Minor League Baseball introduced Tuesday it’s launching an outreach program centered on the Black group known as “The 9,” which is designed to honor and have fun the historic impression of Black baseball pioneers and civil rights leaders.
The 9 is called in honor of the quantity Jackie Robinson wore throughout his solely season taking part in within the minor leagues (MiLB) with the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1946. It would present new nationwide programming and particular occasions in a marketing campaign geared toward bolstering current efforts in Black communities.
The announcement got here on the primary day of Black Historical past Month. The initiative additionally follows MiLB’s Copa de la Diversión — the Latino fan-engagement platform launched in 2017 that included 76 MiLB groups final season.
MiLB stated The 9 will give attention to creating new alternatives for Black youth participation all through MiLB’s 120 cities, notably the place youth baseball and softball packages both don’t exist or are tough to entry.
Central to this push is a deliberate enlargement of Main League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inside Cities Program all through MiLB’s nationwide footprint. New competitions in MLB’s Pitch, Hit & Run and Junior Residence Run Derby occasions will debut in MiLB markets starting in 2022.
The 9 additionally will try to additional diversify the baseball enterprise. A number of minor league groups are situated in cities which might be house to traditionally Black faculties and universities, and this system hopes to offer alternatives for these faculties to start out internship and mentorship packages with native groups so college students can get on-the-job expertise earlier than coming into the job market.