The main storyline going into the Little League World Series was about a girl who could pitch against the boys. But while she was the main attraction in Williamsport, Mo’Ne Davis ended up as the sidebar to a bigger story — though it was also one she was part of.
Davis’ Philadelphia team was eventually bested by Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West squad in the U.S. semifinal, meaning two inner-city teams reached the top three in the nation. It’s a huge boost for baseball, which has seen its pastoral pace and need for large, green space cut down on the sport’s popularity in that setting. So while Major League Baseball is arguably the most diverse North American sport in terms of international players — rosters are filled with players from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South American and Asia — the number of African-Americans playing has dwindled continuously since the early ’90s.
As Jackie Robinson West has proven, baseball is still cool. And Chicago certainly noticed.