ATLANTA — Dozens of the top HBCU baseball players from across the country have descended upon the city of Atlanta.
All of this in an effort to help grow the game for the next generation of minority athletes.
"We wanted to expose these kids to great experiences and for the world to see them, that they have elite talent," said the president and COO of Minority Baseball Prospects, Reggie Hollins.
He said his group's mission is to work with kids from age six all the way up to professionals - offering mentorship, resources and a platform for minority baseball players.
"We do about 25 events a year ranging from showcases, our All-American game, underclassmen elite," Hollins said.
That includes, of course, their second annual HBCU All-Star Weekend, which moved to Atlanta this year and is being presented by the Henry Louis Aaron Fund.
Thursday featured a career workshop for players, a youth camp for 800 kids and a home run derby inside Truist Park. On Friday night, the best HBCU talents from around the country will face off in the All-Star Game starting at 7:30 p.m. (Tickets available here)
"It means everything man," said Gabriel Vasquez, an outfielder at Texas Southern who will feature in Friday night's game. "As a little kid I dreamed of hitting on these fields - playing on this field, being in a home run derby."
C.J. Stallings, a shortstop at Tuskegee University, said he was "just happy to be here honestly."
"Around guys like myself that have put in the work and the time not only on the field, but as well as in the classroom. We have the chance to impact the youth," Stallings said.
Vasquez said that seeing other players around him that look like him, "makes you be able to dream."
"Have that dream and work for that goal and knowing you can become that, that's all you need," he said.
While the game of course takes top billing on Friday night, the party really starts at 4 p.m. inside the Chop House as the HBCU pregame festival will take place, featuring 30+ local Black businesses at a vendor spotlight and live music performances.