Cardinals celebrate Play Ball initiative

Cardinals celebrate Play Ball initiative

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals and D-backs weren't the only players taking the field pregame Saturday and Sunday at Busch Stadium.

As part of Major League Baseball's Play Ball initiative, children from around the St. Louis area were invited to participate in the pregame festivities, which included a parade on the warning track and first pitch on Saturday. A select few had the chance to stand next to Cardinals players at their position in the field and collect an autographed baseball. One was also chosen as the public address announcer for an inning on Sunday. The team distributed plastic bats and balls on Ford Plaza throughout the weekend.

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Last Saturday and Sunday, MLB celebrated Play Ball Weekend. In conjunction with the other big league clubs, the Cardinals wore Play Ball patches on their jerseys and special Play Ball shirts during batting practice at Dodger Stadium. Each team participated in its own way, with events such as youth clinics and equipment donations taking place throughout the weekend. On a West Coast swing away from home, the Cardinals pushed their Play Ball events back one week.

A partnership between MLB and USA Baseball, the Play Ball initiative was announced in June 2015 and is designed to encourage more youth participation in the sport.

MLB also supports its younger fans in other ways, including Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and MLB Urban Youth Academies. To learn more about the Play Ball initiative, visit MLB.com/playball.

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.