Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa to play in RBI World Series championships

The teams competing in the baseball championships of the 2018 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series are now set following elimination games Thursday in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. In the Junior Division, defending Jr. Division Champions Philadelphia Phillies RBI will take on Rays RBI Tampa, which is seeking its first championship since 2001, tomorrow, Friday, August 10th beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. CT. Arizona RBI (Phoenix), which won the Senior Baseball Division Championship in 2016, and Chicago White Sox RBI, which won the Junior Baseball Division Championship in 2016, will vie for the Senior Baseball Division Championship at approximately 11:30 a.m. CT. Both games will stream LIVE on MLB.com.

August 9th, 2018

The teams competing in the baseball championships of the 2018 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series are now set following elimination games Thursday in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. In the Junior Division, defending Jr. Division Champions Philadelphia Phillies RBI will take on Rays RBI Tampa, which is seeking its first championship since 2001, tomorrow, Friday, August 10th beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. CT. Arizona RBI (Phoenix), which won the Senior Baseball Division Championship in 2016, and Chicago White Sox RBI, which won the Junior Baseball Division Championship in 2016, will vie for the Senior Baseball Division Championship at approximately 11:30 a.m. CT. Both games will stream LIVE on MLB.com.

MLB Network's Stephen Nelson will call play-by-play for the baseball championships with former Major League All-Star Dmitri Young providing analysis. MLB.com's Dani Wexelman will provide on-air reporting for both games.

Philadelphia enters the Jr. Division Championship Game with a 4-1 tournament record. Shortstop Maximus Martin leads the team with a .688 batting average, 13 RBI, five extra-base hits (three triples, two doubles), and five stolen bases (tied for the team lead). Pitchers Karim Mullen and Robert Lucas  combined for 15.2 innings pitched with only one earned run allowed between them. Tampa, which is coached by former Major League outfielder Mark Whiten, also enters the game with a 4-1 record. Shortstop De'Mario Williams leads Tampa with a .385 batting average, four extra-base hits (three double, one triple) and four RBI.

Arizona (4-1) first baseman Justin Flebbe enters the Sr. Division Championship with a .357 batting average, a division-leading three home runs, and nine RBI. Chicago (4-1) had several of their players in the top-five divisional lead in various offensive categories, including Jeffrey Massey (second in batting average - .600), Michael Bolton (fifth in batting average - .556) and Kendal Ewell (tied for first in RBI - 9).

In order to earn a spot in this year's RBI World Series, teams from the United States, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Uganda and Curaçao competed in RBI Regional Tournaments. A total of five RBI programs (Arizona RBI, Chicago White Sox RBI, Houston Astros RBI, Jackie Robinson RBI, Philadelphia Phillies RBI) are sending both junior and senior teams to the tournament. Historically, 12 countries and U.S. territories around the world have competed in the RBI World Series, including the United States, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Uganda, United Kingdom and Venezuela. 

The RBI World Series is the international championship of the RBI program, which has provided a path for many players to enter the college and professional game. MLB Clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants throughout the program's 30-year history, and many others have been given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. There have been more than 90 RBI alumni selected between the 2013-2018 MLB Drafts. Specifically in 2018, Alek Thomas (Chicago White Sox RBI, 2nd round, ARI); Micah Bello (Nobu Yamauchi, Hilo, Hawaii RBI, CB-B Round, MIL); Taj Bradley (Atlanta Metro RBI, 5th round, TB); Lawrence Butler (Atlanta Metro RBI, 6th round, OAK) were all drafted in the first six rounds. Bradley (2016) and Butler (2016 & 2017) have both played in a previous RBI World Series.

RBI alumni who appeared in the Major Leagues in 2018 include Justin Upton (Los Angeles Angels), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Nomar Mazara (Texas Rangers), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), Josh Harrison (Pittsburgh Pirates), Chris Young (Boston Red Sox), Yovani Gallardo (Texas Rangers), Hector Santiago (Chicago White Sox), Steven Souza, Jr. (Arizona Diamondbacks), Chris Iannetta (Colorado Rockies), J.P. Crawford (Philadelphia Phillies) and Dominic Smith (New York Mets). Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI - '03), Mazara (Dominican Republic RBI - '11), Crawford (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI - '09) and Smith (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI - '09) have each played in the RBI World Series. NBC News senior food analyst and former White House chef Sam Kass is also an RBI World Series alumnus.

The RBI program, which has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception, is administered by Major League Baseball and designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, while also encouraging academic achievement and success and teaching the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves young men and women in over 300 programs in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues. For more information about the RBI World Series, please visit MLB.com/rbiworldseries.