Community service takes stage at Series

Community service takes stage at Series

Community service will be front and center just about everywhere you look this week, and Major League Baseball will be right at the forefront with the World Series on FOX.

Major television networks will incorporate the campaign into its regular prime-time programming this week, putting the theme of personal involvement into the center of conversation in an unprecedented way. MLB will be part of that and will celebrate the World Series by raising awareness for the causes of veterans, volunteerism, cancer research and youth development as a continuation of its Go Beyond initiative.

It will be an extension of baseball's season-long theme that was so visible during All-Star Week festivities last July in St. Louis, where 30 role models representing People magazine's "All-Stars Among Us" were honored by baseball and all five living U.S. presidents.

The first four games of the World Series will celebrate Welcome Back Veterans, community service, Stand Up To Cancer and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) presented by KPMG and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America -- in respective order.

The charitable and community-service initiatives will be among the most extensive in World Series history.

"Major League Baseball is honored to use the grand stage of the World Series as a platform to raise awareness for these important causes," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "With millions of fans watching the World Series, we have the unique opportunity to help support initiatives that make a difference in the lives of others."

Game 1: Welcome Back Veterans
Game 1 will be dedicated to, an MLB Charities initiative designed to support returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families with mental health treatment and job opportunities. MLB has already donated $10 million to this effort. Recognition for at the World Series will feature special pregame ceremonies, a first pitch by a military veteran, broadcasting of the public service announcement featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and a visit to a local VA hospital by players, coaches and MLB executives.

Game 2: Roberto Clemente Legacy, Volunteerism & Community Service
The winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy will be announced prior to this game. Bestowed annually, the award honors the player who combines giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field. In 1973, the award was named in honor of Clemente, who died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, during a humanitarian mission. Game 2 of the World Series will honor Clemente's generous spirit. Prior to the game, MLB and the Yankees will collect donations at all Yankee Stadium gates to raise funds for UNICEF, which is aiding typhoon, tsunami and earthquake victims in the Asia Pacific region.

Game 3: Stand Up To Cancer
Game 3 will raise awareness and money for Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), as MLB will promote the importance of supporting the fight against cancer through a number of special activities. MLB sponsor MasterCard will donate $1 million to Stand Up To Cancer if a "Hit It Here" sign in the outfield is struck by a home run during Game 3. In addition, MasterCard pledged $1,000 to SU2C for every homer hit throughout the postseason. MLB will broadcast an SU2C PSA in the ballpark, on TV, on and on MLB Network. Also, current players, along with MLB executives and SU2C dignitaries, will visit patients in cancer care at a local hospital.

Selig made a commitment in 2008 on behalf of MLB to Stand Up To Cancer, an initiative created to raise money to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research. Selig announced an initial contribution of $10 million, becoming the founding, lead partner for the campaign. There have been many examples of this relationship since then, such as the Sheryl Crow All-Star Concert under the Arch in St. Louis, raising money and awareness for SU2C.

Game 4: RBI Presented by KPMG/Boys & Girls Clubs of America
This game will be dedicated to youth as MLB celebrates the importance of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. Local young people from both programs will attend a Wanna Play? event and clinic outside the ballpark on the day of Game 4. Wanna Play? is a new, experiential initiative intended to promote baseball and softball participation among young people in under-served communities. Activities available during these events include batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests and demonstrations with current and former players.

During an on-field pregame presentation, KPMG, the presenting sponsor of the RBI program, will be joined by representatives of the championship teams from the 2009 RBI World Series, presented by KPMG, as they present a $1 million check to the youth outreach program designed to increase baseball and softball participation, encourage academic achievement and teach the value of teamwork. KPMG, which became the first presenting sponsor of the RBI program in June 2007, also supports RBI with thousands of volunteers across the country assisting kids both on the field and in the classroom.

During the World Series, a youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will deliver the game ball to the mound before each ceremonial first pitch. For more than 13 years as the official charity of Major League Baseball, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.8 million young people through club membership and community outreach. MLB and Boys & Girls Clubs have worked to improve the lives of children throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide through programs such as RBI and Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream scholarships.

The MLB "Going Beyond" charitable initiatives during the 2009 All-Star Game raised more than $7 million for local and national charitable organizations.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.