MLB Network will air two documentaries this Sunday, August 30th beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET that offer an inside look into the 2015 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, which was hosted by the Texas Rangers in early August and was based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Area. The specials, titled Building Dreams, feature commentary from various RBI World Series players, coaches and family members, executives from Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers, plus MLB Educational Programming Consultant and daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson Sharon Robinson, Rangers legend and 14-Time All-Star Ivan Rodriguez, All-Star pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays Chris Archer, Texas Rangers pitcher and RBI World Series alumnus Yovani Gallardo, and former UCLA softball player Jen Schroeder.
The documentaries highlight several unique experiences for the players in the RBI World Series, including MLB Scouting Bureau "Workout Days" for professional scouts and collegiate recruiters, visits to the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum, being recognized at games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, participating in "PLAY BALL" events, and the announcement of the winners of the special RBI World Series "Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life" essay contest.
Building Dreams focuses on several of the tournament's participants and their touching backstories, including the following:
BASEBALL (in order of appearance)
- Carlos Baldenegro, Arizona RBI (Phoenix): When he was in the sixth grade, Carlos' father was deported to Mexico and his family had to band together to make ends meet. With hard work and long-distance encouragement from his father, Carlos earned a baseball scholarship at Phoenix College. His father was eventually able to return to the U.S. and surprised Carlos at one of his high school games.
- Tyrone Thomas, Houston Astros RBI: In August 2014, Tyrone was diagnosed with hypotrophic cardiomyopathy, which put him at an elevated risk for sudden cardiac arrest, and was told that his baseball playing days were over. Just three days later, he received a recruitment letter from Stanford University. After consulting with several cardiologists, Tyrone underwent a procedure to insert an implantable defibrillator into his chest as a safeguard, and he has since resumed his playing career. He is striving to one day play at the collegiate and pro levels.
- Andre Christopher, Cincinnati Reds RBI: Andre's father took his own life when Andre was just eight years old, and he has since used baseball as his outlet and guiding force. Tragically, right before he left for the 2015 RBI World Series, a mentor and someone Andre considered his brother was killed. Andre was offered the opportunity to be excused from the team to grieve, but he declined, saying, "Being on the field is what allows me to get through this."
- George Barber, coach, Miami Marlins RBI: Draft by the Los Angeles Angels in 2010, George is using his experiences in both the professional level and the Marlins RBI program to give back to the young men who are currently playing for Miami Marlins RBI, the team that went on to win the Senior Baseball Division Championship of the 2015 RBI World Series.
SOFTBALL (in order of appearance)
- Leisha Nakagawa, Nobu Yamauchi RBI (Hilo, Hawaii): Leisha overcame people telling her that she "can't catch, can't be on the varsity team" to earn herself a college scholarship to play softball. At the RBI World Series, she was able to meet her idol and role model, former UCLA softball star Jen Schroeder.
- Roneshia Rudolph, River Region RBI (Montgomery, Alabama): In the RBI Regionals (to earn a berth to the RBI World Series), Roneshia suffered a serious eye injury on the field. She helped inspire her team to clinch a spot in the 2015 RBI World Series, but was concerned about ever playing softball again, particularly in college. Thankfully, she was able to heal and get on the field for the championship tournament.
- Lisa Brooks, Houston Astros RBI: Lisa, who is the most vocal and the biggest optimist of anyone on her team, was diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age. After several concerning complications with her condition, she had surgery to help correct the curvature in her spine. She resumed her playing career and now serves as an inspiration for other young women and families who suffer from this condition.
- Andrea Scali, Cleveland RBI: After entering the RBI World Series with Division I-caliber ability on the mound and several college scholarship offers already received, Andrea left the RBI World Series having pitched the tournament's only no-hitter. Andrea's older sister, Alli, also played in RBI, and the two sisters helped a friend and teammate when she needed it most.
The RBI World Series, which is the international championship tournament of the RBI program, featured 24 youth baseball and softball RBI teams representing 18 cities from around the United States, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The RBI program, which has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception, 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, while also encouraging academic achievement and success and teaching the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves approximately 230,000 young men and women in over 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 World Series, please visit MLB.com/rbiworldseries.
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