Saturday, August 27, 2011

They deserve it

If something of value is provided, people will invest and support it. From 10AM-2PM today, families were interviewed for L.E.A.D. scholarships. Contrary to popular belief, African-American males love this game. They want to contribute to the legacy and tradition of the game.

Like tax season, there is a time of year when the media asks the infamous question, "where are the African-American baseball players?" That time of year isn't the fall because football owns the headlines.

In the inner city of Atlanta, L.E.A.D. has developed year round programming for middle and high school baseball players. These young men aren't playing for fun either. They develop under a proven curriculum, methodology and training process. L.E.A.D. scholarships lead to college scholarships.

L.E.A.D.'s fall Legacy League program is the answer for young men who want to use baseball to access college as well as developing a professional network for post college career opportunities.

Since 2007, 89% of my Ambassadors have enrolled in college with a baseball scholarship. We achieve success by offering programs with value. The young men that fulfill the requirements of L.E.A.D. will achieve.  When they achieve, Atlanta achieves.

They want it! They deserve it! So I give it!

Join L.E.A.D. at L.E.A.D. Today...Change Tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rise up Atlanta, Build the Dream

The world is ready to see the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC. Dr. King's legacy is still alive but we can do so much better here in Atlanta.

Dr. King didn't march so that Atlanta would have one of the nations highest crime rates.

Dr. King didn't speak to millions about hope so that his school district would graduate 34% of it's African American males from high school.

Dr. King didn't ignore death threats so that thousands of Atlantans would live at or below the poverty level.

Dr. King had a dream so that you and I could see the reality. My reality is that I'm able to be great because I can serve others. My reality is that I can be anything that my God wants me to be. It's not up to me. My reality is that talk is cheap and walking makes you weary but prayer, faith and courage creates icons. I want to be ICONIC.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How does L.E.A.D. spell Impact?

It is that time of year again when L.E.A.D. gets the opportunity to partner with 60 new families during our fall Legacy League program.  The Legacy League is America's first fall instructional league that focuses on the professional baseball development of inner city middle and high school baseball talent for the sole purpose of receiving college baseball scholarships.

Why are we considered professionals?  We are professionals because we instruct from a proven curriculum, patented process and comprehensive methodology developed by our founder C.J. Stewart, owner of Diamond Directors.

Since 2007, 100% of our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors have graduated from high school and enrolled in college while 89% of them have enrolled in college with a baseball scholarship.  Now that is Impact with a capital I!

We are very intentional when it comes down to making a difference in the lives of our young men.  Impact is more than a trending buzz word to us.  We measure our impact.  We want to be held accountable.  My coaches and I enjoy being mentors and the families that we serve are counting on us to help make attending college a reality.  If a young man goes to college, L.E.A.D. gets an A, if he doesn't we get an F.  Period.

Baseball is a fun and challenging sport that can teach so many life lessons.  I am a firm believer that baseball doesn't build character, it exposes it.  On Saturday, August 27th, I will look in the curious eyes of young men from Booker T. Washington High School.  I will shake the firm hands of young men from Joseph Emerson Brown Middle School.  I will stand proud before several families within the Atlanta Public School System assuring them that they are in the right place at the right time.

We are committed to continuing to Launch, Expose, Advise and Direct.  Atlanta is counting on us!

Check us out at  We want you to join us!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Following Mendez: East Coast Professional Showcase Day 5

The East Coast Professional Showcase is over and Mendez (Henry W. Grady HS) and I fly back home on Delta.  This has been a great experience for Mendez and I.  This week, I watched him enhance his leadership and baseball skills.  He showed courage and perseverance.  He made adjustments everyday.  Felecia Calhoun has raised an awesome young man.

His success at this showcase has created new opportunities for young males in L.E.A.D. as well as the Atlanta Public School System.  APS baseball doesn't produce nationally ranked high school baseball players very often compared to Cobb and Gwinnett County because of a lack of financial resources.  Now there is a name that can be recognized among NCAA and MLB scouts with regards to APS baseball.

Mendez carried the hopes and dreams of little leaguers and grade school players on his back here in Florida this week.  APS baseball players will now get a much needed evaluation from college scouts.  It is now up to L.E.A.D. to continue to develop the baseball talent of inner city youth.  Mendez is an example of the player development curriculum that is used in our year round program.  Inner city youth want to play baseball in college and L.E.A.D. will continue to provide the resources and mentorship to make it happen.  Mendez is currently ranked as one of the top 300 high school players in America.

To date, 100% of our Ambassadors have graduated from high school and enrolled in college while 89% of them have received baseball scholarships.  This success rate is impressive when you consider the Atlanta Public School graduation rate of black males being 34%. L.E.A.D. is proud to partner with APS to change the culture and create new levels of success in the classroom and on the baseball field.

