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Inner-city game getting a big boost

With fewer inner-city children playing baseball, MLB has a plan in place to get more participation in the sport.

Originally Published: February 17, 2004
By Alan Schwarz | Special to ESPN.com

It is one of baseball's fondest and most nostalgic images: Willie Mays, then a cherubic star with the New York Giants, jumping into a makeshift stickball game with local kids on 155th Street and St. Nichols Place in Manhattan.

Baseball used to be an urban ritual. Cement and fire hydrants were just as integral to the sport as dusty Texas sandlots. But Mays himself, 40 years later, can't help but notice the change.

"I don't think they can play in the street nowadays," Mays said. "They're ...

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