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'It changes the game': Fans react to news of Negro Leagues statistics integrating with MLB records

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Posted at 5:29 PM, May 29, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wednesday’s news of the Negro Leagues Baseball statistics being integrated into national MLB record books is national news with unique, local ties to Kansas City.

As the home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the city is already known for its historical database.

It’s what drew fans like the ones KSHB 41 spoke with Wednesday to the museum, whose visit aligned with the historic timing of the statistics announcement.

"It’s actually really exciting to be here on a day like today," said Kayci Lewis, an educator visiting from Lawrence.

She was one of three educators KSHB 41's Rachel Henderson spoke with who all agreed the news proves how necessary lifelong learning is.

"There’s so much to learn' just because you’ve graduated high school or whatever, like you’re not done learning,” Lewis said.

As fellow educators, Mary Lou Kosty and Sherry Wann share the same sentiment.

“As teachers, we’re lifelong learners, and as baseball fans, I love baseball, I love the Royals, I love learning about Buck O’Neil and everything that he has brought to Kansas City, and it’s fascinating and exciting to see that this is actually happening,” Wann said.

Lifelong fans like Raymond and Lucille Mancini feel that excitement too. They’re also seeing how being lifelong fans and learners goes hand-in-hand.

“We were born a long time ago,” Raymond Mancini laughed. “You get like a little kid again.”

That’s an age Elijah Williams is a bit closer to.

Being in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum reminds him of the history he wishes he knew growing up.

“If I was younger, a young African American kid playing baseball again, I feel like that’s people to look up to that didn’t really get the shine and all the spotlight that young kids actually get today,” Williams said.

Those are young kids, like the ones Lewis works with.

“There’s so much that I talk about with my students: ‘This is a really cool thing; you should pay attention; you should care about it; it’s exciting,’” Lewis said.

It’s especially exciting for other educators.

“It changes things," Kosty said. "It changes the game, and that’s huge. Learning names that we don’t know, you know, the records that were made that we have never heard about, so that’s exciting too.”

But for these fans, it’s past time to learn this history.

“It's taken this long for this to be something that's really recognized and appreciated,” Wann said.

So on a day like today, they’re paying attention.

“So many stories, I can't believe it,” Lucille Mancini said. “You just have to open your eyes. I wish our history would tell all those stories too."