Dodgers host Chicago Little League World Series team

The Jackie Robinson West Little League baseball team from Chicago that won the U.S. Little League championship and finished runner-up to South Korea for the Little League World Series title will visit Dodger Stadium on Saturday as guests of the Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson West, the first all-black team to reach the Little League World Series since 1983, will take a Hollywood tour Saturday morning, have lunch at an iconic Hollywood restaurant, take batting practice from 1:45-2:15 p.m. on the field at Dodger Stadium with Carl Crawford, meet with Dodger alumni and legends, participate in the on-field pre-game ceremonies and attend the Dodgers-Colorado Rockies game that evening. Dodger outfielder Carl Crawford 'adopted' the Jackie Robinson West Little League team, helping them financially since 2013, after being inspired by their play in the Little League World Series last year. The success of the Chicago Little League team is one example of African American youth once again embracing America's pastime and presents a great opportunity to promote baseball to urban youth across the country. Major League Baseball is dedicating Game Four of the 2014 World Series to youth, especially those in underserved communities, and will honor Jackie Robinson West prior to the contest.     

Jackie Robinson West, from the Washington Heights neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, defeated Nevada, 7-5, to win the U.S. Championship before losing to South Korea, 8-4, in the Little League World Series championship game Aug. 24 at Williamsport, PA.

"We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the Jackie Robinson West team and the manner in which they are upholding Dodger great Jackie Robinson's namesake," said Dodgers' President and CEO Stan Kasten. "We wanted to take this opportunity to extend our hospitality to them as a reward for all their hard work and team spirit.   Organizations like Little League Baseball are at the core of our sport and it was a joy to follow the tremendous success they achieved this summer."

MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said: "One of Major League Baseball's greatest opportunities in the years ahead is to build upon the vitality of youth baseball at all levels, particularly through MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. Baseball is the children's game, a stature made vibrantly evident by the Jackie Robinson West team of Chicago and their peers in this year's remarkable Little League World Series. MLB will work to focus our efforts to have more kids play Baseball and build off of the success of this year."

The Dodgers are doing their part to support baseball participation and competition at all levels throughout greater Los Angeles. This year the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) launched RBI as part of an international Major League Baseball initiative, which today encompasses more than 200 cities and over 200,000 youth, helping them to grow on and off the field.

Dodgers RBI is a comprehensive urban youth baseball program for boys and girls ages 5-18. In partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Venice, City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, County of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation and MLB Compton Urban Youth Academy, LADF launched Dodgers RBI in March 2014. Working together with local organizations, parents and volunteers, Dodgers RBI was built on the joint pillars of LADF, offering youth the opportunity to learn and enjoy the games of baseball and softball, while also emphasizing education, recreation and healthy habits for young people. In its first year launch more than 2,700 kids participated in the program with a goal of reaching 10,000 youth in 3 years. The boys 13-15 Dodgers RBI Team won the MLB West Regional Tournament and earned a spot in the RBI World Series held in Houston, Texas this year. They made it to the semi-finals.

"Dodgers RBI is a big step in the Dodgers expanded commitment to youth baseball in underserved LA communities," said LADF Executive Director Nichol Whiteman. We felt it was incumbent to strategically rebuild and create a comprehensive program, increasing the number of youth in baseball early on and continue to provide them with engaging opportunities on and off the field."

In addition, the Dodgers' Dreamfields program is one of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's signature initiatives and its goal is to provide baseball fields where youngsters can learn the game of baseball in an organized program that is administered by the City or County in a safe environment while learning the importance of playing team sports and key characteristics like sportsmanship, ethics and fair play. The team dedicated its 34th Dreamfield at Ted Watkins Memorial Park in Los Angeles on July 12.