As a Chicago native, I’m proudly watching a group of black boys from my beloved south side make a positive impact on the world–and give another view of black males to the world–other than the ones they are getting regularly on Monday mornings after reports of record violence and shootings in the Windy City.
On the other hand, as a woman, I’m also proudly watching a young girl from Philadelphia become a fan favorite and land on the cover of Sports Illustrated making history as the first Little Leaguer to make the cover of that publication in it’s 60-year history. Why? Because she is a phenom at pitching out any batter that stands before her speeding baseball. Those batters are the guys in this sport. That. Surround. Her.
The team is the all-Black Jackie Robinson West All-Stars out of the Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago. The Sports Illustrated cover girl is Philly’s own Mo’ne Davis. Yes, it is sports. It is little league that is celebrating its 75th Year Anniversary. Give these kids their due for striving for excellence at what they love–baseball. Each is competing at the Little League World Series. The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars are now one win away from playing for the United States Championship. They advanced to the semifinals Tuesday night after beating Pearland, Texas 6 to 1. They are now set to play Thursday against the loser of Wednesday’s game between Pennsylvania and Nevada. The 13-year-old Davis is likely to take the mound in this match-up from Williamsport, Pa. If Pennsylvania wins, the boys of Jackie Robinson West could face Davis’ smokin’ arm. Wow!
These young athletes have ignited interest in African Americans in baseball and some say, renewed interest in the history of African Americans in the sport including the Negro Leagues. Martin University is hosting a talk on the history of Negro League baseball right here in Indianapolis at the Gathertorium on Martin’s campus on Friday, August 22 at 10 a.m. The program features baseball historian and author Phil S. Dixon. Martin is located at 2171 Avondale Place on Indy’s east side.
TONIGHT: The game between Davis’ Pennsylvania team and Nevada is at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.
(photo credits: JRWAS photo-myfoxchicago & Davis photo-Sports Illustrated)
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