Cities (RBI) is a youth outreach program designed to promote interest in baseball, increase the self esteem of disadvantaged children and encourage kids to stay in school and off the streets. The program is a national Major League Baseball initiative, administered and financially supported by the Orioles at a local level.
Each summer, hundreds of Baltimore youth have the chance to play baseball through the program. Starting in 2013, the league expanded to provide additional opportunities for 150 more young athletes through the addition of a six-team Youth Division for boys ages 10-12 and a four team Softball Division for girls ages 13-17. In total, 450 Baltimore City youth representing 26 different RBI teams in four divisions (Youth, Junior, Senior and Softball) played games at fields across the city.
The Orioles covered all costs for each team to participate in the league and also provided equipment and hats for players on each team. The Orioles also covered the expenses for travel teams from each division to represent RBI Baltimore in the Regional Tournament held in Harrisburg, PA. In addition, the Orioles hosted a championship game for each division, giving the players a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play baseball on a major league field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The Orioles also provided additional unique experiences for RBI participants, including clinics featuring instruction from current and former players, and hosted all participants to watch a game at Oriole Park -- providing game tickets, bus transportation, concessions, hats and t-shirts. Over the last year, RBI participants were also invited to be in the audience for major press conferences, participate in pre-game ceremonies, enjoy autograph sessions with players, and even join Adam Jones for a private screening of the Jackie Robinson movie "42" with complimentary tickets, popcorn and drinks.
On August 16, before the Orioles took on the Colorado Rockies, the team recognized players and coaches of the Baltimore RBI League champion teams in a special on-field ceremony. Each division champion -- Liberty Road (12 and under age group), the Gardenville Grays (13- 15 age group), the Parkville Patriots (16-18 age group) and the Baltimore Rattlers (softball) was honored in the pre-game ceremony.
Adam Jones congratulates Baltimore RBI League champion teams in a special on-field ceremony on August 16.
Through a strong and continuing partnership with Baltimore City Schools, OriolesREACH and Coca- Cola hosted a youth baseball clinic for city school students on April 18 at Oriole Park. The Live Positively: Get the Ball Rolling healthy lifestyle and baseball clinic featured instruction from current Orioles including pitcher Brian Matusz and Nate McLouth as well as former Orioles Al Bumbry, Larry Sheets and Bill Swaggerty. The 200 middle school students from Baltimore City Schools participated in a variety of fitness drills, including base running, pitching, and calisthenics. Orioles strength and conditioning coach Joe Hogarty and strength and conditioning consultant Ryan Crotin also instructed the youth on fitness practices. Nutritionist Christine Turpin, RD, LDN, educated participants about the importance of exercise, a balanced diet and making smart food choices. Coca-Cola's Live Positively: Get the Ball Rolling clinics began in 2010 and continue throughout Baltimore and Washington, DC as well as multiple cities in the Northeast.
On April 21 and May 19, the Orioles hosted two Little League days. More than 15,000 preregistered youth baseball participants took part in pre-game parades around the warning track and met Orioles players as they walked by the dugout. Teams dressed in their uniforms carried banners and waved to their family members as they rounded the field.
Orioles players, including Chris Davis and Adam Jones, greet youth baseball participants during a Little League Day parade.
On June 26, Adam Jones and members of the Orioles training staff, in conjunction with the PLAY Campaign, welcomed 75 youth from the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore to Oriole Park. PLAY, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, is a public awareness campaign of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), in conjunction with the Taylor Hooton Foundation.
The PLAY campaign combats childhood obesity and promotes healthy living and decision-making among young people throughout the country. Jones spoke to the youth about making smart life choices, avoiding drugs and living a more active and healthy lifestyle. This event is part of Jones' continued involvement in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Baltimore.
The Orioles also provided PLAY clinic participants with tickets to attend the Orioles game against the Cleveland Indians that night.
On June 29, the Orioles hosted Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run Tournament at Oriole Park. The top 16 qualifiers from Maryland and Virginia competed in the hopes of advancing to the National Finals at the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in New York.
Later in the day, the participants were honored in an on-field pregame ceremony. The Orioles also provided tickets to those participating in the tournament for that night's game against the New York Yankees.
