Bahamian prospects talk baseball and society

August 1st, 2020

Leading off Opening Day online, MLB's Baseball and Softball Development department covered the bases of important topics related to baseball and society.

Moderated by MLB's vice president of Baseball and Softball Development, David James, the 45-minute Zoom call featured invaluable insight from two prospects: Lucius Fox (Rays organization) and Todd Isaacs (free agent), both native Bahamians. They spoke to an audience comprised of young people from MLB’s RBI Program.

The heart of the Play Ball program is predicated on the premise that whoever you are and from wherever you may be, playing baseball is possible.

No one has embodied this mission more than Fox, who, in perfect Play Ball form, exuded passion for the game wherever he went as a youth.

"We didn't have a lot of fields, a lot of batting cages [in the Bahamas]," Fox said. "We just used whatever we had to get better, whether that was throwing the ball against the wall or throwing the ball up and hitting it and chasing it.

"Just finding ways to get active around the house or whatever area you have, using whatever you have, like a tennis ball or a broom stick. Those little things helped us reach the next level and helped our skills progress."

While working on their own professional ascents, Fox and Isaacs have kept their eyes on Bahama's baseball future: the kids growing up on the island.

"As we continue to grow and push in professional baseball, we see every time we go back to the island more young kids that look forward to playing the game," Fox said. "That's all we ever wanted: to inspire the generation behind us. It's changed my life, my family's life, and allowed me to travel to places I never thought I would have been unless I was playing the game. I never thought I would be playing baseball. I always wanted to run the 100 meters at the Olympics, but I'm so happy that I was introduced to the game, and I just want more and more kids to give it a try."

As professional athletes and role models, Fox and Isaacs understand the responsibility they have to educate and inspire tomorrow's generation. Donning a Black Lives Matter shirt, Isaacs spoke candidly about his duty to set a positive tone.

"As an athlete, it's our responsibility to use our platform to bring awareness and bring change," Isaacs said. "Everything that has been going on in the past few weeks has brought everything to the forefront. Education is key, and with us, we have a lot of kids who look up to us as athletes, and they are the future generations who will break the cycle [of discrimination in the world]."

"There is just one race, the human race," Fox added. "White, Black -- it doesn't matter. When we step on the field, the only thing we care about is our organization. We don't look at race. ... It's important that we continue to push this envelope and educate more and more people. If we keep the fight going, we will see change in the future."

Calling a country home that is known for its sand and sun, Fox and Isaacs played integral roles facilitating a beach home run derby event that has been held three years in a row. With crystal-clear water as the backdrop and jet skis zooming around like agile outfielders hunting down a fly ball, the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise has hosted contestants such as Bo Bichette (the event's winner in 2018 and '19), Lewis Brinson and a handful of Bahamian young stars.

The event, Fox said, has been a blast for all those who have participated.

"We played a lot of games in stadiums with a lot of fans and a lot of excitement, but honestly, I never felt anything like stepping on that stage at the Derby," Fox said. "The crowd is really close. It's not like a regular game, where the fans are in the stands far away. You can feel the energy as soon as you step foot on the beach. And looking out into the ocean, this beautiful water, you want to hit the ball as far as you can."