No, the West Louisville Little League Baseball team (ages 13 and under) aren’t health care providers but they are providing hope for the youth in the community. Over the years West Louisville, KY has had its issue with homicides and other crimes. This is why it was important for the West Louisville team to make the Little Babe Ruth World Series. Not for just the exposure but for other youth in the community to join an activity that can lead to opportunities and away from the lure of the streets.
With the area being known for the greatness of Muhammad Ali and basketball (notably the University of Louisville Basketball and the University of Kentucky Basketball), it allows the youth in the area to dream outside of playing for the NBA where it has been reported that only 1.2% of college players make it to the league according to the NCAA.
Being a native of the area and former player of the league, I have seen the effects of players being active in the sport and the player that has left it without participation in any other activities. Those players that stop playing baseball, and didn’t find an alternative, were susceptible to the streets. There were a few cases where players lives were taken via gun violence and others who frequented the court system.
I can only wonder if some of the guys would have stayed in baseball, would they have been lured into the situations they were in? More so, if we were like the West Louisville baseball team this year and made the Babe Ruth World Series, would we have brought in more youth into America’s favorite past time, thus creating more opportunities for success and fewer opportunities for the alternative.
Back in 1995, my father, Furlin Patterson, put together a baseball tournament that featured teams from around the area like Cincinnati and Tennessee. It paid tribute to Drew Corson, a young player that died on the basketball court. His family donated funds to the West Louisville baseball league for uniforms. After all of these years, the Corson family must be delighted to see the progress of the West Louisville team and their efforts to bring home a World Series title.
Some of the notable players from the league that I played with and against were Keenan Burton (Receiver for UK Wildcats/ LA Rams), Michael Bush (Running back for UofL Cardinals/LA Raiders), Rajon Rondo (LA Lakers), and Jamon Brown (LA Rams) who donated money to the West Louisville little league team this year in their World Series Championship pursuit. All of these players became prominent in other sports like basketball and football, but were great baseball players.
Although the West Louisville baseball team was eliminated from the Babe Ruth World Series last week, they still serve as an inspiration to others in the community to participate in positive activities and away from the negative desires of the streets. Maybe one day the West Louisville baseball league can produce a future MLB Hall of Famer or a few MLB all-stars who encourage more youth from the area to get into baseball – achievements that would be more newsworthy and valued than another statistic to gun violence.