03/29/2007 3:24 PM ET
RBI Baseball returning to Cincinnati
Reds Community Fund, Cincinnati Public Schools and Boys & Girls Club team up to make it happen
CINCINNATI -- Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is returning to youth baseball fields in Cincinnati this spring thanks to a partnership between the Reds Community Fund, Cincinnati Public Schools and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati.
The league will feature six teams from Cincinnati Public Schools. Tryouts for the teams were held the first week of March and teams begin play this week and will play a 10-game schedule with a city tournament scheduled for the first week of May. The participating teams are: Clark Montessori, Linn Street Lions, Roberts Paideia, Stewart Park Jaguars, Mt. Washington Mustangs, and Dater Montessori Gators.
"The RBI program represents a meaningful addition to our baseball-themed outreach," said Charley Frank, executive director of the Reds Community Fund. "It allows us to participate in Major League Baseball's primary youth baseball program and provides more opportunities for kids to play baseball locally."
Cincinnati Public Schools has not offered baseball at the junior high level for several years, but surveys indicated there was substantial interest among the students, which led to the RBI revival. Over the next few years, the hope is that the program will become a key feeder program into Greater Cincinnati high school baseball programs.
The Reds Community Fund and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati received $20,000 in grants for this program thanks in part to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation with assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice and Major League Baseball.
RBI is entering its 19th season with more than 200 cities participating internationally. John Young, a former Major League Baseball player and scout, developed the concept to provide disadvantaged youth with an opportunity to learn and enjoy the game. The program also focuses on educational and social skills through positive athletic competition.
Youth baseball funding has been an initiative of the Reds Community Fund for three years. The CETA program (Community Engagement through Athletics) has been a funding mechanism for inner-city youth baseball (Knothole) and softball organizations. In order to qualify and remain eligible for the program, each organization must have a minimum of three teams and participate in a number of community-based activities. Teams may use funds for uniforms, equipment, assorted fees and trophies. This year, the Reds Community Fund will expand the program to reach more than 100 teams, representing an investment of more than $250,000.
Since its inception in 2001, the Reds Community Fund has used baseball as a vehicle to impact the lives of underprivileged kids. Through its signature outreach program, the Reds Rookie Success League, as well as its youth baseball and softball funding initiatives, and its field renovation efforts, the Community Fund has impacted more than 8,000 children throughout Reds Country. With planned expansion of each program in 2007, the anticipated number of youth impacted by the Reds Community Fund will expand beyond 15,000.
For more information on the RBI baseball program, visit www.reds.com or call (513) 765-7020.