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Teams from U.S., Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic to compete in RBI World Series

Twenty-four teams to compete in 25th tournament, held in Cincinnati

Twenty-four baseball and softball Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) teams from throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have advanced to the 25th annual RBI World Series, the international championship tournament of the RBI program. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities is the MLB youth initiative designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball. The Cincinnati Reds are hosting the RBI World Series for the second consecutive year.

In order to earn a spot to this year's RBI World Series, teams from 45 cities throughout the United States as well as from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic competed in their respective divisions in RBI Regional Tournaments. The RBI Regionals were held in several select U.S. locations (Caribbean - Miami, Fla.; Central - Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minn.; East - Detroit, Mich.; Mid-Atlantic - Philadelphia, Pa.; Northeast - Pawtucket, R.I.; Southeast - Atlanta, Ga.; Southwest - New Orleans, La.; West - Santa Ana, Calif.).  

Twenty-four baseball and softball Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) teams from throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have advanced to the 25th annual RBI World Series, the international championship tournament of the RBI program. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities is the MLB youth initiative designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball. The Cincinnati Reds are hosting the RBI World Series for the second consecutive year.

In order to earn a spot to this year's RBI World Series, teams from 45 cities throughout the United States as well as from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic competed in their respective divisions in RBI Regional Tournaments. The RBI Regionals were held in several select U.S. locations (Caribbean - Miami, Fla.; Central - Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minn.; East - Detroit, Mich.; Mid-Atlantic - Philadelphia, Pa.; Northeast - Pawtucket, R.I.; Southeast - Atlanta, Ga.; Southwest - New Orleans, La.; West - Santa Ana, Calif.).  

The following is a complete list of cities (and leagues) represented in this year's RBI World Series:

Junior Baseball Teams (Ages 13-15)

Bradenton, Fla. (Bradenton RBI)

Chicago, Ill. (Chicago White Sox RBI)

Detroit, Mich. (Detroit PAL RBI)

Houston, Texas (Houston Astros RBI)

Pawtucket, R.I. (Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket RBI) 

Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Phillies RBI)

Phoenix, Ariz. (Arizona RBI)

Santo Domingo, DR (Dominican Republic RBI)

Senior Baseball Teams (Ages 16-18)

Aguadilla, PR (Puerto Rico RBI Aguadilla)

Atlanta, Ga. (Atlanta Metro RBI)

Baltimore, Md. (Baltimore Orioles RBI)

Chicago, Ill. (Chicago White Sox RBI)

Cincinnati, Ohio (Cincinnati Reds RBI)

Hilo, Hawaii (Nobu Yamauchi RBI)

Houston, Texas (Houston Astros RBI)

Paterson, N.J. (Paterson Baseball Association RBI)

Softball Teams (Ages 19 and under)

Aguadilla, PR (Puerto Rico RBI Aguadilla)

Atlanta, Ga. (Browns Mill RBI)

Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Phillies RBI)

Cleveland, Ohio (Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI)

Hilo, Hawaii (Nobu Yamauchi RBI)

Hoboken, N.J. (Hoboken RBI)

Houston, Texas (Houston Astros RBI)

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

The Senior Baseball team from Hilo, Hawaii (Nobu Yamauchi RBI) has qualified for the first time in RBI World Series history, with all other teams having made at least one appearance. Nine teams in the championship tournament represent RBI programs run by MLB clubs, including those from the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies. Historically, ten countries and U.S. territories around the world have competed in the RBI World Series, including the United States, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, United Kingdom and Venezuela. Additional notes include:

  • The senior baseball division and softball teams from Atlanta that have clinched a berth to the RBI World Series represent the city's 35th and 36th overall appearances. In particular, the softball team is making its 15th overall RBI World Series appearance, the most of any city's softball program.
  • Baltimore is making its second consecutive baseball appearance, which comes on the heels of their RBI World Series debut in 2016.
  • Bradenton is making its third overall appearance and the second in the junior baseball division in three years. 
  • Chicago, the defending junior baseball division champions, is making the city's 31st and 32nd appearances in the RBI World Series with the two teams from Chicago White Sox RBI. A team from Chicago has represented both the junior and senior baseball divisions in 13 of the last 16 years.
  • Cincinnati is making its third consecutive appearance in the Senior Division and sixth overall.
  • Cleveland is making its ninth consecutive softball appearance and its 23rd overall (baseball and softball).
  • Detroit has had at least one team in the RBI World Series every year since 2003. This year marks the city's 27th overall appearance. It is making its seventh consecutive appearance in the Junior Division and 13th in the last 14 years.
  • The Dominican Republic is making its 32nd overall appearance and its 13th consecutive appearance in the junior division. The junior baseball division team from the Dominican Republic has won three of the country's four RBI World Series championships.
  • Hoboken's softball team is making its eighth consecutive appearance.
  • The softball team from Hilo, 2009 RBI World Series Softball Champions, is making its eighth overall appearance. The senior division team is representing Hilo in baseball for just the third time and the first time in the senior division in RBI World Series history.
  • Houston has a team in each division in the RBI World Series for the third consecutive year, which is the ninth time for the city and the second most-ever for any city in RBI World Series history (Los Angeles - 11 times). Houston has now had 44 teams in the RBI World Series, which is second-most.
  • Paterson is making its second overall appearance, with both of those appearances coming from the senior baseball division.
  • Pawtucket is making its 14th overall appearance and the fourth in the junior baseball division in the last five years.
  • The junior baseball division and softball teams from Philadelphia are representing the city's 31st and 32nd overall appearance. The city is making its first softball appearance since 2010 and first junior baseball division appearance since 2011.
  • Puerto Rico has won 10 RBI World Series Championships, the third most after Los Angeles and Atlanta. The teams from Puerto Rico are marking the country's 36th and 37th appearances in the RBI World Series.
  • The junior baseball division team from Phoenix is making its second appearance in three years and is representing the city's fifth overall RBI World Series appearance. Its senior baseball division team won the 2016 RBI World Series championship.
  • St. Louis, host of the first RBI World Series in 1993, is making its 16th overall appearance and has been represented in the softball division in six of the last seven years.

