Chicago’s Most Talked About Baseball Team

When most people think of Chicago baseball in recent years, they think of the failure and embarrassment that the White Sox and Cubs have provided. Those same emotions have been invoked all summer until the recent rise of a lesser-known Chicago baseball team: Jackie Robinson West (JRW) Little League team from Roseland, a South Side community.

JRW is made up of 11 and 12-year-olds from South Side neighborhoods and is Chicago’s first team in the Little League World Series since 1983.

While their aggressive hitting style and jaw-dropping athleticism have made them must-watch television for Chicagoans and baseball fans across the country, the positive message they’ve provided should be the biggest feather in their cap.

According to their website, JRW’s mission is “to bring children into a structured program environment intensely supported by adult volunteers where the values of leadership, team work and self-discipline are strongly emphasized.” Contrary to what most people across the country believe, there are positive things happening with the youth on the South Side of Chicago.

Another positive message sent by these kids is that the continuing narrative that inner city black kids don’t play baseball is a myth. This team made up of all African American kids has worked hard on its to Williamsport, Pennsylvania and for that they’ve been given the experience of a lifetime. They’ve been the lead story on SportsCenter, they’ve captured the hearts of viewers across the country, and they’ve even received support from the not-so-successful pro teams in their city. The White Sox have hosted watch parties for JRW games and players from both teams have been seen warming up in t-shirts with the JRW logo printed on them.

This is the true beauty of sports. A group of bright-eyed, fun loving kids bringing something positive to an area of Chicago that so desperately needs it. Even with the South Side’s own Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis representing the city on Team USA basketball, these 13 kids and three coaches have brought smiles to the faces that are so often met with tears.

The violence on the South Side of Chicago often seems like a nightmare. By playing in the Little League World Series, these kids get a break from that nightmare while fulfilling a dream.