The National Urban Professional Baseball League was created to give ball players a chance to play ball. It’s vision is to promote diversity in baseball, develop socioeconomic and educational programs and promote entrepreneurship.
It’s mission is to inspire individuals to use their talent and abilities to reach their personal and professional goals.
Michael E. Mayden, is the Coach, Director of Baseball Operations and CEO of the National Urban Professional Baseball League.
Van Buren: Tell me about the National Urban Professional Baseball League and how it serves the community?
Coach Mayden: The initial concept of the National Urban Baseball League was created to give African American baseball players an outlet to play baseball. Not many opportunities are offered at the major league level. So this was designed to give African Americans the opportunity to play baseball. Our doors are open to players from all walks of life.
Van Buren: How long has the National Urban Professional Baseball League been around?
Coach Mayden: This is it’s second year of conception and the first year of playing games. May 23, 2018 is when we officially started the season.
Van Buren: How many teams do you guys have in the league?
Coach Mayden: Right now we have four teams, all based out of Laurel, Mississippi. We have plans to expand the league to other cities.
Van Buren: What are the names of the four teams?
Coach Mayden: The Josh Gibson All-Stars, The Vickie Pasley All- Stars, The Rube Foster All -Stars and The Lester Barclay All- Stars.
Van Buren: What’s the age range that you’re working with?
Coach Mayden: Players as young as 17 and up are welcome to play. The average age is between 22 and 23. We have a few upper age guys. Again, the doors are open to those that can and want to play the game.
Van Buren: How is this organization funded?
Coach Mayden: We have sponsors and we depend on our concession and gate revenue, which are the three funding sources.
Van Buren: If people outside of Laurel, Mississippi want to contribute toward the National Urban Professional Baseball League how can they do that?
Coach Mayden: They can simply go online to our website and click on support the cause.
Van Buren: Is there anything you would like to add?
Coach Mayden: The biggest thing is, it’s a challenge to start something like this in the African American community, but the reward is seeing these guys play the game. It’s a struggle to keep our heads above water right now. Some of them feel like they missed their opportunity and they see this as playing professional baseball.
Van Buren: Regarding the notice issued about the league closing, is that still the case?
Coach Mayden: No, we will be here for the season.
For information on how to support the National Urban Professional Baseball League visit the office located at Wooten Legion Field, 1412 West Dr. Laurel, MS or by visiting the website: http://www.nupbl.com/