Oakland, CA – After a historic low percentage of African-American players in Major League Baseball, this year has increased by maybe seven percent. While the numbers aren’t increasing the desire to attract more African-American players is still a goal.
The A’s are hosting their very first African American Heritage Day at the Coliseum this Tuesday night, when the team hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers. The executive team hasn’t disappointed in the events/promotions that have taken place over the past two seasons.
“I applaud that, I think it’s time that we celebrate the game as African-Americans instead of pushing away from the game as we have for so many years,” said Bip Roberts, former A’s player and current NBCSports Analyst.
“I’ll be wearing a hat that celebrates that day on the air. This’ll be my first time to celebrate. You want to include everyone and we’ve never had an African-American Heritage Day. I think when you start talking about inclusion, you have to make sure that everybody’s covered. With the 50th year anniversary of the team, the A’s are finally pulling some tricks out of the bag.”
MLB has made its own mark in diversity, inclusion and social responsibility. There are more African-Americans players getting drafted and the league will create more programs in the inner cities. In the meantime, the A’s have reached amongst the community to make this night special.
“It’s really good to see, they do have a lot of different promotions,” Marcus Semien said. “The Black Panther night was really cool just to see a lot of new faces in the crowd that maybe haven’t been here before.
You hope for the same thing with African-American night. We have a couple guys on this team who are African-American. The same thing with Jackie Robinson Day where we wear number 2, this will be just as cool.”
The times below is the schedule for the pre-game show:
Tuesday, August 7th, 4:30PM – 7:30PM
Oakland Coliseum, Eastside Club
4:30PM – 5:30PM Pre-game mixer, music by DJ D-Sharp
5:30PM – 6:15PM Panel discussion – Moderator: Dr. Harry Edwards (TBD)
- Master of Ceremonies: Armand Carr (KBLX, Radio Host)
- Remarks: Dave Kaval, President of Oakland A’s
- Introduction of Moderator: Dave Kaval, President of Oakland A’s
- Entitled: “African American Baseball’s Past, Present and Future is Rooted in Oakland”
- A candid conversation from the lens of African-American baseball players and front office executives on the importance of continuing to support and engage Oakland’s African-American community on baseball’s past, present and future.
- Panelists: (Alumni Player Panel) Vida Blue, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson (TBD)
- Panelists: (Executive Panel) Taj Tashombe, Andre Chambers, D’Lonra Ellis, Detra Paige, Stephanie Gaywood
6:15PM – 7:30PM Pre-game mixer continues, music by DJ D-Sharp
6:30PM – 7:00PM Pre-game on-field ceremony
- We will present the inaugural Vida Blue Diamond Award to deserving community member for service to the African American community. In addition, the African-American National Anthem will be performed by Tony! Toni! Toné!, the National Anthem performed by Bebe Memorial Cathedral Choir, and the First-pitch thrown out by MC Hammer.