Jr. RBI players enjoy change of pace with Wiffle ball
Friendly tournament for 11-12-year-olds canceled due to wet fields in Cincy
By Robert Bondy
CINCINNATI -- Baseball and softball turned into Wiffle ball on Saturday at the Jr. RBI Classic in Cincinnati.
Eight baseball and four softball teams comprised of players ages 11-12 had been scheduled to participate in a friendly tournament as part of All-Star Game festivities. But due to standing water on some of the community fields from overnight rain, all of the Jr. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities games were canceled for Saturday, with no makeup date planned. Wiffle ball became the perfect replacement.
"I like it. Just being here is fun," said Jarquavious Brown, a pitcher from the Macon, Ga., RBI league. "I'm so glad to be picked for this activity. Wiffle ball is really like baseball, but is much more fun, without gloves."
Both coaches and players participated in the games, with plenty of diving grabs and laughs throughout the morning. Harold Douglas, the coach of the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee -- Nashville RBI, was happy his players were able to be part of the more laid-back Wiffle ball games, and he considered it a highlight of the event.
"This is a great opportunity for these kids to have a lot of fun," Douglas said. "I was just telling one of the other coaches [that] I think these kids are going to talk about this more than they talk about the baseball games. This is just a phenomenal opportunity for them to be indoors playing this game. A Wiffle ball game has never looked this [much] fun -- just seeing these kids enjoy themselves."
Since there were more baseball teams than softball teams scheduled to participate, boys' and girls' clubs played one another. This was something Caitlyn Thomas, a right fielder for River Region RBI (Montgomery, Ala.), enjoyed about the activity.
"It was a good experience, because I had never played Wiffle ball with a bunch of boys," Thomas said. "But it was also good because it was a good experience."
Alaysia Thurmon, a teammate of Thomas' on River Region RBI, had fun playing Wiffle ball, as well.
"I enjoyed it, because we got to experience what other people can do," Thurmon said. "And be around people your age and people that can relate to you."
Robert Bondy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.