Boston Astros win Triple Crown Sports U.S. Baseball Championship in Virginia
The Red Sox are not Boston’s only winning baseball team. The Boston Astros have just won the Triple Crown Sports U.S. Baseball Championship for teams with players up to 18 years old.
This was the second time in four years that the Boston Astros won this national championship. Seventy-five teams from 21 states competed last month in Richmond, Va. for the coveted title. It took a series of victories during the tournament for the Astros to emerge as the U.S. champions.
The Red Sox have Fenway Park. The Boston Astros’ home park is Jim Rice Field on Washington Street in Roxbury near Melnea Cass Blvd. The teenage ballplayers come primarily from Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan.
According to Peter Gammons, Baseball Hall of Fame sports writer: “This is, hands down, the best urban baseball team in America.”
Robert Lewis Jr. started the Boston Astros in the South End 34 years ago with the belief that “baseball could be a powerful vehicle to teach young men values and life skills such as the importance of teamwork, motivation, resiliency and respect both on and off the playing field.”
Any young man from the community can join the Astros. “I never wanted dues or fees to become an impediment,” stated Lewis. “Parents of suburban teams are able to pay for their children’s involvement in baseball; but I have raised the funds from generous beneficiaries to support the program.”
When Lewis says you have to “earn your spot” on the team he means you have to accept team discipline. Players have to show up for practice and maintain their grades in school.
“We play many of our games on college ball fields when we travel,” explained Lewis. “I hope that by being on campus our players will begin to develop an interest in going to college.”
Lewis is proud of the fact that he took the team to play in a high crime area of Chicago and earned the applause of residents who had felt abandoned. “Through my ‘Home Base’ organization, I hope to develop baseball as a tool for resolving many of the problems of urban youth.”