Putting the BASE in Baseball

By Erin Keating:

The Assumption College Men’s Baseball team scored another win last Thursday. The team beat American International College 14-12, with major help from this year’s captain and former BASE Astros player, Alex Richardson.

Founded by Robert Lewis Jr. in 2013, the BASE program “combines exceptional baseball and softball training and competition with academic and career resources to empower student-athletes to achieve their full potential both on and off the field”. Working with student athletes across all ages, The BASE organization works to dispel the myth and stigma of unsuccessful and troublesome youths from urban communities.

The program was established through the Boston Astros, a Boston-based baseball team coached by Lewis since the 1970s. Lewis was looking for a way to provide resources for urban youths to play baseball, foster relationships with fellow players and coaches and build on their potential outside of baseball. Members participate on the Boston BASE Astros team and travel to Chicago every year. Players have access to not only baseball equipment, but coaches’ training, both on and off the field and college recruitment.

Richardson says when first deciding to go to college, he was able to rely on his involvement with The Base to help him make his decision, and help with financial support. Assumption College’s partnership with The Base program allowed Richardson to receive a four-year scholarship and a spot on the Assumption Baseball Team. Richardson calls the partnership “extremely generous,” saying “I was lucky enough to receive the scholarship…without the scholarship it (going to college) would not be a possibility.”

Assumption Associate Professor of Sports Marketing, Libby O’Hara, is a faculty mentor for The BASE program and has developed a strong relationship with Richardson over the past four years. O’Hara is a believer in the power of The BASE program, “The Base is working to change the paradigm of urban youth in America-baseball is a tool to propel change.”

Two former BASE players, Philip Gaines and Manny Peguero, also play for the Greyhounds. Peguero’s pitching was a big part of Assumption’s win on Thursday.

Several former BASE players have been or are currently members of Major League Baseball teams. This includes Manny Delcarmen, with the Boston Red Sox; Juan Carlos Portes, with the Minnesota Twins; Nelfi Zapata, with the New York Mets; Eddy Morabel, with the Texas Rangers; Jamill Moquete, with the Baltimore Orioles; Calvin Graves, with the Chicago Cubs; Pat Ruotolo, with the San Francisco Giants; and Ben Bowden, with the Colorado Rockies.

With a “methodology that cultivates excellence, belief and love,” Richardson says his experience with The Base program has transcended baseball and has been able to apply his time at Assumption, both on and off the field. He is able to take the lessons from being a part of the program and address them to real life.

As for his future, Richardson hopes to work for the state, working with social issues and social policy or for a nonprofit organization, such as TEAM Impact. Although he does not know which route he will take, he is thankful for his experiences with The Base program, and he knows he “wants to help out the world in some way.”

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