Mississippi semipro baseball league might fold

Published 7:50 am Saturday, June 23, 2018

LAUREL (AP) — A south Mississippi baseball league aimed at black players says it might fold unless it can raise money.

The National Urban Professional Baseball League says that it’s not attracting enough fans and sponsors to stay afloat. Michael Mayden, who leads the league, says he brought the league’s four teams to Laurel, thinking people would be attracted to the games.

Mayden’s goal was to develop players who could win college scholarships and professional contracts, renewing the supply of black players to baseball. But now the league has announced it could shut down within 10 days.

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Approximately 80 players, including former Vicksburg High star Darius Kendrick, are playing in the league.

The NUPBL’s schedule is set to run through mid-August if it is able to continue.

“The biggest obstacle we are running into is the fact that we are not receiving the fan support we expected and we don’t have local sponsorship,” Mayden said. “Without a sufficient cash flow, we can’t sustain ourselves.”

Laurel Recreation Director Elvin Lumer says he hoped the league would attract people from surrounding cities. He vouches for the league’s legitimacy and says the city supports it.

“This is a legitimate league for anyone who has doubts,” Lumer said. “I think if the league could bring in former Major League Baseball players it would have more support. The City of Laurel supports the league and hopefully they can make it work.”