Major League Baseball recently completed hosting ID Tour events in 12 different US cities in search of talented young baseball players. Select players have been invited to attend this exclusive event to deepen their game and audition for MLB Youth Showcase Events.
The ID Tour made its final stop in the Bronx on May 22, where players from the area gathered to play ball with each other. The 45 participants hope to use the experience as a stepping stone to furthering their baseball careers in college and beyond.
Throughout the event, players followed drills such as base run, infield, outfield, throw and catch. They also had the opportunity to hear and learn from MLB Senior Baseball Development Coordinator Kindu Jones and Vice President of Baseball Development Del Matthews, as well as Bronx native Tyler Roche. and development alumnus.
“The tour started because I came here. These are the areas that aren’t as exposed,” Jones said at Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx. three. Now they know we always come back. Now the turnouts are getting bigger and bigger.
The ID Tour focuses on visiting different areas to give athletes from underserved areas the opportunity to showcase their talent. These players — mostly black and Hispanic — now have a platform they might not have had otherwise.
“We’re trying to identify inner-city kids,” Matthews said. “It’s extremely important for our initiatives to ensure we have diverse representation. It is open. We do not charge children to train. It’s just a great opportunity to interact with the inner city kids to cheer them around the game of baseball and make sure they’re handling their classroom business and hopefully there are rewards from the game. other side of that.
Aspiring players also have the chance to chat with players who have gone through the process before, like Roche. A pitcher at St. John’s who had season-ending surgery at Tommy John in March, Roche said he was lucky to be drafted on the tour and wanted to show kids they can have the same opportunity than him.
“They come to areas like the Bronx, New York, and they get kids who come from sometimes very difficult situations and they turn you around,” Roche said. “They really make you feel, ‘Listen, we brought you here because we think you can be a part of this. That you’re so good.'”
In July, some of the players will have the opportunity to play at the Hank Aaron Invitational, which takes place at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida. But all ID Tour participants had the same goal: to develop tools to improve their game on diamonds.
“I hope to gain exposure, knowledge from these great coaches and great competition from these players,” said participant TJ Bradford. “The angle is just to improve, learn as much as possible, absorb as much knowledge and hopefully become a better player.”
The ID Tour is set to continue in the future as Jones, Matthews and the rest of the development team aim to identify potential and provide opportunities for children in historically unrepresented areas.
“That’s what’s exciting about this whole process is when you can find talent in areas that are less exposed,” Jones said. “You really call those ‘diamonds in the rough.’ That’s when you start rubbing your hands together and you’re like, ‘Man, that’s exactly why we’re here.’