BRADENTON, Fla. -- Professional sports teams are always on the lookout for new talent, and Major League Baseball was recently at Pirate City in Bradenton, where they held a tryout.
It was a regional showcase for minority players, or those from urban high schools. Over 40 kids put their talents on display for professional scouts and college coaches.
Jake Underhill, a catcher at Booker High School, was one such player. “This is awesome. It’s great to get your name out. Scouts are all here, it’s just great to be seen. I don't get a chance very often."
This showcase included the Southeast region of the country. Major League Baseball has been trying different strategies to get baseball back into the inner cities.
"Major League Scouting Bureau is here capturing video on all players, writing scouting reports on all the players. That information will be distributed to the 30 teams, as well," said Ben Baroody, senior director of urban development for MLB.
One player who already has an in with the pros is 2nd baseman Daniel Llerena. His dad is the team Chaplain for the Rays. Nonetheless, Llerena wants to get his name, and talents, out there for colleges and the pros. "It's a challenge because you've got a bunch of eyes on you, but if you are here it is because you have a little bit of talent. Just be confident in yourself and do what you know how to do."
It’s called the Breakthrough Series, and these players want to break through any way they can.
Former Braves and Royals outfielder Michael Tucker is coaching at these showcases, and he knows all these players need is a chance. "It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and getting that opportunity. I think it is really beneficial for all the kids, and if they have the opportunity to get in, they should get in."