Natchez Rams first all-black Miss. baseball team to make USSSA World Series

Published 8:19 am Tuesday, May 22, 2007

While only in their second year of existence, the Natchez Rams are making some noise in the United States Specialty Sports Association’s 13- and 14- year old baseball division.

For the first time in team history, the Rams will compete on in the USSSA World Series being held in Lake Charles, La. They are also the first all-black baseball team from Mississippi to make the World Series.

Rams head coach Charlie Bass said seeing an all black baseball team has become more rare because a decrease in popularity of the sport among black athletes. He said basketball and football have become the sports of choice.

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“You can pick up a basketball or a football and go play. With baseball you can’t just go do that. You have to have bats, balls, helmets and a field play,” he said. “It’s too much equipment to play so the popularity has gone down.”

Bass said that was one of the reasons he, assistant coach Jeff Thomas and some parents of players help form the team.

“Everybody wants to play basketball, but they might have a better chance of making it big in baseball,” he said. “It gives them another avenue to play another sport.”

Bass said players also have a better chance of making it big in baseball because of a lack of development systems like farm teams in major league baseball.

“Not everybody can make it to the majors right off, but you can climb through the farm system and possibly make it to the majors one day,” Bass said. “Basketball and football don’t have development systems, so you have only one shot.”

But while the players might not quite be ready to play on the major league level, they will get a taste of what it is like to have to travel like a major league player. By the end of the season, the Rams will have played in 15 tournaments, all of which will be played on the road.

Bass said Pensacola, Fla., would be the farthest the team will travel this season, but the Rams will also play as far as Houston, Memphis and Atlanta.

“All our games are on the road,” Bass said. “It’s difficult, but thanks to people in the community helping out, we do have the funds available that make it so we can travel.”