Most RBI baseball and softball seasons at the Texas Rangers RBI Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, wrap up with athletes trying out for the Academy’s RBI All-Star Junior Division Baseball, Senior Division Baseball and Softball Division teams that will travel to the RBI Southwest Regionals and compete for a chance to go to the RBI World Series.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic came changes to sports programming across the country, and RBI leagues were no exception. So instead of the traditional playoff push, this year’s Academy RBI All-Stars will play at Globe Life Field next week.
As it became clear the RBI playoffs would not go on as traditionally expected, Academy Director Juan Leonel Garciga and his staff looked for alternatives to reward the athletes playing in the Academy’s RBI league this summer.
“We honestly felt like this year all three of our All-Star teams were ready to compete for a World Series title, and not having a regional tournament was devastating news for many players in their last year of RBI eligibility,” Garciga said. “Thankfully my colleagues within the organization, along with a generous contribution from Nike, came together to make this once-in-a-life-time experience happen. They will be the first high school baseball and softball players to play a game at Globe Life Field.”
Tryouts for the All-Star teams continued, but athletes who make the All-Star rosters will instead play each other at Globe Life Field.
Competition is set to begin next week for two teams from each of the Academy athletes who made the Baseball Senior Division, Baseball Junior Division and Softball Division rosters. Softball will take the field at the Rangers home stadium Monday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. Baseball seniors will follow Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. The series will conclude with baseball juniors Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m.
Singing the Anthem
On the field at the Academy, Patrick Parker Jr. plays for Lancaster in the Rangers RBI Baseball Junior Division.
But the Lancaster High Schooler (2023) was at Globe Life Field on July 26 for a very different baseball experience, as he sang the National Anthem for the Rangers third regular season home game at their new ballpark.
“It was amazing and a blessing from God to have the opportunity to sing the National Anthem,” Parker said. “I never thought in a million years I would have the chance to, not only sing the National Anthem, but sing it at the Texas Rangers New Stadium.”
Parker Jr. has acted in plays and sung at church, but it was his first time singing the National Anthem. And singing in a stadium without fans was a unique experience.
“I’m generally not nervous singing or performing in front of a large audience. I’m more excited,” Parker said. “Singing with no fans wasn’t bad, just a little different. It almost makes you feel like you are just singing to yourself.”
Playoff Time for RBI Baseball
The Vikings repeated as Senior Division baseball champions of the Rangers RBI Woodbat Tournament presented by Nike Diamond, defeating the Raiders 5-4 on Thursday, July 30.
In Junior Division play, Nashville will face the Monarchs in the Championship contest tonight, Friday, July 31 on Oates Field.
The Rangers Baseball and Softball RBI leagues were the first Academy programming to get underway after the three-month pause due to COVID-19. Approximately 450 high school baseball and softball players competed on the 26 RBI teams in Junior and Senior division play during the seven-week season.
Science of Baseball Goes Virtual
Virtual Science of Baseball presented by Nike allows students to play the new gaming app STEMadium, which teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The three-week, virtual summer camp is designed for students entering fifth through eighth grades. Activities kicked off Monday, July 20.
Buckner Virtual Programming
Academy athletes are continuing to take part in virtual classes offered by Buckner International’s Family Hope Center at the Rangers MLB Youth Academy. Online summer classes in both English and Spanish began four weeks ago, while in-person classes will resume once the Academy’s indoor facilities reopen.