Saturday, June 4, 2016

Riverdogs Press Release: Charleston Joins MLB’s PLAY BALL Initiative

RiverDogs, Charleston Recreation Department Join in MLB & USA Baseball’s ‘PLAY BALL’ Initiative
Local youth groups to receive introduction to the game while securing tour of Riley Park



CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston RiverDogs, in conjunction with the Charleston Recreation Department, will participate in Major League Baseball and USA Baseball’s PLAY BALL initiative on three dates this summer.

This new undertaking is being introduced in a committed effort to spark widespread participation in all forms of baseball activities among all age groups, especially youth.

Athletes from three local summer camps connected to the Charleston Recreation Department will be invited to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park to get an introduction and early-level basic fundamentals in America’s pastime. In addition to learning about the game from RiverDogs players, participants will get a behind-the-scenes tour of The Joe and will be exposed to parts of the ballpark fans typically won't see (that include the underground batting cages, press box, locker rooms, and more).



The groups will then be divided and will rotate between catch on the field and hitting in the batting cages. RiverDogs players will be stationed in the cages and on the field and will work with and hang out with the participants.



Prior to the kids’ departure, there will be an autograph session as well as a guest appearance from everyone’s favorite dog, Charlie T. RiverDog.

The first event is June 14 with the James Island Camp, and the second is set for July 29 with the Downtown City Gym Camp while the final event is August 8 with the Bees Landing Camp in West Ashley. All of the groups that are participating will be selected by the Charleston Recreation Department.

"The purpose of the initiative is just to remind people that you can engage with baseball without having nine guys on each team, uniforms and umpires," said Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. "There are lots of small games that are ways to play baseball that can be really fun for kids and can really help them develop skills. It creates a day that they'll remember the rest of their lives."

“The City of Charleston is proud to partner in this initiative with our own Charleston RiverDogs,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. “We hope that it inspires the love of the game of baseball to the children of our community.”

“The RiverDogs are thrilled to participate in the PLAY BALL initiative and are especially happy to partner with the Charleston Recreation Department,” said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. “These sessions are designed to introduce a youngster to baseball or enhance a kid’s love of the game. It will certainly be a memorable moment for the participants and our players alike.”

The PLAY BALL initiative highlights the many ways baseball can be played, including outside of traditionally organized baseball leagues and tournaments, ranging from playing catch, stickball and Wiffle ball to participating in skills competitions like "Pitch, Hit & Run." PlayBall.orgserves as its online home, featuring coaching tips, parent resources and health and safety information. It's also a resource to find out how to gets kids involved in Play Ball activities and get links to youth-related news and events, plus searchable maps for local community leagues.

"The launch of PLAY BALL is a landmark occasion for our sport," said Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball Paul Seiler. "With the support of Major League Baseball, we are thrilled to take a more active role in the proliferation of our game and offer innovative resources to our national member organizations and their constituents. While the launch of PLAY BALL is the culmination of a lot of hard work, this represents the beginning of our partnership with MLB to grow the game at the grassroots level."

Additionally, MLB and USA Baseball are launching the PLAY BALL Mobile Coaching App, a free tool for coaches at every level that is currently available for download via Google Play and will be coming soon to the Apple App Store. Coaches can access the app as guests, but logging on with PLAY BALL credentials allows users to create customized practice plans, organize team data, and utilize Pitch Smart recommendations and more.

For more information, please contact Haley Kirchner at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or email her at haley@riverdogs.com.

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