Major League Baseball player Antoan Richardson is using the off season to join fellow professional athletes and industry executives in his home country – The Bahamas – for an educational forum designed to empower Bahamians interested in college athletics and professional sports.

Richardson, a pioneer in the resurgence of baseball in the Bahamas, whose MLB career includes seasons with the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees, among other teams, is hosting the free event – Career Paths to Athletic Success – on January 6, 2017, to help athletes in The Bahamas discover what it takes to make it as a college and professional athlete.

“The growth of sports in The Bahamas is rapid and the success is evident as athletes like Shaunae Miller, Jonquel Jones, Buddy Hield and myself among others have risen to perform at the highest level of our respective sporting disciplines in recent years. Yet, there are too many stories of good athletes not getting to their full potential. It is my hope that with exposure to mentors, coaches and professionals that have been through it, we can bridge the gap between that talent and success,” said Richardson.

“It’s important to empower individuals in athletic fields with facts and relevant information so those with the desire will hopefully be better equipped to chart a successful course. When individuals meet professionals in this industry and get an understanding of how relatable their stories are, it makes their dreams seem a little closer; it actually turns that dream into an attainable goal,” said Richardson.

Bahamian baseball player Albert Cartwright, who joined the professional ranks in 2007, will also speak on the panel along with MLB player Mike Baxter, Erik Bakich, Head Baseball Coach at University of Michigan, and Rebecca Seesel, Manager of International Baseball Operations for the Office of the Commissioner.

Richardson and Baxter both achieved early success as scholarship students at Vanderbilt University. They were teammates and roommates. Coach Bakich helped to recruit Richardson to Vanderbilt back in 2003. Ms Seesel and Richardson have worked together in the past to explore ways to grow the sport of baseball in The Bahamas. While baseball clubs are popular in The Bahamas, and the country has a history of MLB success, softball and not baseball is formally played at the secondary school level.

The panel will offer diverse perspectives as the representatives come from different sides of the business: athletes, coaches and administrators.

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