MiLB Launches New Black Community Focused Outreach Platform

By Tiffany Williams –

With February being Black History Month it’s the perfect opportunity for Minor League Baseball® to announce the launch of “The Nine.”

“The Nine.” is a new, Black-community focused outreach platform MILB says “specifically designed to honor and celebrate the historic impact numerous Black baseball pioneers made on the sport, provide new opportunities for youth baseball and softball participation, further diversify the business of baseball, and embrace millions of passionate fans throughout MiLB’s 120 communities nationwide.”

This outreach platform, MiLB says is “Named for the number Jackie Robinson wore during his only season playing in MiLB with the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1946.”

MiLB also says “The Nine will connect MiLB teams’ existing, Black-community focused development efforts with new national programming and future special events in a coordinated and centralized campaign. The new inclusion initiative follows MiLB’s Copa de la Diversión Latino fan engagement platform introduced in 2017 that included 76 MiLB teams in 2021.”

In the announcement MiLB goes on to say that “The Nine will recognize and honor numerous Black pioneers and trailblazing civil rights leaders in all 120 MiLB communities, ensuring the heroes of the past and their contributions continue to be celebrated through ceremonies and events at MiLB ballparks and in the community. Recent tributes and celebrations have included Negro Leagues commemorative games honoring the Austin Black Senators in Round Rock (TX), the Bradenton (FL) Nine Devils, and Page Fence Giants near Lansing (MI). Additional tribute games are being planned for the 2022 season and beyond.”

MiLB also said, “In addition to player- and team-related content, The Nine will focus heavily on creating new opportunities for youth participation among young Black boys and girls, particularly in communities where youth baseball and softball programming is either nonexistent or difficult to access. Central to this youth-focused push is a planned expansion of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program throughout MiLB’s national footprint. New competitions in MLB’s Pitch, Hit & Run and Junior Home Run Derby event series will also debut in MiLB markets beginning in 2022.”

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