The sound of the crack of a bat… the smell of fresh cut grass... the taste of dirt after a head-first slide. These are some of the best memories we have of youth baseball and softball. The Orioles are committed to creating positive, lasting memories for the youth of today and the big leaguers of tomorrow.
Play Ball Weekend
The Orioles joined all 29 other clubs in celebrating Major League Baseball's Play Ball Weekend - a league-wide campaign to encourage youth participation in all forms of baseball and softball activities. In 2019, the Orioles held the following events during Play Ball Weekend.
The Orioles partnered with USA Baseball to provide Fun At Bat, an introductory level bat-and-ball gym curriculum, to Baltimore City Public Schools. In its second year, the program has already impacted over 120 elementary schools in Baltimore City. As part of the partnership, the Orioles hosted a Fun At Bat event at Cherry Hill Elementary School with Orioles infielder RIO RUIZ and the Oriole Bird on May 3 during Play Ball Weekend.
On Saturday, May 4, to celebrate Play Ball Weekend, the Orioles held a Major League Baseball "Play Ball Activation" clinic for over 100 Fort Meade youth baseball and softball players at the Fort Meade Military Base. Orioles infielder STEVIE WILKERSON, as well as Orioles alumni, helped teach baseball fundamentals through hitting and fielding drills, agility workouts, and baserunning.
Additionally on Saturday, the Orioles conducted a clinic for over 300 inner city youth baseball and softball players, mainly from the Baltimore Orioles Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, at Roosevelt Park with the help of Baltimore City Recreation & Parks. Orioles players MYCHAL GIVENS and RICHIE MARTIN, along with former Orioles AL BUMBRY and RICK KRIVDA, helped teach baseball fundamentals to the participants, including pitching, baserunning, fielding, and hitting. In addition to that, Bowie State University softball coaches and players assisted with conducting the softball portion of the clinic.
The Orioles wrapped up Play Ball Weekend on Sunday with the annual Youth Baseball and Softball Day presented by Nike. More than 10,000 pre-registered youth baseball and softball players participated in a pregame parade around the warning track and were greeted by Orioles players as they walk by the dugout. Due to the postponement of that afternoon's game, the Orioles invite the youth baseball and softball players back for a second parade that will take place prior to the 1:05 p.m. makeup game on July 13. All youth baseball and softball players in the parade will get a free kids hot dog and drink.
Baltimore Orioles RBI Program
The Baltimore Orioles Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is a Baltimore City youth baseball and softball league, presented locally by T. Rowe Price. RBI is designed to promote interest in baseball and softball, increase the self-esteem of children, and encourage kids to stay in school and stay off the streets. The program is a national Major League Baseball initiative administered and financially supported by the Orioles at a local level. The Orioles have been a proud sponsor of RBI since 1989. In 2018, over 600 Baltimore City youth participated in the Orioles RBI program.
'Have A Catch'
Expanding upon Major League Baseball's successful Play Ball campaign, the Orioles launched the 'Have A Catch' campaign, to encourage children, and fans of all ages, to go outside and enjoy a game of catch.
The Orioles are committed to helping children with mental and/or physical challenges enjoy the game of baseball. Through partnerships with organizations like the Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball program and League of Dreams, the Orioles have impacted the lives of many children through adaptive forms of baseball that allow each child to excel at the game.
Each season, the Orioles Advocates Challenger Baseball program hosts its Fantasy Camp Clinic for local Challenger Athletes in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Approximately 60 Challenger Athletes are selected to participate and have the opportunity to learn baseball skills from current and former Orioles.
The Orioles recognized 34 players from the Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball (OACB) program as part of an on-field, pregame ceremony. Each player wore their authentic Orioles jersey and waved to the crowd as their name was announced by the public address announcer. Orioles pitcher PAUL FRY congratulated each player by presenting them with Orioles caps during the ceremony.
The Orioles partnered with local nonprofit League of Dreams to assist with beep baseball activities during The Maryland School for the Blind's Camp Abilities in July. Beep baseball is a form of baseball that is modified to allow those who are visually impaired to play by using a ball that beeps and bases that buzz. Camp Abilities is part of The Maryland School for the Blind Outreach's summer program and serves proximity 35 athletes each year.