Tag: MVP

Marque Denmon Brings pro Experience to MVP Baseball classic

By Michael July 14, 2019 0

“This tournament doesn’t have to have a PA announcer. It would be a success without me. What I bring to this tournament is an authentic baseball experience for these young men,” added Denmon in a tone so deep, so rich, that the hearer can only imagine those words originated from somewhere around his navel and moved upwards bursting out of his mouth, and punctuating the airwaves with a resonance indescribable. read more

Helping People Is What MVP Is All About

By Michael July 13, 2019 0

“Helping people is what we are all about,” Greg “Goody” Goodwin said after he had arranged a try-out for Kendall Ford in between games at the 2019 MVP (Mentoring Viable Prospects) Classic. Ford is a graduate of the MVP program. He recently graduated from Columbus State University, where he played the middle infield positions. read more

MVP Baseball Tourney Brings Out Pro Scouts

By Michael July 21, 2018 0

It started out 16 years ago as a national Black World Series for high school baseball players. A national promoter thought Atlanta was the perfect place to host such an event. The first year was a big success.

Two young men from that showcase, Jason Heywood and Jeremy Beckham were signed to professional contracts. Heywood signed with the Atlanta Braves. While Beckham signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Later, a group of Black baseball coaches in Dekalb County were asked to host an annual tournament. It has turned into fertile soil for professional scouts. Five players from last year’s MVP competition were drafted this year during the June draft.

Each year professional scouts along with a strong contingent of Black college baseball coaches flock to the MVP Tournament to view the Black baseball talent in the country.

This year several major league ball clubs have scouts at the tournament. There are representatives from the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Parades, Texas Rangers and the Colorado Rockies. Each of these clubs have drafted kids from the MVP showcase who made their way up to the big leagues.

“Buck ” Buchanan, a longtime successful Georgia high school baseball coach and for the past 12 years a scout for the Atlanta Braves sums it up this way:

“The MVP Tournament gives me an opportunity to see a lot of players in one spot that I would not ordinarily see. I’m based in the Southeast and would not get a chance to see a kid from California, or Chicago play.”

Buchanan coached former major league outfielder Jeff Francour in high school. He said he does not like to use the term special in describing the talents of a baseball player, but he knew when he first saw Francour in the ninth grade, that he brought a little something extra to the game that his teammates did not have.

“When scouting these kids, I first look to the middle of the field to find the stronger players and then fan out from there to pick up tendencies from the other players,” Buchanan said.

Asked what had he seen so far Buchanan said, “The kids are playing with a lot of passion. They all have talent or they would not be here. At the end of the day it is hard to project what a 19 year old will be in five years but that is sort of what my job is all about.”

Along with Buchanan, the Braves also sent Hank Aaron, Jr. out to scout the kids. Aaron is moving up in the scouting ranks having successfully scouted and signed Ray Hernandez out of Alabama State University.

Greg “Goody” Goodwin, the MVP President said, “It’s all about helping the kids to get their education. I’m so proud of our volunteer staff that make this tournament happen every year.”

Play concludes today with the crowning of an MVP Champion at the Georgia State Baseball Complex and a banquet where former major league players will talk with the kids about the road to college and the big league.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

 

HBCU Baseball Coaches Flock To MVP Tourney

By Michael July 20, 2018 0

Now that college baseball has crowned champions in all divisions of play, college coaches are roaming the countryside. They are in search of the next crop of baseball talent that can place their baseball programs on the map or to keep them on their winning paths.

Each July, Mentoring Viable Prospects (MVP) host a premiere showcase of Black baseball talent. Teams come from across the United States to display their talent to college coaches and professional scouts.

This year teams from California, North Carolina, Detroit, Florida, Virginia, Chicago, Atlanta and Texas will compete for the MVP crown. But the real winner will be all the the young players who have a chance to show what they can do.

Most youth league coaches today will tell you that the goal is not to produce professional athletes. To a man, coaches will tell you the goal is to prepare their young men for a college education.

This year, as in previous years, coaches from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are in attendance.

“I like to get here each year or at least have someone from my staff here to scout the talent,” said Jose’ Vazquez, Head  Baseball Coach at Alabama State University.

Vazquez heads a Division 1 program. Alabama State plays in the highly competitive Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC). This past season his squad won the East Conference title.

However, they finished third in the conference tournament behind runner-up Grambling and conference champions Texas Southern University.

After watching Chicago defeat Virginia 5-2, Vazquez said, “It’s kinda of hard to find the arms at this level, but I see some good position players on the field right now.”

Vazquez needs to plug a few holds as he lost his third baseman Ray Hernandez to the Atlanta Braves.

The SWAC is well represented. In addition to Vazquez, Auntwon Riggins, Head Coach, Prairie View A & M University, is front and center. He meticulously makes mental notes of players tendencies. Likely these notes will end up in the color coded notebook he keeps on players and coaches.

Tristan Toorie, Alcorn State University, rounds out the SWAC contingent.

Representing the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) is Danny Barnes, Assistant Baseball Coach at Tuskegee University. Representing the Independents is Claflin College James Randall.

In attendance from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and fresh off an appearance in the NCAA Division 1 Regional Baseball Playoff is North Carolina A & T University Head Baseball Coach Ben Hall.

The college coaches are here and the kids are playing their hearts out. Action runs through July 21st at the Georgia State University Baseball Field.

 

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com