The dog was small and scared, her tan fur matted with burrs. She stood, utterly lost, in the shade of the lone tree in the parking lot of the Urban Youth Academy in Compton. We made eye contact; she wagged her tail.
I was there on a June afternoon to work on a story about the academy's mission to return baseball to the inner city. In 2006, Major League Baseball invested $10 million in the 10-acre facility, which sits in a corner of the El Camino College Compton Center campus near the junction of the Artesia (91) and Long Beach (710) freeways.
I wanted to speak with the academy's managing director, Ike Hampton, about how it was going. Was the game making a comeback in the city where Al Cowens, Eddie Murray, Chet Lemon, Chili Davis and Ozzie Smith had grown up? Was the academy making a difference in the local kids' lives?