LOS ANGELES - Major League Baseball announced today the launch of the inaugural Jr. RBI Classic Showcases, which the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will co-host in Los Angeles (May 24-26). The event will be held at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton and will mark the first competitive element of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program's younger Jr. RBI playing divisions. The Jr. RBI playing divisions (ages 5 to 12), which are designed to focus on teaching the fundamentals and highlighting the fun of playing baseball and softball, serve as feeder programs for the age 13-18 baseball and softball divisions of the overall RBI program. The Houston Astros will also co-host MLB's Jr. RBI Classic Showcase in Houston (May 31-June 1).
"The Jr. RBI playing divisions are the largest growing sector of the RBI program, so, it is important to expand playing opportunities and offer them a memorable experience," said Tom Brasuell, MLB Vice President of Community Affairs. "The new Jr. RBI Classic Showcases will provide enhanced playing opportunities and showcase some terrific young talent."
"We're thrilled to co-host MLB's inaugural Jr. RBI showcase," said LADF Executive Director Nichol Whiteman. "It's a big step in our renewed commitment to youth baseball in underserved LA communities. This showcase supports our Dodgers RBI goals of increasing the number of youngsters in baseball early on, while continuing to provide them with engaging opportunities that encourage them to stick with it."
The Los Angeles Jr. RBI Classic Showcase will begin on Saturday, May 24 and will last through Monday, May 26, with all games being played at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton. The participating teams are Dodgers RBI (consisting of three separate teams from the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Boys & Girls Club of Venice and Los Angeles Recreation and Parks), Angels RBI (Anaheim, CA) and San Diego Padres RBI (San Diego, CA).
In addition to tournament play, Major League Baseball is playing host to all RBI participants at a local college campus, with the intention of inspiring them through the experience of "campus life." All teams will stay on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC). Prior to the games starting, MLB, LADF and LA City Council President Herb Wesson will provide opening remarks and a clinic will be conducted with all teams on Friday, May 23 at Dodger Stadium at 6:00 pm. Bank of America, Official Bank of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gold Sponsor of Dodgers RBI, will provide volunteers to help with the clinic, which will include hitting, pitching and base-running stations. LADF will play host to an additional 100 Dodgers RBI youngsters ages 11-12 who will also partake in the clinic. SportsNet LA's Dodger Dog truck will be on site and bottled water will be provided courtesy of Avita. Further stressing the importance of character development, an Event Assembly will take place at USC with four former RBI participants on Saturday, May 24 at 7:00 pm. Opening remarks will be provided by Alex Johnson, Assistant Senior Deputy for Education and Public Safety to County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.
About Dodgers RBI
Dodgers RBI is a comprehensive, urban youth baseball program for boys and girls, ages 5-18. Working together with local organizations, parents and volunteers, Dodgers RBI currently offers 2,400 youth the opportunity to learn and enjoy the games of baseball and softball with special emphasis on education, recreation and healthy habits for young people. Dodgers RBI is a cornerstone program of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers. LADF provides uniforms and equipment, recruitment assistance, cash grants and education/health resources to all teams. Additionally, Dodgers RBI will provide resources to ensure increased participation by youth ages 13-18 and place special emphasis on African- Americans. Dodgers RBI is part of MLB's RBI program. The RBI program has provided a path for many players to enter the college and professional game. Alumni of LA RBI who currently play in the Majors are Coco Crisp (Oakland A's) and James McDonald (Chicago Cubs).
The RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, which is in its 26th year of operation and began in Los Angeles, is administered by Major League Baseball and is designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic achievement and success, and teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves more than 220,000 young men and women in more than 300 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $30 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues. For more information about the RBI program and the RBI World Series, please visit MLB.com/rbi.
About MLB Urban Youth Academy
The MLB Urban Youth Academies in Compton and Houston operate on a year-round basis, offering free baseball and softball instruction, as well as various clinics for youth throughout Southern California and Houston. Each facility features multiple fields, including a show field with scoreboard, grandstand, seating, dugouts and lights, as well as indoor components for training and practice. Additionally, Academies offer educational and baseball vocation programming including tutoring, clinics and free seminars on umpiring, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports and broadcast journalism, public relations and statistics, and athletic sports training. "Community Days," scouting events and other free programs are additional activities that take place annually at the Academy. MLB also established and is operating the New Orleans MLB Urban Youth Academy at Wesley Barrow Stadium, and has announced plans to build academies in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hialeah, Florida, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.