Pirates Charities strengthens our communities through the power of Pirates baseball. Our passion and energy is focused on youth baseball and softball, military appreciation, mental health awareness and cancer support.
PIRATES CHARITIES AND OTHER COMMUNITY NEWS
On August 27, the Pirates hosted Cancer Support Game to acknowledge cancer organizations in our community and honor the patients and survivors whose lives have been touched by this disease. To support the continued fight against cancer in our region, Pirates Charities was proud to highlight our season-long cancer support partners: Glimmer of Hope, Susan G. Komen, Pancreatic Cancer Network, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, and Lending Hearts. To kick off our game, the Pirates invited our friend, Aiden Bartley with Lending Hearts to throw out the first pitch and Owen Kruszewski with Lending Hearts to yell “Play Ball!”. Additionally, Pirates Charities hosted 18 pediatric cancer patients to join us for a special meet and greet with Pirates Pitcher David Bednar where they each received a personalized jersey autographed by Bednar in addition to having the chance to ask him questions about his favorite food, color, superhero, and more.
To kick-off the Pirates annual Negro League Legacy game, the Pirates and Players Alliance teamed up to host Equip the Future, a mentorship event to help grow the game of baseball and provide invaluable advice to young black athletes. Pirates players and coaches Andrew McCutchen, Joshua Palacios, and Tarrik Brock joined several current and retired baseball players to share experiences, offer advice, and provide encouragement to 50 Pirates RBI athletes. Athletes in attendance were invited to the Reds vs. Pirates game later that evening and recognized on field for their participation at Equip the Future.
This past weekend, Pirates Charities was proud to help host Miracle League All Star Weekend for hundreds of Miracle League athletes and their families from across the region. As a part of this special celebration commemorating 15 years of Miracle League having a presence here in Western, PA, the Pirates and Pirates Charities hosted a Miracle League Fantasy Camp at the Miracle League of Southwestern PA where more than 40 athletes from all eight local Miracle Leagues and the Miracle League located near the Pirates Spring Training home in Florida were joined by Pirates players, coaches, significant others and mascots for a unique clinic-style event. Pirates players including David Bednar, Colin Holderman, Nick Gonzales, Jared Triolo, Liover Peguero, Rich Hill and coaching staff including Derek Shelton, Donnie Kelly, Justin Meccage, Andy Haines, Oscar Marin, Mike Rabelo, Stephen Morales, Timothy McKeithan and Jeremy Bleich gave them pointers, encouragement and a unique Pirates experience they and their families will never forget. After the Fantasy Camp, 125 Miracle League athletes participated other events throughout the day such as a Home Run Derby, exhibition games and an All-Star game. To cap off this exciting weekend, Pirates Charities hosted over 2,100 Miracle League athletes and their families at PNC Park for Miracle League Day on Sunday where athletes and families were honored on-field pregame.
The Pirates and Pirates Charities were proud to host the Pirates Nike RBI Championships in partnership with CitiSports, a division of the mayor’s office, at PNC Park this week. Sixteen teams from eight divisions competed for titles at the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. These games capped off another competitive season of Pirates Nike RBI baseball and softball that more than 1,600 athletes and coaches were part of. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is an MLB program aimed at increasing participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth.
The Pirates and Pirates Charities surprised their Nike RBI Regional baseball and softball teams with replica Pirates City Connect jerseys ahead of their trip to compete in the Nike RBI Regional Tournament this weekend in Philadelphia. Roughly fifty players and coaches from the Pirates Nike RBI league were presented with their very own City Connect jersey to wear as they represent the Pirates in regional competition for the Jr. Baseball, Sr. Baseball and Softball divisions. Pirates players Oneil Cruz, Ji Hwan Bae, and JT Brubaker were on-hand as part of the surprise moment, helping to make this an unforgettable experience for these youth athletes.
