This area of one of the country's largest cities does not often get a great rap at first mention, but dig below the surface and you will find people who have a drive and determination to succeed that cannot be compared to many.
One of those people is Baysox outfielder D'Arby Myers.
"I didn't grow up in a very rich neighborhood, (and) my mom worked a few jobs to make sure she provided," said Myers. "I was a single child, so she did everything she could to make sure that I had everything I needed for sports and everything else."
Myers' mom, Rita, is the definition of a strong, independent woman.
"My mom was a single mom," said Myers. "My auntie was a big part of raising me. My grandma was also there. There were a lot of strong women. (My mom) worked in the entertainment business. She'd work on wardrobe and writing, and all kinds of things in that field."
Now, in order for young Myers to be successful, he would have to navigate around the detrimental hurdles of his neighborhood. This is where Myers' Aunt Coco and sports came into play.
"I played all sports: football, basketball, baseball, etc. That kept me busy. It kept me off the streets. The place I grew up was heavily gang-affiliated, so it kept me away from gangs and in school. Baseball came first.
"My auntie loved baseball. (She and my mom) got me a bat when I was three years old. I had a bat and a football, so I just played both. (Baseball) was my auntie's favorite sport. My great-grandfather played in the Negro Leagues, so it was in the family. All the generations after him played football or ran track. I played everything well, but my mom and auntie plugged me into (baseball)."
Thankfully, South Central L.A. had plenty of baseball leagues to participate in, as well as several MLB-caliber influences that helped provide a picture of what it meant to be successful and still connected to the neighborhood.
"Every time that tee-ball or Little League came around, I played when I was younger," said Myers. "As I got older, it was something that I really enjoyed playing and I was really good at it. When I was 12 or 13, I got introduced to this scout, who came when I was working out. He told me that I had a chance to play baseball for a long time. He told me to stay focused, get good grades and keep working hard. He said, 'you have some skills.' That really motivated me.
"The part of L.A. that I grew up in had a lot of guys in the Big Leagues (Daryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Chili Davis, etc.). You'd always see a park named after them or hear stories about those guys, so that helped, too. Knowing that these guys came from the same place I came from gave me inspiration."
This inspiration fueled Myers all the way to the 2006 MLB Draft. The Philadelphia Phillies selected the speedster in the fourth round of the draft, sending him across the country to Florida.
"My draft day experience was pretty interesting," said Myers. "I was at my auntie's house and we had a news crew come out, following me throughout the draft. The Phillies called, but it was weird because my cell phone had lost service. The next thing you know, the house phone rings and it's my (High School) Principal. He's like 'Hey, the Phillies are looking for you.'
"They called my school. I never had had a team call my school. He was like 'They're looking for you. They can't get in contact with you. Did you give them this number? I just wanted to see if you were there.' I walked outside and service came back on. The Phillies were on the phone and they told me, 'We want to pick you. Would you want to play professional baseball if we picked you?' I told them 'I sure do.'
With extended family living in the Clearwater area, Myers enjoyed his debut season in the Gulf Coast League. From there, he rose up through the Phillies minor league system, ending up at Double-A Reading by 2012.
Then, Myers started logging some miles. 2013 and 2014 were spent in Double-A Midland with the Athletics. 2015 was split between Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angles system. 2016 and 2017 were spent in both Mexico and Bridgeport, Connecticut, before the Orioles signed him ahead of the 2018 season.
Good thing Myers has a good, determined head on his shoulders.
"Personally, I'm the type of guy that's a very positive person," said Myers. "I feel that I'm blessed with the tools I have and where I'm at physically. I know I can play in the big leagues with what I have. That really helps keep a dream that I've had since I was a little boy alive. I don't want to get older and say 'man, I wish I would have kept going and not given up.'
"A lot people say that this is the age that you have to (get a last chance to be called up). That's not true because you see guys get to the big leagues at all different ages. Some guys get there at 20. Some guys get there at 30, so you never know when you might get there. For the guys who got there when they were older, if they would have given up or quit because someone said they were too old, they wouldn't have been where they are. I know I have a lot of years left in me."
Myers undoubtedly possesses a strong work ethic. It is found in his DNA and has been ingrained since he was a young boy.
"(The work ethic) is something that I've had since day one," said Myers. "My mom always told me that if you want something, you have to go out and get it. It's not going to come to you. That's really stuck with me. Throughout the years, a lot of things always happen, but it always comes back to mom. She's always a call away. I always talk to her and she's always there for me. I'm happy to have her.
His Aunt Coco was always a phone call away as well until her passing in 2012, when Myers was playing for the Class-A Advanced Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League.
"I was on the road in Florida and I talked to her every day like I talk to my mom," said Myers. "She was a huge baseball fan and knew a lot about baseball. She's the reason why I am in baseball. She taught me how to play and how to get the most out of my abilities, not only in baseball but in whatever I do. She's the reason why I got a 4.0 GPA in high school. (She and my mom) wouldn't let me go to the batting cages unless I did my homework. I had to do my school work and get the grades to play and get the things I wanted."
As Myers has gotten older, his perspective on his journey up to this point has changed. What could have easily been filled with frustration has permanently transformed to joy and thankfulness, especially for the two leading ladies who helped him become the person he is today.
"When I was young, my mom and auntie were always taking me from Little League team to Little League team to the batting cages," said Myers. "They spent so much money on me in the batting cages. That showed me their appreciation and want for me to be successful. That kept my drive alive.
"Now that I'm older, I reflect back on those things: how they'd take all their money and spend it on me, whether it was investing on the trainer, the hitting coach or a baseball guy to give lessons. They never gave up and stopped and said 'I don't have any more money.' They found a way to get something so that I could keep going and playing."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.