Dodgers To Celebrate Inaugural 'Play Ball Weekend' As Part Of League-Wide Support Of Youth Participation In Baseball And Softball

LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) will celebrate the inaugural 'PLAY BALL WEEKEND,' a league-wide effort by MLB and all 30 Clubs to engage young baseball fans and celebrate the continued support of youth participation in baseball and softball. The initiative officially launches May 14-15 in ballparks around the League, with the Dodgers continuing their celebration today. On Saturday, LADF, joined by Dodger Alumnus Billy Ashley and the Dodger character, played host to a ball and bat distribution at Dodgers Dreamfields Baldwin Hills Recreation Center and Rancho Cienega Sports Complex for 400 Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities) and Miracle League youngsters. The Dodgers will continue to observe PLAY BALL WEEKEND with the following activities:

Today, May 11

  • Whiffle ball at a Neighborhood School: Dodger alum Matt Luke and the Dodger character will play host to a whiffle ball game for third and fourth graders at Glen Alta Elementary School, 3410 Sierra Street in Los Angeles, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Each participant will receive a Dodger hat, a whiffle ball set and tickets to the May 14 game as part of Kids 4 Dodgers Baseball during PLAY BALL WEEKEND. 

Saturday, May 14

  • Baseball at the Beach with the Dodgers: The Dodgers will play whiffle ball at the beach Saturday morning with 60 youngsters from the Boys & Girls Clubs. Each participant will receive a Dodger hat, a whiffle ball set and tickets to the May 23 game.

Sunday, May 15

  • ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Little League: the Manhattan Beach Little League will be this Sunday's featured Little League team as part of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and will be hosted by Adrian Gonzalez. The youngsters will be on hand for batting practice and will receive first base instruction from Gonzalez.
  • Little League Parade: More than 7,000 boys and girls from various Little Leagues will participate in a pregame parade around the warning track. This takes place select Sundays throughout the season and more details can be found by visiting www.dodgers.com/events.
  • Dodgers RBI Recognition: All 8 Dodgers RBI partner All 8 Dodgers RBI partner organizations, each represented by an administrator and current player will be recognized on the field during pregame ceremonies. City of Inglewood Department of Parks, Recreation and Library Services, City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation East and South Agency, Hollywood Indies Little League, Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club, MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton and Boys & Girls Clubs of Venice will partake. Dodgers RBI players will officially begin the game with "It's time for Dodger baseball!" A Dodgers RBI player will also participate in the managers' lineup exchange.
  • As a part of Kids 4 Dodger Baseball, more than one thousand local students will receive an all-inclusive Dodger game experience during PLAY BALL WEEKEND. Kids 4 Dodgers Baseball provides Los Angeles area underserved youth with a Dodger game experience courtesy of the Dodgers. Transportation to and from Dodger Stadium in a customized Dodger bus, tickets, a voucher for a Dodger Dog and beverage and a Kids 4 Dodgers Baseball T-shirt are included.

PLAY BALL WEEKEND is an extension of the PLAY BALL initiative (PlayBall.org), which launched in 2015 as the sport's largest effort to encourage widespread participation in both formal and casual baseball and softball activities. PLAY BALL WEEKEND also is a symbolic recognition of what MLB Clubs do year-round to support the growth of youth baseball and softball in their respective communities and beyond. 

All 30 Clubs will feature a variety of customized and unique ballpark elements in support of PLAY BALL WEEKEND. Additionally, Clubs will collectively distribute more than 320,000 plastic bat & ball sets throughout the United States and Canada, both in ballparks and at community events.

Additionally, Major League players, coaches and managers all will wear specially made PLAY BALL t-shirts during batting practice and PLAY BALL patches on their uniforms during the weekend's games.

PLAY BALL is a joint initiative between MLB and USA Baseball. In addition to encouraging participation in both formal and casual baseball activities, PLAY BALL aims to give kids the opportunity to enjoy the game in a fun environment by highlighting the many ways baseball can be played and providing memorable experiences; introduce young people to the sport who otherwise may not have the chance to experience it; and offer a healthy and active lifestyle options where many of those opportunities are being offered less frequently.

PlayBall.org is the PLAY BALL initiative's online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com and other partner websites. PlayBall.org features youth-oriented content, including baseball trivia and quizzes, and video highlights from MLB games, social media content, photos and a "Play Ball Near You" interactive map that locates local community leagues. The site also features access to video podcasts and highlights from MLB Network's new youth-focused show "Play Ball," which features interviews and on-field demonstrations with top players throughout the League, including Nolan Arenado, Curtis Granderson, Matt Kemp, Francisco Lindor and Evan Longoria. "Play Ball" airs on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. ET. PlayBall.org also links to USABaseball.com, which provides players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper play and instruction, including education videos featuring Hall of Famer and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz, among others. Health and safety information, including through the Pitch Smart and Play Sun Smart programs, also is available.

For questions on PLAY BALL WEEKEND at Dodger Stadium, please contact the Dodgers' Public Relations department by replying to this email or calling (323) 224-1301.