The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the elements of their newly revised Pirates Play Ball initiative, the overall program for the Club's youth baseball and softball efforts in the community. The initiative is focused on promoting youth participation, through fun baseball and softball activities, in an effort to foster a healthy
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the elements of their newly revised Pirates Play Ball initiative, the overall program for the Club's youth baseball and softball efforts in the community. The initiative is focused on promoting youth participation, through fun baseball and softball activities, in an effort to foster a healthy lifestyle for youth in and around the greater Pittsburgh region.
As part of the Pirates Play Ball program, the Club has launched an online educational resource for youth baseball and softball players, coaches and families. The site, Pirates.com/PLAYBALL, is comprised of resources provided by the Pirates and Major League Baseball such as online education centers, coaching clinic information, and instructional videos from current players such as Josh Bell, Jordy Mercer and Jameson Taillon.
"The goal of the Play Ball initiative is to engage youth and promote interaction, team-building and, most importantly, a healthy lifestyle through the game of baseball," said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. "Having fun playing baseball isn't always through an organized game on an official diamond with two full teams and umpires, but rather in backyards, side streets and parks throughout our community. Baseball is about bonding with your friends and family through a game that we all love."
As part of the revised initiative, Pirates Play Ball has unveiled several youth programs throughout the 2017 season to coincide with the Club's existing programs.
In April, the Pirates introduced the Play Ball "Team of the Game" program that takes place on every Tuesday home game during the 2017 season and recognizes players and coaches from the select youth baseball or softball teams throughout the region. Each Play Ball "Team of the Game" receives complimentary tickets, Aramark food vouchers and an opportunity to take part in an on-field pregame ceremony with a member of the Pirates management team and a Pirates player. On Tuesday, April 25, Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting and President Frank Coonelly were joined by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on the field with the Pirates first "Team of the Game," the high school baseball team of Pittsburgh's Holy Family Academy.
This season the Pirates have joined with broadcast partner 93.7 The FAN for the 2017 "Youth Baseball Showcase" program to create awareness of youth baseball programs in the city, suburbs, and rural areas and stress the importance of having fun while participating in local youth baseball. The Pirates and 93.7 The Fan visit area community games each week during the season to see kids and teams in action.
In 2017, Pirates Play Ball, in partnership with DICK'S Sporting Goods, launched the "Future Pirates" uniform program, with the program's very first recipients, the Brighton Heights Athletic Association. The "Future Pirates" uniform program works to outfit area youth baseball/softball players with Pirates-branded uniforms for their upcoming season. In 2017, Brighton Heights was the recipient of Pirates-branded uniforms for all of their 12U teams, serving approximately 120 youth, 12 teams in three divisions of play.
Other Pirates Play Ball programs include:
Play Ball Event at PNC Park
On Sunday, June 11, the Pirates and DICK'S Sporting Goods invite kids of all ages to come down to take part in the third annual Play Ball Day at PNC Park. The day will begin on the field at PNC Park for pre-registered youth ages 7 to 14, as Pirates coaches, players, alumni, mascots, front office staff, and more will provide instruction and entertainment.
Starting at 11:30 am, there will be baseball-themed activities open to the public on Federal Street and on the Riverwalk, with giveaways, including specially-designed Pirates Play Ball t-shirts, and the opportunity to interact with Pirates alumni, mascots, and Bucco Brigade. Additionally, all kids at the game on June 11 will be able to take part in hitting drills at Playground Park from the time the gates open through the 7th inning. All children 14 and under will also receive a Pirates Play Ball wiffle bat, sponsored by Chevy, and after the game will have the opportunity to take part in the Kids Run the Bases, presented by the Original Pizza Logs.
The purpose of the youth-driven initiative is to encourage participation in baseball, reminding everyone that there are many ways to enjoy the game of baseball.
Pittsburgh RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)
Pittsburgh RBI is part of the international MLB RBI program. Pittsburgh RBI became part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania in 2003. With support of the Pirates, the Boys & Girls Club provides Pittsburgh RBI with the infrastructure and administrative services that are necessary for its success.
In addition to the use of the Pirates Community Baseball Center (located at the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club), all Pittsburgh RBI participants receive complimentary coaching and training, as well as baseball or softball equipment and uniforms through the Club when needed. In 2017, Pittsburgh RBI will send junior and senior select teams to the RBI Regional Tournament in Detroit to compete for the opportunity to represent the region at the RBI World Series in Cincinnati.
The Junior Pirates program started 24 years ago as a cooperative effort between Pittsburgh CitiParks and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is a fun, starter program to introduce the fundamentals of baseball to youth ages 4-8 through a series of five active stations. With over 1,000 participants at 12 sites throughout the city of Pittsburgh, it is one of the most successful programs operated and organized through the CitiParks' CitiSports program.
Each season all Junior Pirate participants are honored at PNC Park on Junior Pirates Day and given tickets to that day's game, all courtesy of the Pirates. This season's Junior Pirates Day is set for Thursday, June 29, 2017.