Little League Baseball Transforms America’s Most Dangerous City

– The city dubbed America’s
most dangerous had its highest murder rate ever. – Chicago is not the most dangerous city in America. Camden, New Jersey has that title on a per capita basis. – I’m here in the park
side section of the city, an area that has been
labeled drug-infested and very dangerous. – Alarmingly, Camden’s murder rate has more than doubled this year, compared to last year from… (mumbling) – Life here in Camden is dangerous. Life here in Camden is deadly. For every moment, for every second that the kids are out here playing, they’re not getting shot at. For every second that they’re here, they’re not witnessing
something that can get them hurt later on. The stakes are plain,
and right in front of us. For kids that aren’t participating, you know they’re hustling. For kids that are
participating in the league, they’re safe. (dog barking) (sad music) – When I was a kid, the expectation was that
you would play baseball. That Pyne Poynt Park would
be a part of who you were and what you did. But, by the time I’d become a teenager, there was this expectation that young men my age would become the bread earners by going out onto the corners. We were right in the
midst of the crack wars, and so, most of the young men that had once played baseball,
were now on the corners, and most of the people that had coached were now using. I’d dropped out of high
school, and began dealing drugs like many of my counterparts. I would eventually be
arrested and incarcerated and end up serving about 8 years in New Jersey State Prison. When I came home, it was truly with a sense that
I had to give something back. So I came up with the idea of baseball. Baseball hadn’t been played in Camden for almost two decades, but I knew that there
was still a connection here in this neighborhood
and here in this city with the sport. So I said look, if the
city’s gonna be crazy, if the neighborhood’s gonna be on fire, let’s try to create
one safe place for kids in the neighborhood, and let’s start a baseball league. (phone ringing) Hey Jo, this is Brian, just calling to see if
you had practice tonight with the softball. Matter of fact, I’m gonna
text all the other coaches and see who has practice tonight and who still needs the catcher’s gear. – Okay, cool. – Alright. – See you then. – Alright, see you then, thank you. When I started coming out and saying hey we’re gonna play baseball, I used to get people looking
at me like I was crazy. But I had to be that leader and in many instances I had to be fearless and be the one willing to go
up to ask the drug dealer, you know, between these hours,
would you mind not hustling? That’s just what we had to do. And over time, the hustling
fell by the wayside, and we became the norm in the park. – There you go, there you go. – Nice catch, college boy. – When we started, we ended
up with a hundred kids that year, and it blew our mind. Today, we have over 650 kids playing, and that’s kids playing from age 5 all the way up to age 18. If you sat back and closed your eyes, you’d just hear the ping, or the crack of the older kids when they use their wood bats. The sound of the ball hitting leather, cleats scraping the gravel. Kids rattling on the fence, you know, cheering go batter, batter, batter. People used to yell and scream
because something was wrong, and now people are yelling and screaming because something fantastic is happening. (cheering) Come game time, it’s the most beautiful
thing in the world. So daddy’s gonna teach you today how to hit off the batting tee, alright? As a father who tells
his daughter constantly that you can do anything that you want and be anything you want,
you know, you look up and you remember why you’re doing it. Alright, good job. Ready? So much of our life in Camden and so much of our
lives in our urban cores is being hard, but kids for the few hours that they’re here, they’re just free to act out and become whatever hero they want to be. They’re just free to laugh. It’s not always gonna be easy, and there are forces at play that, they would love to see me fail. I have to continue to dig deep and put the grind in because
I just know I gotta do it. Come on. Good. If I don’t do it, no
one else is gonna do it. You know I tell myself
there’s plenty of time to rest when I’m dead. Until then, I’m gonna live life to the fullest.

100 thoughts on “Little League Baseball Transforms America’s Most Dangerous City

  1. we learnt from our mistakes and when you knew its time to change than results are beautiful…..Like this kind man….he is changing lives of many unfortunate kids and its one of the best things you can do as a human

  2. If black lives matter, why are they killing each other every day, instead of playing baseball, like this people?

  3. My brother was on the 2007 southeast team and you can imagine we traveled alot to watch him play. We traveled to some pretty shady places but nothing like this. Btw my brother is Hunter Jackson

  4. "America's most dangerous city", with beautiful people? The founder looks like Obama, and the athletes here are pretty much a bunch of attractive people. Go big y'all!

  5. It's talking on his city like it's part of Syria or something… is it really that dangerous there, or that it's just full of people that continuing to make the wrong choices? I happy for him that he was able to make the right decision in the end, and maybe also inspire others.

  6. I’m actually close to Camden, I’m from Philadelphia and I do agree, it’s pretty bad, but this is something nice to see.

  7. This is true in every city or town. My father would tell me stories of his friend dragging troubled kids out of a bad house to play ball. Also I know so many God gifted kids who just didn't care. So many smart athletic kids in my state are overlooked. What's sad is if they put the effort they could make millions. The most gifted and wisest guy in the state passed away. He won the little league WS, was a linebacker for the Giants for a year before quitting only to come back and coach an undefeated season and many state champs then become senator for decades retire and die. No one except for a couple or so have come close to what he did for us. Only others I know are his family, mine, a family up northwest/local and a local family that's so close to us. I know it might sound like a lot, but it takes up a couple or so small areas in a big state. Anyways sports solves it, but only for so long what we need to do is teach them accounting or business it sounds boring, but being broke is half the problem parenting or mentoring is the other. Get em to take care of cash and live in a house with a bike or car then just make sure they're off drugs and not selling themselves.

  8. As a child in New Jersey that plays softball I can truly say its helped me through a lot. This video brought me to tears.

  9. The Phillies are minutes away and they give Bryce Harper 360 million and all the money they waste but can’t help this become bigger.

  10. I’ve played in little league since I was 3 and I’m from Peachtree City Georgia so those kids from southeast 2018 team are all people that I have played against and when you play baseball you just forget everything going on that’s the great thing about it

  11. 0:04 did they just say Chicago is not the most dangerous city? I live in Chicago only the south part is bad.

  12. I read the title and said “oh, Chicago”. I clicked on the video. The first thing said “Chicago is not the most dangerous city in America” well, shit. Didn’t have to tell me twice.

  13. Sup Brian u probably don’t remember me when I played teeball. For u in New Jersey but u probably remember My dad Goan Alvarez we went to ur baby shower years ago

  14. I live about 45 minutes away so this hits close to home, glad to see someone is making a big impact in that area

  15. oh what?! community organisation is more effective than political pandering for handouts? HuH??!!!! WHAT?!! WORK CAN BE GOOD FOR COMMUNITIES? NO WAY WAIT THE COUNTRY WASNT REALLY BUILT TO KEEP US DOWN?!

  16. It's just so crazy I live in Collingswood and it's right next to Camden and it is totally different it's so weird how literally a block makes a difference

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