helped redefine racial boundaries in American society when Jackie Robinson integrated the National League in 1947 — and fielded multicultural rosters for decades — had been slipping backward in recent years. However, the 2022 World Series was a stark reminder. It featured the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.

There are many problems beyond the field. There are 30 M.L.B. While the 30 M.L.B. team is making great progress, there’s still a lack of diversity among front-office staff and coaches. to Organizations that are independent of the government. However Black American baseball participation, even in once-thriving Negro leagues was long a hallmark of the game, but that is now in decline.

This effort to Reagins was hired in 2015 to help address this issue. The rewards of the league’s various programs, Reagins insists, will be seen in the coming years.

“I was disappointed, I was discouraged,” Reagins stated that he had learned nothing at the time. Black Players would participate in the 2022 World series. “But also some anger to have that story highlighted at the biggest stage of our game. I knew that was going to be the narrative, but I also knew there is so much work being done to create a pathway for years to come.”

This is what he loves to do. Reagins was from 2007 to 2007 the Los Angeles Angels general manager. to 2011. Joined M.L.B. With a mandate to Diversify the game starting from scratch. He was instrumental in the creation and revival of several programs for development, such as the Dream The Series takes place each year at M.L.K. Day weekend, Breakthrough Series and Hank Aaron Invitational are held each year during M.L.K.

All the programs and more to We were created. to You are often underserved Black girls and boys into baseball, softball and girls’ baseball, and to The college coaches and professional scouts eventually found the best players like J.P. Massey.

“I’m a kid from inner city Chicago, so for them to bring me all the way to Atlanta, to where there are different scouts, it’s a chance to showcase your talent in front of different sets of eyes,” Massey was a pitcher at 22 years old who claimed he may not have been able to make it. to He could not have the mentoring and coaching that he received during the programs at the University of Minnesota.

It is becoming more important to pay.toMany disadvantaged young players are unable to participate in the -play era. While elite travel coaches and expensive travel teams funnel richer players towards showcase events, it is a time when private coaches and coaches make this possible. to Be noticed by recruiters and scouts. The majority of programs that fall under the M.L.B. umbrella, which are also supported by the players’ union and U.S.A. Baseball is free and includes travel.

Last weekend, former players and managers, like Manuel, LaTroy Hawkins, Marvin Freeman and Mike Scioscia, were scattered around the Angels’ training facility, working closely with many of the best young Black Players in the country M.L.B. According to M.L.B., approximately 600 series alumni are still alive today to Reagins also hails play at college as an equally significant achievement to This is the central mission.

Reagins, a long-time Scouter, insists that the game of baseball is popular with young people. Black athletes.

“You hear, ‘Oh, Black kids aren’t playing baseball,’” He stated. “I see them all the time. All the time. When I hear that, I can understand it. But that person is probably regurgitating something they just heard.”

Despite this, it is not difficult to see why the number of African American M.L.B. players has been declining. The percentage of American-born Americans grew by 1% last year Black The number of players who were on the rosters for opening day was 7.2 to University of Central Florida’s annual Racial- and Gender Report card. It was the lowest percentile since 1991, the year the data began to be collected. This year, African American athletes made up 18% of M.L.B. rosters.

However, the sheer number Black Players in M.L.B. Continues to decline, the number of draft picks has increased drastically in recent years, in part because of the league’s programs. The league’s programs are responsible for the increase in draft picks. to The same study was used in 10 rounds. 65 Americans were included. Black The draft included 349 picks (1.8 percent). Many of these players are alumni of M.L.B.’s development programs.

M.L.B. The 2022 draft is seen as counterpoint to The sobering World Series. The American-born player who was part of one or more M.L.B. programs is responsible for four of the five first players and six of their top 18. development programs. American-born nine players were selected in the initial round. Black players.

Richard Lapchick, the director of U.C.F.’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, which produces the report card, called the World Series a “jaw-dropping” moment. M.L.B. is a good idea, he believes. He believes that M.L.B. is doing a sincere attempt to Reverse the trend.

“The draft numbers show a sign of hope,” He said: “but we are not going to know for a couple of years if it will make the change they hope it will.”

Children may soon see players such as Zion Rose, Sir Jamison, and other catchers with Scioscia. Scioscia was the Angels long-term manager and Dodgers All-Star catcher.

“To work closely with a coach like that is incredible,” Jones is a Blue Island junior high school student, just outside of Chicago. His goal is to Become an M.L.B. All-Star, “and to start my own foundation to help get inner city kids involved with baseball.”

There are many theories. to Why is baseball less popular? Black Many have been athletes. to It is also a result of the appeal of sports such as football, basketball and hockey.

“Baseball was once a pillar of our community,” Manuel, a former manager who is now 69, said this. “Our generation, we didn’t do our job to keep kids involved in baseball.”

Cam Johnson from Maryland is still a great left-handed pitching pitcher and has not given up on pursuing a career as a professional baseball player.

Johnson stands 6ft 5inches tall, weighs 240lbs and says many people have tried. to persuade him to Change to Basketball or football. Darwin Pennye is a Kansas City Royals scout who also serves as youth development director and coach. to These sports are addictive.

“We are trying to keep the Patrick Mahomeses of the world in our game,” Pennye said.

Patrick Mahomes was the son of Pat Mahomes who was a Major League pitcher. He chose football along with other dual-sport athletes like Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and Jameis Winston.

Hawkins is a 21-year Major League pitcher, who mentored Johnson and encouraged him to throw. Johnson threw on Saturday before about 12 M.L.B. Reagins encouraged all the scouts to Participate in the Dream Series. Reagins said more scouts were showing up at the events in the wake of last year’s draft, but he would like to see even more.

Programs are designed for players of all levels. They start in elementary schools and the 44 top players each year are invited. to You can play in Truist Park’s special game, which is the Atlanta Braves home. Here, they have the same facilities as major leaguers.

“That was the highlight of my baseball life,” Jones was the Illinois catcher.

Some people don’t make it this far. Fateen McDaniel is one example of someone who has gone further because they were mentored. McDaniel caused so much trouble at the Hank Aaron Invitational many years ago, that Reagins nearly sent him home. Manuel, McDaniel’s mentor, said to Reagins, “If they do, we will never hear from McDaniel.” Today, McDaniel serves as an aviation boatswain’s mate, launching aircraft from the deck of the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman

McDaniel spoke by telephone, describing how Manuel and other Little Leaguers in Sacramento, Calif., when he first met him.

“All these kids, a majority Black, a lot of them broken homes, single-parent homes, and they put us in a stable setting,” McDaniel said. “I probably did some bad things to make him look bad. If I could take all that back, I would.

“Baseball kept me out of a lot of trouble that I could have been in. I’m getting married soon, and we’re talking about having kids. I would definitely put my son into programs like that.”

It Dream Reagins, who heard Dave Stewart (a pitcher for many clubs including the Oakland Athletics) lamenting the absence of series, was the inspiration behind Series. Black pitchers and catchers in today’s game. This program features about 80 players and emphasizes these positions.

Termarr Johnson, the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, showed some promise for Hunter Greene and Termarr Greene. 4 pick in last year’s draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, are beacons for the younger players. Greene hosted all four to He visited his Phoenix home on Saturday night, and sent them letters and spikes of encouragement.

Greene, along with all those involved in the program, conveyed one thing: You still have a place in baseball.

“A lot of these guys are the only Black players on their teams at home,” Manuel. “But when they come here, look around and see all these other players who look like them, they see that they aren’t the only ones.”