MEMPHIS, Tennessee - Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program will host its biennial RBI Institute in Memphis Feb. 16-19, which is a training conference for coaches and league administrators within RBI affiliations from throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Curaçao.
From 4:00-6:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, Feb. 18, MLB and the Memphis Redbirds will host a free PLAY BALL event at AutoZone Park, at which MLB will make a donation to Pitch In For Baseball toward baseball and softball equipment that will benefit youth in Memphis Public Schools. The PLAY BALL event is free and open to the public and children ages 6 through 13. Registration can be completed on-site beginning at 3:30 p.m. or at this link: http://bit.ly/2kk9ebZ. Event attire is sneakers, and no gloves or bats are needed. Each participant will receive a PLAY BALL t-shirt. Event registration will be capped.
The RBI Institute covers topics such as league operations, players' health on and off the field (i.e., Pitch Smart, anti-bullying and drug-free lifestyles), educational programs, best practices, coaches training, league finances, equipment procurement and more.
The Redbirds have hosted an RBI site since 1998, where boys and girls ages 6 through 16 join with children from their own community to form teams which travel throughout the city to play each other. Memphis RBI began with six locations and has grown to serve 12 communities and over 1,000 participants.
The mission of the Memphis RBI program is to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth through instructional and competitive play, while encouraging youth to achieve academically, demonstrate good sportsmanship, and contribute positively to the community.
In July, the Redbirds RBI program was one of 12 cities and national youth leagues to participate in the All-Star Youth Classic in San Diego, California, alongside the 87th MLB All-Star Game. Eleven kids and three coaches from the Memphis program played seven games against other youth programs from California, New York, Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Mexico in a round-robin tournament format.
In addition to the games, the participants toured the University of San Diego, participated in a community beach cleanup effort, enjoyed Major League Baseball's popular All-Star FanFest, attended the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Legends & Celebrity Softball game, as well as the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
About Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities
RBI is the Major League Baseball youth initiative designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities with the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic success, and teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. The RBI program has served approximately two million young people since its inception in 1989. More than 200,000 young men and women currently participate in RBI programs in over 200 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues in some capacity.