The mission of the Pittsburgh Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program is to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth through instructional and competitive play, while encouraging youth to achieve academically, demonstrate good sportsmanship and contribute positively to the community.
The Pittsburgh RBI program began in 1994 as a part of Major League Baseball's international RBI initiative. During the 2014 season, Pittsburgh RBI included more than 950 area youth in 10 different communities throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. The RBI program focuses on the development of positive members of society through baseball and softball. Throughout the summer, Pittsburgh RBI teams compete in the City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation BIG League.
In addition to regular season play, two Pittsburgh RBI All-Star teams, a Junior Boys team (13-15 years old) and Senior Boys team (16-18 years old), will travel to Cleveland, Ohio to compete in an MLB-sponsored regional tournament. The Pittsburgh RBI All-Star teams will be competing to qualify for the annual MLB RBI World Series in Arlington, Texas at Rangers Park.
The Pirates Community Baseball Center, which officially opened in February 2007, hosts over 1,500 youth each year. This facility, which is part of the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club, is designed to assist Pittsburgh RBI youth in developing baseball and softball fundamentals and techniques.
In 2014, the Pirates' ball-girls will conduct an instructional softball clinic at Chioda Field for all ages in June. This instructional clinic is designed to help softball players within the Pittsburgh RBI program develop various techniques and skills to improve their play for the upcoming season.
The Pittsburgh RBI Program emphasizes the importance of education by providing various education programs throughout the season. Pittsburgh RBI youth will attend the "Skills that Pay the Bills" program offered by KPMG of Pittsburgh which is a financial literacy program. Youth also had the opportunity to participate in programs including the Jackie Robinson Art, Essay, and Poetry Contest, and a new program called "Coaching Boys into Men" Program. The "Coaching Boys into Men" program is designed to help shape the behavior of young male athletes, ultimately preventing violence against women and girls.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, in partnership with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, has selected the Pittsburgh RBI program to receive an equipment grant of $5,000. In late August, the Pirates will complete an on-field ceremony at PNC Park including representatives from the Boys & Girls Club and youth within the program. In addition the grant, the Pittsburgh RBI program will host an equipment drive at PNC Park accepting new and gently used equipment.
Over 2,000 Pittsburgh Pirates game tickets games were provided free-of-charge to players, coaches, and volunteers of Pittsburgh RBI, many whom have never had the opportunity to attend a professional baseball game.