The 2017 RBI World Series will feature young men and women competing in softball, junior baseball and senior baseball divisions. The special event, beginning on Monday, July 31st and continuing through Friday, August 11th, will include tournament games (seeding, playoff and championship), workout days, picnics, community service events, and other outings for the participants.

The baseball portion of the RBI World Series begins Monday, July 31st with an Opening Picnic at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy featuring Reds Legend and Seven-Time MLB All-Star Dave Parker. Nathan's Famous, the official hot dog of Major League Baseball, will present a special donation to the RBI program during Opening Ceremonies. Nathan's Famous is a generous supporter of MLB's various youth initiatives including PLAY BALL and the RBI program.

Baseball tournament games begin the following day (Tuesday, August 1st). On Thursday, August 3rd the young men and women will participate in the annual MLB Scouting Bureau "Workout Day" where they will showcase their skills in front of professional scouts and collegiate recruiters. For the softball portion, Workout Day and opening games will both take place on Monday, August 7th. Participants in both the baseball and softball portions will participate in a community service event with Feed the Children on August 3rd and August 8th, respectively. Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. will once again visit Cincinnati for the RBI World Series, this time to meet the softball participants of this year's tournament. Additional experiences for the hundreds of RBI players will include attending a Reds game at Great American Ball Park, sitting in on roundtable sessions with MLB/Reds executives as well as Reds Legends, and participating in a "Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life" essay contest administered and judged by Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. 

Continuing a generous offer by the team, the Cincinnati Reds will once again allow for all 16 baseball teams in the RBI World Series to play one game at their Great American Ball Park (GABP). Additional baseball tournament seeding and playoff games will be played at several locations throughout Cincinnati, including Xavier University, Withrow High School Field and the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy, where all championship games will be played. Softball games will be played exclusively at Withrow High School and the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy. As a fully compliant program within Pitch Smart guidelines, all RBI World Series pitchers will operate under Pitch Smart pitch count limits.

The Senior Division Baseball Championship and Softball Championship games will stream LIVE on MLB.com. MLB.com analyst Daron Sutton will call play-by-play for the baseball championship with former Reds All-Star first baseman Dmitri Young providing analysis for the baseball championship. MLB.com play-by-play announcer Steve Lenox, Akron Racers outfielder A.J Andrews and former NCAA women's softball champion Destinee Martinez will provide coverage for the softball championship. MLB.com reporter Shannon Ford will provide in-game reporting for both games.

As part of the festivities surrounding the 25th RBI World Series, Major League Baseball will host a youth baseball team from Uganda, Africa. The team, comprised of many now 15- and 16-year-old student-athletes who played on the team that competed in the 2012 & 2015 Little League World Series, will compete in exhibition games against local Cincinnati teams. Following their visit to the RBI World Series, MLB will provide transportation to Toms River, N.J. where the Ugandan team will participate in a full week of activities. Following that stop, they will head to Philadelphia to play games at the Philadelphia Phillies MLB Youth Academy against Philadelphia Phillies RBI teams.

Back in New York, MLB employees will participate in a Pitch In For Baseball equipment packaging event during the RBI World Series to benefit RBI leagues in Far Rockaway, N.Y. and Newark, N.J. Pitch In For Baseball is a nonprofit organization that provides new and gently-used baseball and softball equipment to boys and girls in the United States and around the world.  

The RBI program has provided a path for many players to enter the college and professional game. MLB Clubs have drafted over 200 RBI participants throughout the program's 29-year history, and many others have been given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. There have been more than 75 RBI players selected in the 2013-2017 MLB Drafts. In this year's draft, the Cincinnati Reds drafted both second overall pick Hunter Greene (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI) and 34-round pick RJ Barnes (Cincinnati Reds RBI). Greene is the second highest selected alumnus of the RBI program (Justin Upton, Norfolk RBI, was selected #1 overall in the 2005 Draft). Barnes is the first player drafted out of both Cincinnati Reds RBI and the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy.

Current Major Leaguers who are alumni of the RBI program include Yovani Gallardo (Seattle Mariners), Chris Iannetta (Arizona Diamondbacks), Nomar Mazara (Texas Rangers), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Hector Santiago (Minnesota Twins), Steven Souza, Jr. (Tampa Bay Rays), Justin Upton (Detroit Tigers) and Chris Young (Boston Red Sox). Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI - '03) and Mazara (Dominican Republic RBI - '11) have each played in the RBI World Series. NBC News senior food analyst and former White House chef Sam Cass is also an RBI World Series alumnus.

The RBI program, which has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception, is administered by Major League Baseball and is designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, while also encouraging academic achievement and success and teaching the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves young men and women in over 300 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues. For more information about the RBI World Series, please visit MLB.com/rbiworldseries.