Additional Pirates community relations news & notes
SPRING TRAINING GOLF CLASSIC
The 11th annual Pirates Charities Spring Training Golf Classic, presented by TLI Sports, took place on February 22 at the River Wilderness Golf and Country Club in Parrish, FL. Participants had the opportunity to enjoy a round of golf with a Pirates celebrity while supporting the efforts of Pirates Charities in Manatee County.
Among the Pirates celebrities who participated were current players such as Jordy Mercer, Jameson Taillon, George Kontos and Adam Frazier as well as Manager Clint Hurdle, coaches Tom Prince, Ray Searage and Jeff Branson, former Pirate Rennie Stennett, and many others.
The tournament raised more than $45,000 and proceeds will benefit important programs such as: Pirates Charities Fields for Kids in Bradenton, which provides matching grants to youth sports organizations and recreation centers for the improvement of their facilities; Adopt-a-School program in Bradenton and Manatee County, where Pirates Charities works with the Manatee Education Foundation and The Mosaic Company to distribute books and supplies and to support educational programs at elementary schools; and Bradenton RBI program, which the Pirates donate uniforms and equipment to and provide transportation to and from tournaments.
BREAKING BARRIERS: IN SPORTS, IN LIFE
In support of Major League Baseball and Scholastic's 22nd year of Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life -- an educational program designed to teach young students about obstacles faced by Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson as he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 -- the Pirates encouraged local schools and youth groups to participate in this national essay contest.
By writing about obstacles they've faced or are currently facing in their own lives and how it relates to Jackie Robinson, kids in grades four through nine earned a chance to win tickets to a Pirates home game, a trip to the World Series or the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and other great prizes.
In conjunction with Sharon Robinson and Scholastic, the program has reached more than 34 million youths and 4.6 million educators in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico in its history. Sharon Robinson is an educational consultant for Major League Baseball who has written five books about her father, Jackie Robinson.
This year, approximately 40 Pittsburgh-area schools and 1,000 students participated in the Breaking Barriers essay contest.
WINTER COACHES CLINICS
The Pirates and Pirates Charities hosted three Winter Coaches Clinics in February for area youth baseball and softball coaches. The clinics, which were run by the Baseball Factory, were designed to give youth coaches -- regardless of their previous coaching experience -- with tools to succeed as they prepared for the 2018 season.
Each of the three clinics covered topics ranging from offense and baserunning to defense and pitching to practice planning and creativity. More than 100 area coaches attended the clinics and each attendee received tickets to a Pirates game. Some also walked away with raffle prizes.
The first clinic was held at PNC Park, utilizing the Pirates' batting cages as well as event spaces on the Club Level. The final two clinics were held in New Castle and the South Hills.
"I'm a relatively new coach and I needed some reassurance that we were moving in the right direction," said Shaun Burke of the Venango Vipers in Oil City, PA. "The clinic showed us that we were on the right track with our teams. It also gave us ideas for other drills and things that we should be doing to improve the skill level of our kids. For instance, catching drills was one area where I felt we hadn't been doing a good job. So, the catching drills we picked up at the clinic were particularly helpful."
The Venango Vipers program, in only its second full year, features two baseball teams (11U and 14U) and four softball teams (10U, 12U, 14U and 16U).