MLB to celebrate 20th RBI World Series with Commissioner Selig at Target Field

Major League Baseball is celebrating the 20th annual Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series with a keynote speech by Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, appearances by Hall of Famers, and providing young baseball players in the tournament with a chance to play at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. The championship round of the RBI program, which will be held again in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., features young men and women on twenty-four youth baseball and softball RBI teams from around the United States, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Commissioner Selig will be joined at the “Baseball Welcome Luncheon” (on Tuesday, July 31st at Target Field) by Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew and Paul Molitor, and also Twins Legend Tony Oliva. The 2012 RBI World Series is hosted by Major League Baseball and the Minnesota Twins, and will be played on fields throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

“Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities is one of Major League Baseball’s most important initiatives, and the program’s remarkable growth demonstrates the passion for baseball and softball that resonates among our next generation,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “Major League Baseball congratulates all of the teams that have advanced to the 2012 RBI World Series, and we wish all of the players and coaches the best of luck in this 20th annual championship tournament.”

Teams from 39 states, two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and three countries (Curacao, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela) competed in RBI Regional Tournaments for a spot at this year’s RBI World Series. The baseball portion of the championship tournament will be played August 2nd-5th, while softball will take place August 7th-12th, both at various fields throughout the Twin Cities (Baseball: Parade Stadium and Leonard H. Neiman Sports Complex in Minneapolis, and Toni Stone Stadium in St. Paul; Softball: The Leonard H. Neiman Sports Complex and Dunning Softball Fields in St. Paul). The baseball championship games will be played at Target Field, and the softball championship game will be played at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

Teams are divided into three divisions for the Regional tournaments and RBI World Series: Junior Baseball (ages 13-15); Senior Baseball (ages 16-18) and Softball (ages 19 and under). The Senior Baseball Championship will be played on Sunday, August 5th and will be shown live on MLB.com. The game will air on MLB Network on Monday, August 6th at 11:30 a.m. EST. The Softball Championship will be played on Sunday, August 12th and taped to air on MLB Network and MLB.com on Friday, August 17th at 12:00 p.m. EST.

The following is a complete list of communities/leagues participating in this year’s RBI World Series:

Junior Baseball Teams (Ages 13-15)                      Senior Baseball Teams (Ages 16-18)

Atlanta, Ga. (RBI Atlanta)                                                             Bradenton, Fla. (Bradenton RBI)

Arlington, Texas (Arlington Boys & Girls Club RBI)                            Chicago, Ill. (Chicago White Sox RBI)

Chicago, Ill. (Chicago White Sox RBI)                                            Detroit, Mich. (Think Detroit PAL RBI)

Detroit, Mich. (Think Detroit PAL RBI)                                             Harrisburg, Pa. (Harrisburg RBI)

Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic RBI)                                Houston, Texas (Houston RBI)

Harrisburg, Pa. (Harrisburg RBI)                                                    Jersey City, N.J. (Jackie Robinson RBI)                  

Jersey City, N.J. (Jersey City RBI)                                                  Phoenix, Ariz. (Arizona RBI)

Venice, Calif. (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI)                                   Venezuela (Venezuela RBI)                                                                                             

 

Softball Teams (Ages 19 and under)

Atlanta, Ga. (RBI Atlanta)

Cleveland, Ohio (Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI)

Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic RBI)

Harrisburg, Pa. (Harrisburg RBI)

Hilo, Hawaii (Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island RBI)

Hoboken, N.J. (Hoboken RBI)

Houston, Texas (Houston RBI)

St. Louis, Mo. (Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club)

 

For the first time in RBI World Series history, Major League Baseball has dedicated one day per week of the event’s schedule for players and coaches to assist in community service projects, including local Minneapolis Boys & Girls Clubs, where teams will help landscape, clean and renovate ball fields, and “Kids Against Hunger,” where teams will pack food stuffs for distribution to children and families in the United States and abroad. The effort is designed to educate the young RBI participants about the importance of giving back to the local and global community.

In addition to RBI World Series tournament games, players and coaches will attend a game at Target Field, players will participate in the annual MLB Scouting Bureau “Workout Day” on Wednesday, August 1st, and all will have a chance to meet members of the Baseball Family including Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson and MLB Educational Programming Consultant; Tim Brosnan, MLB Executive Vice President of Business; Jacqueline Parkes, MLB Chief Marketing Officer; and Dave St. Peter, President, Minnesota Twins.

“The Twins are honored to once again host the RBI World Series here in the Twin Cities and at Target Field,” said Twins President Dave St. Peter. “Youth sports programs like RBI are incredibly important in helping to develop healthy children, families and communities.”

The RBI program has provided the opening for many players to enter the collegiate and professional levels of the game. More than 200 RBI participants have been drafted by MLB Clubs throughout the program’s 24-year history, and many others were given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. RBI alumni currently playing in the big leagues include: Carl Crawford (Boston Red Sox), Coco Crisp (Oakland Athletics), James Loney (Los Angeles Dodgers), James McDonald (Pittsburgh Pirates), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees) and Justin Upton (Arizona Diamondbacks).

Crawford (Houston RBI – ’97), Crisp (LA RBI – ’95), Loney (Houston RBI – ’99) and McDonald (LA RBI – ’02) each played in an RBI World Series. Fifteen current and former RBI participants were selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, including first round pick (#28, Milwaukee Brewers) draft selection Victor Roache from Think Detroit PAL RBI league and Lincoln High School (Ypsilanti, Mich.). Two participants in the 2011 RBI World Series were selected in this year’s draft.

“I’ll never forget the memories of playing in the RBI World Series, and it’s amazing to see the league I played with still representing my hometown,” said Loney. “The RBI program did a lot for me as a player and a person and taught me that with hard work, determination and a strong will, I could achieve my dreams. I wish everyone playing in this year’s tournament the best of luck.”

Twelve “RBI for RBI” scholarship recipients will be recognized at separate RBI World Series banquets on August 4th and August 6th. In 2008, Major League Baseball established the “RBI for RBI” Scholarship Fund, a program created to provide financial support in the form of scholarships ($5,000 annually for four years) to deserving high school seniors who participate in an RBI program league.

The RBI program and RBI World Series are also supported by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, which holds a variety of clinics for players throughout the year.

The RBI program, which is in its 24th year of operation, is an MLB youth initiative designed to give young people from underserved and urban communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic achievement and success, and teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. In 2012, the RBI program served more than 200,000 boys and girls in more than 300 programs established in over 200 cities worldwide. For more information, please visit MLB.com/RBI.