PLAY BALL SUMMER will encourage mayors across the country and in Puerto Rico to host activities to engage citizens, families, and city departments to organize individual and community-based events (such as playing catch, "running bases," bat & ball games, family gatherings, etc.). These events will be focused on connecting families and communities with the game through baseball-related activities.
This effort is a continuation of USCM's support for the "PLAY BALL" initiative, a joint program from MLB, USA Baseball, USA Softball and MiLB that focuses on the fun nature of baseball and softball and encourages widespread participation in baseball- and softball-related activities. During the month of August 2015, in what was considered "PLAY BALL Month" by the USCM, mayors implemented the initiative throughout U.S. and Puerto cities, and connected the National Pastime with communities, especially those in urban and underserved areas.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: "The support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors last year helped raise tremendous awareness for PLAY BALL and we are very pleased to expand that partnership in 2016 with PLAY BALL SUMMER. Baseball is a safe game that is enjoyed by people of all ages, and through the PLAY BALL program and the support of the mayors, we are looking forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds between our game and our country's communities."
"The support of the U.S. Conference of Mayors has been invaluable to the PLAY BALL initiative as we seek to get more young people across the country playing baseball and softball," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "Many of these mayors represent cities that are home to Minor League Baseball teams and we look forward to continuing this partnership to encourage children to play ball."
"Mayors are pleased again this year to join Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball in bringing the fun and enjoyment of baseball and softball to our cities," said USCM President Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. "I am proud to have already participated in a PLAY BALL event in my city and look forward to seeing other mayors across the country celebrate our Great National Pastime!"
"The Conference of Mayors is honored to once again join Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball in its PLAY BALL program," said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. "We are pleased with the record number of mayors who have made commitments to sponsor a PLAY BALL activity in their cities this summer."
PLAY BALL SUMMER has focused on recruiting a minimum of one city in as many of the 50 states and Puerto Rico as possible. Primary targets are cities with Major League and Minor League Baseball clubs. With the assistance of Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, local leaders and citizens will use an electronic system to self-report their activities to www.usmayors.org/playball.
PLAY BALL is a joint initiative between MLB, USA Baseball and USA Softball. In addition to encouraging participation in both formal and casual baseball and softball activities, PLAY BALL aims to give kids the opportunity to enjoy the game in a fun environment by highlighting the many ways baseball and softball can be played by providing a memorable experience. PlayBall.org is the PLAY BALL initiative's online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com, USASoftball.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 "PlayBall 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, Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier, Curtis Granderson, Matt Kemp, Francisco Lindor, Evan Longoria and Dustin Pedroia. "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 educational videos featuring Hall of Famer and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, and Kansas City Royals Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dayton Moore, among others. Health and safety information, including through the Pitch Smart and Play Sun Smart programs, also is available.