The Pirates and Pirates Charities were honored to host Lending Hearts and the patients they serve for a baseball clinic on the field on July 14 at PNC Park. Patients and their siblings had the opportunity to hone in on their baseball skills and make lifetime memories while rotating through stations on the field and receiving instruction from Pirates players and coaching staff including pitchers David Bednar and Vince Velasquez. From learning how to swing and catch to making friends and building connections with others who have also been touched by cancer, this time spent at the ballpark truly showed the power baseball has in bringing people together.
For the second time this year, the Pirates and Pirates Charities came together with volunteers from 84 Lumber to support the veterans served by Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard. JT Brubaker, Nick Gonzales, and Josh Palacios joined volunteers to plant flowers, herbs, and vegetables in the many garden spaces maintained by residents before joining veterans for a cookout to kickoff Independence Day weekend, catered by Giant Eagle. We are proud to support Veterans Place in their mission to provide transitional housing, workforce development, and employment services to veterans and their families.
Pirates Charities, in partnership with Highmark, hosted a Fields for Kids celebration at Deer Lakes Youth Baseball Association to recognize the completion of their large-scale fencing and batting cage project and the successful expansion of the League, including the addition of an all-abilities division. As a part of the event, 30 athletes from the Deer Lakes program participated in a clinic led by the Pirates pitchers Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker and Vince Velasquez alongside the Pirate Parrot and Pierogies. In total, 40 individual grants have been distributed through the Pirates Charities Fields for Kids program to organizations that operate youth baseball and softball programs in three states – Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia – over the last year. The grants help support these organizations’ programming and ensure they continue to thrive for their communities.
The Pirates were proud to celebrate PLAY BALL Weekend, presented by Nike, with a series of activations and events around the region to engage the next generation of youth in the games of baseball and softball. The Pirates kicked off the weekend by announcing a key partnership with EL1 Sports, a leading national youth sports training company and the official youth baseball and softball training partner of Major League Baseball. The Pirates and EL1 will work together to facilitate the growth of the sports of baseball and softball locally by offering access to high-quality training and resources. As part of the announcement, the Pirates and EL1 opened their first official Training Center, the Bianco School of Baseball, powered by the Pirates, and held an open house for the community on Friday, June 9 where hundreds of kids and families were introduced to the Training Center's offerings. Additionally, the Pirates hosted a free clinic for 200 athletes ages 5-14 on the field at PNC Park on Saturday, June 10. The clinic consisted of five station, including the chance for participants to use Diamond Kinetics Swing Match technology to find out which Pirates player their swing is most like. Following the clinic, the Pirates engaged with hundreds of local youth at the Pittsburgh Juneteenth Youth Sportsfest in Mellon Park where participants had the opportunity to hit baseballs in a unique Pirates-branded experience, as well as through an activation set-up at No Offseason, a local training and tournament center northeast of the city.
On Thursday, June 8 the Pirates officially announced a partnership with EL1 Sports, a leading national youth sports training company, to support access to high-quality development tools and resources for youth athletes in the Pittsburgh region with the goal of increasing local participation in baseball and softball and developing local talent. To help further the efforts of this new partnership, EL1 and the Pirates will be opening the first-ever "Pirates Training Center" located in Canonsburg, Pa., operating as Bianco School of Baseball, powered by the Pirates. From team exercises and seasonal camps to high-level tournaments and one-on-one lessons, athletes from all backgrounds and corners of the community will build on their experience, level-up their skills and develop their character, while reaping the benefits and joys of our National Pastime.
In partnership with A Glimmer of Hope, the Pirates and Pirates Charities hosted the annual Pitch for Hope Women's Baseball Clinic on June 3 at PNC Park. Clinic participants rotated through stations on the field and received instruction from Pirates players and coaching staff including Rob Zastryzny, JT Brubaker, Derek Shelton, Mike Rabelo, Oscar Marin, and their significant others. Participants then were treated to a brunch at the ballpark where they enjoyed specialty products from Aveda and Kendra Scott, participated in a special raffle featuring autographed items, and spent quality time bonding and supporting one another in their journeys that have all been impacted by breast cancer. All proceeds from the event benefit A Glimmer of Hope and the great work that they do in our community to fight against breast cancer.