TEMPE, AZ — With eyes set on diversity, MLB and USA Baseball hosted the 4th annual 'Dream Series' program in Tempe.
The amateur training camp for high school students aims to develop and diversify the future of baseball. In addition to training, the talented athletes receive mentoring from Major Leaguers and industry professionals.
One of those talented athletes is 18-year-old Chase Davis. He started playing baseball when he was four and is now committed to the University of Arizona.
He's caught the eyes of many pros including former MLB manager and legend Jerry Manuel. He says on Davis, "The bigger the situation, the bigger the person. It does not phase him, one way or the other, how big the situation is."
Despite recognition within the sport, Davis' road to success hasn't been smooth. He says he's faced adversity along the way adding, "There's been multiple times at games when, after I hit a home run or do something well, the other team from another color or another team kind of look at me different and say different things."
MLB says their 'Dream Series' program fights discrimination like Davis has faced by setting players of color up for success. "We have programs like this to help youth feel comfortable with who they are and know they have the ability to achieve in this game", says Del Matthews, MLB's Vice President of Player Development.
Eighty talented high school students, mostly African American says Matthews, spent a weekend training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The spring training-styled camp improves skill, creates leaders and, Davis says, makes a statement.
"A lot of people of our skin color are moving to basketball or other sports. We all have talent as well so we have to prove we can play this sport as well and excel at the next level."
Find more information about the program online a mlb.com/dream-series.