Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig today announced that Major League Baseball is committing $1.5 million to the development of the Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy, a future state-of-the-art facility that will provide free, year-round baseball and softball instruction and educational programs to Greater Cincinnati youth from ages six to 18. The Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy, which will be located at Roselawn Park in Cincinnati, is also supported by Procter & Gamble, the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, and Reds owners and players.
"Major League Baseball is proud to join the Reds and their local partners in making this significant investment and commitment to the young people of Greater Cincinnati," Commissioner Selig said. "The Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy will be a wonderful addition to the organization's rich history, and we are very pleased that our latest project will be the first in the Midwest. Our Academy will instill life values in the children of Cincinnati and provide a valuable perspective on opportunities in baseball and beyond."
"We thank Commissioner Selig, Major League Baseball and Procter & Gamble for supporting the Reds Community Fund's grassroots efforts to provide our youth with state-of-the-art, safe baseball facilities," said Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini. "Their generous financial support ensures that any youngster who falls in love with the game, as we all have, has a place to play."
"It's personally special to be a part of bringing this Academy to Cincinnati to make a difference in the lives of the youth of this region," said MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development Frank Robinson. "It will be a great resource for improving baseball and softball skills and also making sure education remains a top priority. Cincinnati has had a lot of great baseball moments over the years, but with this Academy, the most important play on the field is yet to come."
The Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy is the seventh announced Academy, and the first in the Midwest, joining operational facilities in Compton (California), Gurabo (Puerto Rico), Houston (Texas) and New Orleans (Louisiana). Additional sites have been announced for Hialeah (Florida) and Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). The Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy will be modeled after the facilities in Compton, Houston and New Orleans. The complex will include four renovated fields and a 33,000 square foot building featuring batting cages, pitching tunnels and a full indoor field. Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in August of 2013 with project completion expected in the spring of 2015. Additionally, the Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy will offer educational and baseball vocation programming including tutoring, clinics and free seminars on umpiring, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports and broadcast journalism, public relations and statistics, and athletic sports training. The Academy's goal will be to graduate 100 percent of the youth it serves. "Community Days," scouting events and other free programs are additional activities that will take place annually at the Academy.
The Reds Community Fund currently operates the Reds Urban Youth Academy at the temporary home of Cincinnati Public School's Gamble Montessori High School in Winton Terrace. The fall/winter session started in October and offers free baseball and softball instruction six days a week to boys and girls from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky public schools.
Having opened its first facility in Compton in 2006, the network of MLB Urban Youth Academies has reached more than 10,000 young people. Nearly 350 Academy student-athletes have gone on to participate in collegiate baseball and softball programs and almost 200 Academy student-athletes have been selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Two Academy graduates have been selected in the first round (Carlos Correa, the top overall selection in MLB's 2012 Draft by the Houston Astros and the first Puerto Rico native ever chosen first overall, attended the Gurabo Academy; Aaron Hicks, the 14th overall pick in the first round of 2008 by the Minnesota Twins, attended the Compton Academy). Three Academy graduates, all from the Compton Academy, appeared on Major League rosters over the past two seasons (Trayvon Robinson, currently of the Baltimore Orioles; Anthony Gose, Toronto Blue Jays; and Efren Navarro, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
As part of the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Initiative, all MLB Urban Youth Academies provide free, year-round baseball and softball instruction, as well as education programs. For more information, go to MLB.com/urbanyouthacademy.