New "MLB Tonight: A Conversation" program to air this Monday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. ET

January 13th, 2022


Special Features – which also includes video content on at noon ET – are tied to the annual “DREAM Series” baseball development experience designed for Diverse High School Student-Athletes

January 13, 2022 – Black representation in baseball will be the focus of a new MLB Tonight: A Conversation program on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this Monday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. ET on MLB Network. The program hosted by MLB Network analyst and two-time MLB All-Star Harold Reynolds will feature a series of new interviews with distinguished guests, including Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, two-time All-Star and Players Alliance member Michael Bourn, former MLB manager and lead DREAM Series coach Jerry Manuel, 2017 World Series champion and Players Alliance member Cameron Maybin and World Series champion Atlanta Braves third base coach Ron Washington. A clip from the program featuring Baker, Manuel and Washington can be viewed here.

Top 2022 MLB Draft prospects and previous DREAM Series participants Elijah Green, Termarr Johnson and Kassius Thomas will also join the program to discuss their rise in baseball as Black athletes, and the lessons learned from the DREAM Series as well as other baseball development events (e.g., Breakthrough Series and Hank Aaron Invitational). Johnson ranked second and Green ranked third on MLB Pipeline's top 100 draft prospects list for 2022 this past December. Thomas is a highly regarded prospect out of the MLB Youth Academy in Compton.

The three Black coaches will relive their experiences in baseball, and their shared hope to see more Black representation throughout today's game with Baker remarking, “It’s about opportunity. If I hadn’t had a couple of people in the Braves organization – mainly Hank Aaron – from the very, very start that liked me and liked my ability. They treated me like a number one [pick] because Hank Aaron saw something in me that a lot of other people didn’t see.”

The origin and purpose of the Players Alliance and the influence Martin Luther King Jr. played in its founding is highlighted, as is the organization’s desire to increase the participation of diverse athletes in and around baseball. Bourn says on the program, “Everybody is not going to play in the big leagues, that’s just the name of the game. The numbers just don’t add up. But you can’t say that people can’t work in the big leagues. It doesn’t mean that you can’t learn the game and with analytics and economics – you can learn that going to college. I think that’s another thing that we need to push in the Black community, not just playing the game, but let’s get involved in front office a little bit. These people are working their way from being video coordinators and next thing you know, some people are GMs and stuff like that. Why can’t we do that too?”

In addition to MLB Network’s program, will showcase the MLB & USA Baseball “DREAM Series,” which is being held virtually in 2022 due to precautions related to COVID-19. The online exclusive program will feature an extended interview with Green, Johnson and Thomas – and their parents – beginning Monday at 12 p.m. ET. The parents of these student-athletes detail how they learned of the Dream Series and related programming while also addressing various baseball issues including cost of play, representation on the field and college scholarships. Under normal conditions, the in-person DREAM Series ( is a showcase event focused on the dynamics of pitching and catching for a diverse group of high school elite athletes from across the country during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

MLB Network launched its MLB Tonight: A Conversation series in June 2020 to generate candid discussion about racial injustice and inequality in society and baseball. Programs on women in baseball, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in baseball and 2021’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day have aired over the last year.