Cincinnati set to host Jr. RBI Classic tourney

Eight baseball teams, four softball teams will participate in many All-Star Week events

CINCINNATI -- The seventh annual Jr. RBI Classic tournament will begin on Friday, with teams from all over the country convening in the Queen City ahead of Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile.

The event features eight baseball teams and four softball teams, and it will provide the 11- and 12-year-olds with seven friendly games. Cincinnati Reds RBI (Cincinnati), City of Shreveport RBI (Shreveport, La.), Driving Park Youth Baseball RBI (Columbus, Ohio), Paterson RBI (Paterson, N.J.), Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee -- Nashville RBI (Nashville, Tenn.), Macon RBI (Macon, Ga.), City of Louisville RBI (Louisville, Ky.) and San Francisco Jr. Giants RBI (San Francisco) are the eight baseball teams participating in this year's event. Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI (Cleveland), Cincinnati Reds RBI (Cincinnati), Play Ball Indiana RBI (Indianapolis) and River Region RBI (Montgomery, Ala.) are the four softball teams participating.

Katie Ringel, senior coordinator of Youth Programs for MLB, said via email that the participating teams were selected through league achievements and advancement, not based on winning games.

"Teams were invited to participate as a way to reward local leagues for achievements over the past year, and/or to help facilitate growth in their local programs," Ringel said. "These achievements include things like significant upticks in participation, increased program opportunities -- [such as] adding an educational component to their program, expansion to include new playing divisions, and so on."

The teams will arrive on Thursday, with the games beginning at 8 a.m. ET on Friday and continuing until Monday. The games will be played at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, Withrow Field and Hirsch Field.

All of the games will be played in the morning, leaving the players to participate in the many other MLB All-Star Week festivities in the evening. The participating kids will attend T-Mobile All-Star FanFest, All-Star Sunday, the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, a skills clinic by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, community service activity at The Giving Fields, and they'll take a trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

While it is considered a tournament, Ringel said the scores of the game will not be kept during the event and there won't be a champion.

"It's an event more than a tournament," Ringel said. "The games themselves are an afterthought in the mix of all of the other All-Star activities they'll see and do. To emphasize the fun over the competition, we have rules in place to prevent blowouts -- limiting runs per inning -- and do not keep track of the scores. There will be no champion crowned."

Robert Bondy is an associate producer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.