The Annual MVP (Mentoring Viable Prospects) program has announced first-round pairings for what has become a gateway to college baseball scholarships for African American athletes.
For nearly 20 years MVP has invited elite teams to visit the Georgia State University Baseball Complex in July to compete in three days of baseball, with workshops on how to prepare for the collegiate and professional recruitment process, and an awards banquet after crowning a champion on the field.
Teams come as far away as California on the west coast and the Tidewater area in Virginia on the east coast. Last year practically every school in Division I Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) had a least one coach in attendance; along with several coaches from the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), and several professional scouts including Hank Aaron, Jr. representing the Atlanta Braves.
The tournament opens at 10:00 a. m. With an exceptional Detroit team taking on a scrappy North Carolina team. At 1:00 p. m. The Baseball Bros will square off against Melvin Upton’s Virginia club. A talented Chicago team plays Chip Lawrence’s battle-tested Florida organization. The first round closes the day with the Atlanta entry competing against California.
MVP is a wooden bat tournament. It allows the youngsters to show professional scouts their ability to adjust their swing with a piece of maple or oak in their hands.
The public is invited to come out and support these kids as they work to impress collegiate coaches and professional scouts. All proceeds go to support the programs of MVP and to pay for the field, umpires, and balls.
Gregory “Goody” Goodwin, former baseball head coach and principal at Redan High School in Dekalb County, Georgia, said his years at MVP had been a labor of love.
“It’s all about the kids,” he said.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. Harvey is a Past President of the Gate City Bar Association. He is the recipient of Gate City’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award, which he received because of his pro bono representation of students arrested during Freaknik celebrations in the mid to late 1990s. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Medium, and Black College Nines. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.