MJBL Classic/Black World Series Week Begins in Our Nation’s Capital on Tuesday, July 30

(Richmond, VA)-  The Metropolitan Junior Baseball League (MJBL) is presenting its 33rd annual championships competition Tuesday, July 30 through Sunday,  August 4, with the 20th Annual Bobby Bonds Memorial Symposium on the opening afternoon.  Richmond has been the host city since 2018.  The symposium will be held at the Congressional Auditorium in Washington, DC, hosted by Representative Jennifer McClellan (VA-04).  Some high-powered professionals will be panelists, including Paxton Baker, Washington Nationals minority owner, Howard University professor Ricky Clemens, former Major League Baseball (MLB) VP for the National League, Sonja Stills, Commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, David James, VP Baseball and Softball Development for MLB, Jarvis Stewart, founding partner of the Washington Nationals, and former MLB player and manager, Dusty Baker, with opening remarks via zoom.  It is a panel-driven think tank addressing issues that plague youth in inner-city communities and how the game of baseball and education help alleviate some of the problems.  This year’s topic is Reconnecting Baseball to the African American Community.

The symposium spans two decades when MJBL presented a proposal to MLB with the concept that Historically Black Colleges and Universities could play an integral role in reversing the decline of African American participation in the game. Corey Nicholson, MJBL board chairman, said “When MLB rejected our initial proposal, Bud Selig was MLB commissioner. Robert Manfred is the commissioner now and under his leadership, he’s made some commendable strides for inclusion, highlighted by the recently incorporating the Negro Leagues stats into the MLB record books. I believe he realizes the value of the sustained 20-year initiative and will incorporate some of our recommendations we present at Capitol Hill.”  Nicholson and Mansfred are Harvard Law School alumni, which may contribute to Nicholson’s optimism.

On Wednesday, a skills showcase, the Mike Berry Homerun Derby, the Opening Ceremony and pool play games highlight the day.  The showcase is a baseball skills display and runs from 10 am to 12 noon at Highland Springs High School.  The featured game between the Richmond MJBL All Stars and the Freedom Farm All Stars from Nassau Bahamas, 19-under, will start at 7 pm at the Diamond, the home of the San Francisco Giants double-A affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Pool play games will involve six divisions, 10-under, 12-under, 14-under, 16-under, 19-under and a women’s 18u softball championship.  Some states involved in the championships include Virginia, Connecticut, Flordia, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, DC.   On Saturday, championship games will be played in the 10-under, 12-under and 14-under competitions.  The 16-under, 19-under and women’s championships will end this year’s extravaganza on Sunday.  The Ken Free Most Valuable Player Classic Scholarship will be awarded to the top 19-under player.   The Charles “Pee Wee” Robinson Award will be presented to a 12-under or 10-under division participant.  All registered players receive a free pass to nearby Kings Dominion Theme Park.

MJBL was founded in 1966 by Dr. William M.T. Forrester, the late father of current Executive Director William “Bill” Forrester. The league was established in Richmond during segregation when Black youngsters had limited opportunities to participate in organized baseball.  While open to everyone, MJBL remains the only national youth league geared toward inner-city Black athletes. Forrester recently released the book Black World Series, chronicling the amazing MJBL journey.  Nicholson and other MJBL supporters believe this year’s event builds on the organization’s illustrious history.

Courtesy of Metropolitan Junior Baseball League

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