Denver7 | SportsRockies


MLB hosts diversity, equity and inclusion event at Playball Park

Former MLB players shared their perspectives
MLB Playball Park
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 20:44:34-04

DENVER -- Major League Baseball players from different generations came together to share their experiences of being Black in a predominately white league.

"People are starting to understand that when we are in the clubhouse and we’re the only minority pitchers, was I uncomfortable? No. But it was one of those situations where you don’t get to look around your own clubhouse and see someone who looks like you," said former Rockies player LaTroy Hawkins.

These conversations took place inside Playball Park, during the diversity, equity and inclusion event.

For people attending, it’s a discussion that needs to continue being had.

"It gives them a chance to say, as a young kid I could be that person and if that person I look up to is a role model, it also gives me an opportunity to live that way and be that way," said Kevin Battle.

Battle and his wife had children who played baseball and softball. For them, it’s still the case that there aren’t enough young Black kids playing baseball.

"There are barriers to entry, and some of the barriers to entry is not just political but it is also economical. There also is the portion of being able to be in the right situations, being able to have transportation, having the equipment, having the fields, having access to the fields. Those are barriers to entry that we found," said Battle.

Even after decades of fighting for equality and equity in the sporting world, the fight continues. One, former pros believe, this generation is ready to take on.

"This generation of players and this generation — of my daughter, they’re different, they’re different. They are going to fight and stand up for what they believe in, they’re not going to sit on the sidelines," said Hawkins.

A new era of baseball players and community, guided by those who have already lived through many experiences.

"To see these guys here on stage, what they have done, what they have accomplished, will help our youth just to understand that what they do regardless if it is baseball, whatever they do in life they have that opportunity just like anyone else," said Battle.