Special thanks to Barbara Greene (L.E.A.D. Advisory Board member), Crystal Giles (L.E.A.D. parent), Courtney Mata (Marriott) and Rick Winstel (Delta Airlines) for your help with making this a wonderful experience for Mendez.  Thank you to all of the L.E.A.D. supporters.  On behalf of the city of Atlanta and our partners, than you Mendez for being a great Ambassador!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Following Mendez: East Coast Professional Showcase Day 4

Today, I watched Mendez take the best rounds of batting practice that I have ever seen from him.  The swing was efficient and he repeated it like a polished professional hitter.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to transfer it in the game because he wasn't in the line up.

I'm sure that he was disappointed to not see his name in the starting lineup.  Tough competitors always want to get on the field.  I was very impressed to see him with a smile on his face throughout the entire game hopeful that he will be able to showcase the same swing from today on tomorrow.

The talent here is incredible making it hard to believe that these are high school kids.  One of the Colorado Rockies pitchers topped at 99MPH.  I believe that Mendez would have gotten good wood on the ball though.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow for Mendez.  He has worked hard for this moment.  Tomorrow is the last day at this showcase but he has gained a lot of experience here that will boost his development on and off the field.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Following Mendez: East Coast Professional Showcase Day 3

Today was an awesome day!  Mendez didn't get an opportunity to play in the field but was the extra hitter.  He didn't get a hit today going 0 for 2 but he made great adjustments at the plate.

For four years, we have been discussing the importance of playing under control.  With the stakes being so high at this MLB Showcase, it is easy to feel high levels of anxiety and nervousness.  Mendez put his emotions to the side today and accepted the fact that he is one of the top high school baseball players in America.  We are a long way from the finished product with Mendez but he is further along that most high school players.

He was so relaxed in the batters box today and I was internally saying to myself with each at bat how proud I was of him.

Baseball truly is the ultimate game of failure that measures success based on how much you fail.  Kind of weird when you think about it.  Major League scouts grade prospects on a 20-80 scale with a 50 score being major league average and 80 being off the charts.  Today, Mendez got an 80 for his ability to make adjustments.  Tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity to improve.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A day of service at Grove Park Elementary School

For the second year, the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors and Jr. Ambassadors had the opportunity to help teachers at Grove Park Elementary School prepare for the first day of school on August 8th.  Service is one of the four pillars of excellence for L.E.A.D.

I attended Grove Park from kindergarten to 5th grade and those were some of the best years of my life.  Teachers served as mentors as well as an extended family.  As a child at Grove Park, I remembered walking through the halls feeling that I could truly be anything that I put my mind to.  I was blessed to have caring parents and the school served as partners to my family.  The community was strong and anything other than excellence was unacceptable.  I felt that all of my dreams could become reality.

Today was special because the young men in my organization L.E.A.D. that I mentor had an opportunity to serve others.  Leaders are developed by serving others.  This day of service also gave them a sense of investment to their community.  Martin Luther King Jr. once said that everyone can be great because everyone can serve.  L.E.A.D. has a day of service at least once per month every month throughout the year.

The doors at Grove Park will be open to hundreds of smiles next week.  Principal Caitlin Sims will give hundreds of hugs and future leaders of Atlanta will be nurtured.  It is a honor and a privilege to give back to a school that poured so much love into me.

"Everyone can  be great because everyone can serve".  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Following Mendez: East Coast Professional Showcase Day 2

Day 2 was the first day of baseball action for the East Coast Professional Showcase.  Mendez and the Houston Astros Scout Team played the Arizona Diamondbacks Scout Team in front of hundreds of NCAA and MLB scouts.  He was definitely in the right place at the right time.  High school players dream of being in this position.

Most of the players here have already committed to some of the nations top college programs but there are still several uncommitted players like Mendez that are looking to capture the eyes of scouts.

Mendez was the second catcher to play for the Astros today.  He caught the 5th and 6th inning and got one at bat.  He was 0 for 1 with a fly ball to center field.  There are three catchers on the team so I'm sure that he will get more innings behind the plate and more at bats tomorrow.

Being here is an amazing opportunity but it is easy to be overwhelmed.  Mendez is taking everything in stride realizing that everyone is aiming to be the best.  Baseball is an individual sport that is played in a team concept.  It is also a sport that considers you a success based on how often you fail.  Major Leaguers make millions of dollars to fail.

I wake up every morning thankful that God has given me life, a sound mind and the opportunity to be the best.  My prediction for Mendez tomorrow is three quality at bats and a big smile when he walks off the field.

Good night.