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Countdown to MLB All-Star Week in Arlington – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dell Matthews has a strong passion for baseball, and his involvement in the sport extends to being the Vice President of Baseball Development for Major League Baseball.

As All-Star week kicks off, Matthews looks forward to events such as the HBCU Swingman Classic, the celebrity softball game, the All-Star Futures game, and the home run derby.

“My father played in the major leagues for 17 years. I had a brother that played here in Dallas for the Rangers. And so, for me, it’s extremely special to be able to carry the torch,” Matthews said.

Of course, all eyes in the world of baseball are fixed on Arlington, Texas, again, just months after the Rangers’ first-ever World Series win. It’s been decades since the Rangers hosted the all-star game, but it’s about much more than what the game can do for the city of Arlington.

“It opens doors, opens eyes to new opportunities. It’s a chance to realize dreams,” said Matthews. “Baseball is a game of generations that passes down from fathers to sons and mothers to sons.”

That said, it makes sense that MLB Youth Academies are also included in the week-long festivities.

Jean Lee Batrus is the Executive Director of the MLB-MLPA Youth Development Foundation. She said the foundation’s goal is to ensure that the game reaches everyone who is interested.

“What we’re seeing is the increased cost to access the game in the last 20 years, and unfortunately, that’s really impacted underserved communities, and we need more representation and diverse players in our game,” she said.

She said events like the HBCU Swingman Classic are about raising the profile of young players.

“This is a diverse group of young men who, otherwise, would not have an opportunity to play on a national platform, kicking off all-star week being televised,” Batrus said.

Matthew said preserving ‘America’s favorite pastime’ also means honoring the greats who paved the way.

“We certainly want our next generation to lean into that and hopefully follow in their footsteps,” he said.

Tickets are still available for MLB All-Star Week events at https://www.mlb.com/all-star/schedule

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