On June 29, the Orioles partnered with the Coppin State University women's softball team to conduct their annual Baltimore City youth baseball and softball clinic at Radecke Park. All Stars J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Manny Machado were on hand to help teach baseball and softball to 300 inner city youth, most of whom are involved in the Orioles RBI program, with support from the Orioles Wives and Coppin State University softball coaches. In addition to receiving baseball and softball training, each child enjoyed refreshments provided by Orioles Corporate Partners ESSKAY and Coca-Cola. The Orioles also donated 600 tickets to clinic participants for a future O's game.
The Orioles partnered with Giant Food and hosted a youth baseball clinic at Oriole Park on July 12. The clinic featured Orioles Alumni Al Bumbry, Rick Krivda, Larry Sheets and Bill Swaggerty providing expert instruction in drills for local youth from several Little Leagues. After the clinic, the youth participated in a Q&A session with Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty.
The Challenger League offers 5 to 18 year old boys and girls with physical and mental challenges the opportunity to participate in an organized game of baseball. The most fundamental mission of the Challenger League is to give everyone a chance to play. The goals of the Challenger League program are to provide children with physical or developmental challenges an opportunity to enjoy the enriching experiences that playing baseball provides; increase awareness of Challenger Programs in order to increase the number of children served; provide children from different geographic areas the opportunity to meet others in similar programs; and assist leaders of Challenger teams by providing a forum for sharing ideas between programs.
The Orioles and the Oriole Advocates joined efforts to support local Challenger Leagues by off-setting expenses to host tournaments, provide equipment, umpires, facility usage, and much more. In addition, Orioles game tickets, concessions and promotional items are provided to all participants in the league.
The Orioles donate $5 from every Junior Orioles Dugout Club Membership sold at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to the Oriole Advocate Charitable Foundation to benefit Challenger League efforts. A total of $8,000 has been raised from the sale of the Orioles official kids clubs. In addition, OriolesREACH help to host 10 Challenger League clinics and a tournament for teams from around the Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia regions. The Orioles provided promotional items, the Oriole Bird and players to attend events and the Orioles sought corporate sponsor support to donate hot dogs, water, energy drinks and other supplies for participants of these clinics. Partners include ESSKAY, Coca- Cola and UTZ Snacks.
On July 27, Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball, in conjunction with the Baltimore Orioles, held a Fantasy Camp for Kids at Freedom Field in Lake Waterford Park in Pasadena. The clinic provided Challenger Baseball players the opportunity to learn baseball skills from Orioles pitchers Brian Matusz and Jim Johnson and former O's Rick Krivda and Val Majewski. The event began with a variety of clinics providing more than 40 Challenger Baseball players from Anne Arundel County, Frederick, Catonsville and Parkville the opportunity to learn pitching, throwing, catching and fielding skills.
Through a grant donation from Fantasy Camp for Kids, each child received an authentic personalized jersey with his or her name and favorite number. The Orioles assisted the Oriole Advocate Charitable Foundation in obtaining the $10,000 grant.
On May 18, the Orioles also hosted more than 800 Challenger League Baseball youth from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia at a game, providing them with complimentary tickets through the Commissioner's Community Initiative Ticket Program, along with an Orioles t-shirt. During a pregame ceremony, Wayne Trigg was awarded the John Salony Memorial Award for his efforts in supporting Challenger Baseball. John Salony had a vision to provide recreational activities for children with special needs when few such activities existed and co-founded Challenger Baseball in Maryland over 25 years ago. Trigg was rewarded for his dedication and support to the Frederick, MD Challenger Little League. Representatives from Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball were on hand that day along with six players from the Challenger League who were part of the on-field ceremony to represent all those who participate in the program.
The Orioles hosted three Chevy Youth Baseball Clinics at Oriole Park throughout the summer. More than 100 Little Leaguers from throughout the Baltimore metro area were taught a variety of baseball-related skills including baserunning, batting off of a tee, fielding and pitching from former Orioles including Al Bumbry, Rick Krivda, Larry Sheets and Bill Swaggerty. Participants received hot dogs, pretzels and beverages during the clinic, as well as two tickets to an upcoming game.