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MLB hosts Jackie Robinson Foundation luncheon

Students tour replay room, play RBI Baseball and Home Run Derby
@ladsonbill24
March 2, 2020

NEW YORK -- The Jackie Robinson Foundation has been helping college students of color for almost 50 years and Monday afternoon was no different. Major League Baseball hosted a luncheon for approximately 20 scholarship students from the foundation to cap its annual mentoring and leadership conference. The students received more

NEW YORK -- The Jackie Robinson Foundation has been helping college students of color for almost 50 years and Monday afternoon was no different. Major League Baseball hosted a luncheon for approximately 20 scholarship students from the foundation to cap its annual mentoring and leadership conference.

The students received more than just a hearty lunch and advice from MLB personnel, they also watched employees from the league office at work.

“It has been an incredible experience. I’m thankful for the Jackie Robinson Foundation for giving us the opportunity to be part of such an amazing program, amazing process,” said Marcus Murray, a health science major at the University of Hartford. “I would not be the person that I am without the Jackie Robinson Foundation. I’ve learned networking and how to communicate with others. I put myself up on how to really embrace my opportunity.”

After eating lunch, the students went to the replay room and learned how calls are reviewed during Major League games. The replay room has a huge staff and it relies on an umpire in the office to make the right call.

Kailen Mayfield, who attends the University of Virginia, couldn’t be believe how many video monitors had to be used to watch games.

“I was amazed by all the technology in the room and how they take advantage of their job -- the amount of time that they take, the rules they follow and all the responsibilities,” he said. ”They have to make sure that all the reviews and replays are accurate for MLB umpires. … I find it cool. There is a lot of technology involved in making these decisions. I never been in a room like this before. It’s pretty fascinating at first glance. There is a lot of hours in the profession.”

From there, it was off to the virtual-reality department, where the RBI Baseball and Home Run Derby games were created. Some of the students played Home Run Derby and had a blast using the virtual-reality headset that let them experience taking swings at Dodger Stadium. Mayfield hit four home runs in the derby, while Murray hit one home run while pretending to be in the cage. But the lack of power didn’t spoil Murray’s day.

“I had so much fun,” he said. “I’m a track and field athlete. The Division I athlete came out of me.”

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.