The team gets a tour of the ESPN video truck before tonight’s game in this photo posted on its Facebook page.
With no fanfare and very little recognition, the Jackie Robinson West Little League Baseball team from the South Side of Chicago is poised to make history.
The African American players are 11 and 13 years and have a record of 4-0, making them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs that will air live on ESPN2 tonight at 6 p.m.
“It’s huge for the City of Chicago. Hopefully everybody can tune in and see the team play,” said Coach Darold Butler.
“It’s a positive thing and hopefully will spark some of the other kids in Chicago to get interested in baseball,” he said.
“Blacks and baseball is almost extinct,” the coach pointed out.
Darold’s mother-in-law, Frances Bruce, is appalled that nothing has been written about the team’s success. Her grandson, Darold Butler Jr., is a player on the team.
“They are the only team in their region that has a perfect record,” Bruce said in a letter she attached to an email.
“What has bothered me is that no one has acknowledged the team’s accomplishments. No send off from the city, governor, county or the community. No story about young boys from the African American neighborhood doing something good for our city, state and our community. No sport coverage,” she said.
I really regret the oversight.
These young people are doing exactly what we want our young people to do. We have to do a better job lifting them up.