"Bro, I just stepped on a baseball that’s my season," Tremayne Cobb Jr. says to his baseball teammates in a laughing matter. He's always full of funny comments.
He then mimics one of his teammate's Snapchats before drills start. His teammates can't get enough.
But the Charles Flowers High School junior takes the game seriously. Known for his defense and speed, several D1 coaches salivate over the shortstop. Last season, his squad won their first county title. He also led the state in stolen bases.
"I think I am the best even though there might be other guys out there I don’t know," Cobb says confidently. "If you don't believe you are the best, you can't be the best."
"He will try and out work you," Cobb's high school coach George Brown adds. "You have to pull him off (the field). It’s getting dark, Tremayne. You can’t take any extra balls after practice. 'Just two more, just two more,' he'll say.'"
The Upper Marlboro native plays year-round with teams, which includes the USA teams for his age group. His mission is clear: Make it to the big leagues and put Prince George's County baseball on the map.
"I just want to give back just to see PG County. We don’t have the best fields. PG doesn’t have the best baseball programs at any schools. Like if I make it and come back and give, that will just warm my heart," Cobb said.
Standing in the way of his dream is racism. He’s been called the n-word during tournaments in the south. At one game, even umpires showed up with Confederate flags on their cars.
"If you see somebody pulling up with a Confederate flag on a pickup truck, you are going to be like, 'Why are you here?' And then they see we are an all-black team! It just feels bad. We actually won that game by three. We saw them (the umpires) pull off and we were like, 'Yeah, we won.'"
As a black kid in baseball, Cobb is on an uneven playing field. Only 5 percent of D1 baseball players were black last year. Just about 8 percent are in the MLB.
"I feel as though like if a white person has to do this much, I have to do this much," as he raises one hand considerably higher than the other. "I have to be way better than they have to be because people look at me and think I can't do it. It makes you push harder."
On top of that, Cobb can't wear his hair the way he wants to.
"I like to braid my hair. But like, they portray people with braids as a thug, so I can’t really braid my hair for baseball. It sucks."
One of the other challenges facing the 15-year-old is the underfunding of his high school baseball program. There are several patches in the field. The team has a makeshift dugout, and it has to share the field with the soccer team. Last year, the budget for the baseball team was just a little more than $1,000.
"Obviously they are not pushing money towards us," he remarks. "It makes me want to do better. I know one day if I make it, I can do what they didn’t do for me."
It's that attitude that could help him make it to the MLB one day. No matter if it’s the racist insults or underfunded programs, Cobb will get it done. He says he just needs to add 10 to 15 pounds and then he'll be set to take everybody by storm.
Cobb says he wants to play for the Yankees at shortstop just like his favorite player Derek Jeter. He hopes one day he can be a role model for young black kids who have dreams of playing baseball.
For a more in-depth look at Cobb, check out the original story here: https://theundefeated.com/features/tremayne-cobb-jr-pg-county-baseball/