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Major League Baseball announces league-wide effort during Autism Awareness Month

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Major League Baseball is teaming up with Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, in a league-wide effort to recognize Autism Awareness Month in April. All 30 MLB Clubs will raise awareness for the disorder during one home game in April, or on another date during the regular season. Many of the MLB Autism Awareness games throughout the league will provide special opportunities and a safe, friendly environment for families and individuals affected by autism.

     Working with Autism Speaks or other autism awareness organizations, many Clubs will recognize local families during pre-game ceremonies, and members of the autism community will participate in various traditional baseball activities, including throwing out the first pitch, singing the National Anthem, announcing "Play Ball!," singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," or performing "God Bless America."

     "Autism affects many of our fans and members of the baseball family," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Many Clubs are longstanding supporters of the autism community. As an extension of those efforts, Major League Baseball is very proud to educate our fans through the MLB Autism Awareness initiative."

     "For many families in the autism community, the joy of a baseball game has never been possible. With Major League Baseball's support, a time-honored tradition will now be a reality for thousands of families across the country," said Liz Feld, President, Autism Speaks.

     Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders - autism spectrum disorders - caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated one in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum - a 78 percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

     For more information about MLB Autism Awareness and to check on respective Club dates commemorating the initiative, please visit MLBCommunity.org.

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