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MLB players provide financial relief for Black Youth Baseball program in Atlanta

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 9:14 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -Everyone is feeling the pain at the pump, and now rising gas prices are taking a toll on a special Atlanta program designed to get Black youth into baseball.

L.E.A.D., which stands for launching, exposing advising, and directing, is helping black youth in low-income households break the cycle of poverty through baseball.

One of the players, Elijah Reid told CBS46, “My position I play is left field and I love playing baseball and it’s kinda like football and basketball.”

Now Elijah and his teammates not only have new gloves, bats balls, and gear but a generous $150,000 grant to help with fuel costs getting to and from practice.

Black baseball players from The Players Alliance spoke to more than a dozen young players at the Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy in morthwest Atlanta.

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One student, Dewshawn Myers told CBS46, “My favorite part was when we were talking about what we want to achieve and what we want to do in life.” Dewshawn is one of the lucky ones. L.E.A.D. has had to cut the number of children in its spring program from 50 down to 15 because of rising fuel costs.

L.E.A.D. co-founder and former Chicago Cubs outfielder, C.J. Stewart, says it’s not enough to just be talented, the young players need resources.

“You think about barriers like gas and high gas prices, if you don’t have those kinds of things then you can’t move around, when gas prices go up, then people that don’t have funds, they stop going places,” says Stewart.

Edwin Jackson of The Players Alliance says, “We want to actually come back and let these kids see us and give them hope and let them know that they’re a few years away from being able to do magical things.”

The Players Alliance wanted to make their donation this week, so they could mark the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Without him, they say they wouldn’t be where they are.