Major League Baseball, The Phillies & the City of Philadelphia Officially Open the Ryan Howard Training Center at the Phillies MLB Youth Academy

New indoor baseball/softball training center at Marian Anderson Recreation Center to provide free instruction and educational programs to young ballplayers

Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies and the City of Philadelphia celebrated the official opening of the Ryan Howard Training Center at the Phillies MLB Youth Academy during a special ceremony today at the Academy's brand-new indoor training center at Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia.

The new Ryan Howard Training Center at the Phillies MLB Youth Academy will be used by more than 8,000 Phillies RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) players, making baseball and softball more accessible to underserved and inner city youth.

This state-of-the-art, 7,500 square-foot indoor baseball/softball training center, which was added to the existing recreation center, is equipped with four retractable batting cages, similar to the batting cages at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla., which is the spring training site for the Phillies' minor league players. In addition, RBI players will also have access to fitness training, as well as educational and vocational programs featuring top-notch instruction from mentors including former and current Major League players, scouts, coaches and many others.

The new facility was designed by local architect Ewing Cole, and also features artwork from The City of Philadelphia's Percent for Art Program, which created a 66' wide by 4' high mural of baseball greats on the exterior of the building.

"Generations of young ballplayers in Philadelphia will benefit from this facility," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "The City of Philadelphia is always pleased to offer more ways to engage our youth and their communities. We were fortunate to work with a collection of enthusiastic partners that truly care about this city's young people."

The Ryan Howard Training Center at the Phillies MLB Youth Academy is named after Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, who along with his wife, Krystle Howard, have supported the Academy through The Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation.

"It has been our passion and mission to give back to our community, especially when it relates to education and baseball," said Ryan and Krystle Howard, The Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation. "We are very excited for the baseball and softball players that have the opportunity to take advantage and enjoy the Academy's fields, facility, and programs."

"This is an exciting day for young, aspiring baseball and softball players looking to pursue their dreams," said David Montgomery, Phillies Chairman. "With the opening of The Ryan Howard Training Center at the Phillies MLB Youth Academy, this center will open many doors for our program participants.

Continued Montgomery: "It couldn't be more fitting to name this training center after Ryan Howard, who has made an indelible mark on the City of Philadelphia - not just on the baseball field, but in the community as well. He and his wife, Krystle, have once again demonstrated their passion for education and baseball through their commitment to this beautiful facility."

The Ryan Howard Training Center is part of The Phillies MLB Youth Academy, which is the only multi-site MLB Youth Academy in the country. In addition to the new indoor training center at the recreation center, The Phillies MLB Youth Academy consists of an outdoor location at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia. The outdoor location opened this past June and features two high-quality baseball fields and two girls' softball fields. Both MLB Academy sites will be used by the more than 8,000 RBI players in Philadelphia.

"Major League Baseball is proud to join the Phillies and the City of Philadelphia in opening this indoor training facility at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center," said Tony Reagins, Senior Vice President of Youth Programs, MLB. "The young men and women of the Phillies RBI program will now have an opportunity to work on their baseball and softball skills throughout the year, which is usually something only available in warm-weather cities. We are thrilled that this space will also focus on the education and vocational programs that our Academies uniquely offer to its participants around the country. We are thrilled to officially complete the construction of our first multi-site Youth Academy and are looking forward to seeing the thousands of Philadelphia kids grow within our game."

About the Phillies MLB Youth Academy

The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Youth Academy is managed in collaboration by Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Former Major League and professional players, scouts, college and high school coaches, along with others from the baseball and softball communities, will provide instruction and program oversight. The Academy's facility and program resources will be available to the young people of the Philadelphia area year-round through a membership program.

The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Youth Academy is a strategic relationship that will enhance the quality of baseball and softball throughout Philadelphia while directly addressing other Philadelphia Parks and Recreation youth development objectives. It will create a dynamic youth program that utilizes baseball and softball to develop the athletic and social potential of participants. There will be programs offered for skill development, physical fitness, coach training and academic support.

The overall project is supported by MLB, The Phillies, Phillies Charities, Inc., the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, the City of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and his wife, Krystle Howard, through The Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation.

Collectively, MLB Youth Academies have served more than 20,000 young men and women. More than 500 Academy student-athletes have gone on to participate in collegiate baseball and softball programs, and nearly 160 Academy alumni have been selected in the First-Year Player Draft, including 50 in the last five drafts.