New initiative honors, celebrates impact of Black pioneers in baseball & community
The Durham Bulls in conjunction with Minor League Baseball (MiLB) have announced the launch of “The Nine”, a new, Black-community focused outreach platform across MiLB 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 through MiLB’s 120 communities nationwide.
Named for the number Jackie Robinson wore during his only season playing in Minor League Baseball with the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1946, 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 Diversion Latino fan engagement platform introduced in 2017 that included 76 MiLB teams in 2021.
The Nine will recognize and honor numerous Black pioneers and trailblazing civil rights leaders, ensuring the heroes of the past and their contributions continue to be celebrated through ceremonies and events at MiLB ballparks and communities. Recent tributes and celebrations at Durham Bulls Athletic Park have included the Bulls’ Negro Leagues Night and Juneteenth Series commemorations.
This year, the Bulls will pay tribute to the former Negro League teams of Durham and celebrate the achievements of the Bull City’s Black community on Sunday, June 19. Tickets for that evening’s game against the Louisville Bats will be available starting Wednesday, February 2.
The Nine will also 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 in line with the Durham Bulls’ efforts with the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League.
The Bulls, along with other MiLB teams, will continue to build relationships with local Black-owned and operated businesses, local artists and entertainers in an effort to embrace Black culture and make MiLB ballparks a hub for culturally relevant concerts, shows, and community events.
The Bulls begin their Triple-A National Title defense on the road in Nashville on Tuesday, April 5 before returning to the DBAP for a five-game series versus the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday, April 12. For more information on full-season and mini plan packages, please call 919.956.BULL.
Thanks to DBBC’s Andrew Green for this Capcom story & graphic.