RBI Program Provides Life-Changing Opportunities for Kids in
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) – the program sponsored by Major
League Baseball (MLB) to promote the game of baseball to kids in
underserved areas – is coming to Washington.
D.C. Grays Baseball, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting
baseball in inner-city D.C., will be operating the RBI program in a
partnership with MLB, Grays President and Founder Michael Barbera
The Grays also announced that they are donating baseball equipment and
apparel to the John Philip Sousa Middle School baseball program. The
school is located on Ely Place SE, across the street from the Washington
Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, where the D.C. Grays summer college
baseball team plays its home games in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball
“When D.C. Grays Baseball was founded in 2012, our goal was to make
the great game of baseball available and accessible to every kid in our
community, regardless of ability to pay,” Barbera said. “Now that we
have revitalized the RBI program for D.C. and are helping the
ballplayers at John Philip Sousa Middle School, we are fulfilling our
mission to be ‘ambassadors for baseball’ in Washington, D.C.”
D.C. Grays Baseball will operate seven teams in “D.C. Grays RBI” for
2016 – five baseball teams and two softball teams. Each team will play a
10-game minimum schedule with a school-based baseball or softball team
or with a D.C. Grays RBI partner program. One baseball team and one
softball team will represent Washington in the 2016 Major League
Baseball RBI East Regional Tournament in Bowie, MD in August.
There will be no cost for D.C. Grays RBI to the kids or their families.
D.C. Grays RBI will also sponsor a summer reading program for all kids
in the RBI program, and will offer a “college access” seminar for the
kids and their families – to encourage preparing for college.
D.C. Grays Board Member and Co-Founder Brad Burris, a former Howard
University baseball player, will manage the D.C. Grays RBI 13-15
“I look forward to the opportunity to build a top-flight program that
the residents of D.C. would be proud to be affiliated with,” Burris
said. “The RBI program and purpose is meaningful and impactful to me. I
would like to see the members of the inaugural Grays RBI team be
accountable to each other as teammates, for accountability and
commitment are a recipe for success. If you love the game, the game will
love you back.”
The Grays commitment includes helping District school baseball programs,
such as the one run by Coach Brie Whitmire at John Philip Sousa Middle
School, which was the recipient of new baseball apparel and equipment
donated by the Grays.
“The Grays generosity went far beyond providing us with material
possessions,” Whitmire said. “They opened doors and empowered us to be
the best team we could be. They truly took my boys under their
proverbial wings. From dedicating mentoring time to spend with the boys
to offering free clinics and letting my guys throw out ceremonial first
pitches, the Grays went above and beyond to show my boys and me that we
are all a part of the same family. I truly believe that the success of
my program is in part due to the partnership that the Grays have built
with Sousa’s baseball team.”
D.C. Grays Board Member Christopher Spera helped build the partnership
between the Grays and Sousa Middle, which defines the mission of the
Grays as much as any function the organization serves.
“Our partnership with the Sousa Middle School team started when I was at
a meeting at the Nationals Academy and was able to observe a practice
and be introduced to Coach Whitmire,” Spera said. “I saw some really
devoted coaches and players working hard to get better, but I also saw
kids sharing gloves because they didn’t have their own and kids
practicing in shorts because they didn’t have baseball pants.”
“The D.C. Grays stand for reviving baseball in DC,” Spera said. “We are
thrilled to have helped out the Sousa team and Coach Whitmire.”
Pictures of the announcement: Dropbox
About Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) www.mlbcommunity.org
The RBI program was founded in 1989 in South Central Los Angeles by
former Major Leaguer John Young. A success in Los Angeles, the RBI
concept was adopted in New York, St. Louis and Kansas City within two
years. Since 1991, the RBI Program has been administered by Major League
Baseball. Major League Baseball serves as the central administrative
office for RBI and, from 1993-1996, along with Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association provided start-up grants for programs
demonstrating financial need.
The RBI program will be entering its 27th year of play in 2016. From its
inception in 1989 through the 2015 season, RBI has grown from a local
program for boys in South Central Los Angeles to an international
campaign encompassing more than 200 cities and as many as 200,000 male
and female participants a year.
RBI has been embraced in many communities because it teaches kids that
being a success in life takes more than succeeding on the ball field –
it also means succeeding in the classroom and the community.
About D.C. Grays Baseball www.dcgrays.com
A member of the Cal Ripken collegiate baseball league, D.C. Grays
Baseball is named in honor of the Negro league champion Homestead Grays.
The Grays play their home games at the Washington Nationals Youth
Baseball Academy, with the season scheduled to begin their 40-game
schedule starting in June. Admission is free.
The mission of D.C. Grays Baseball is to provide opportunities for
college players, particularly African-American players, and also to give
inner-city youth a chance to learn the game of baseball. The Grays
commitment is to be ambassadors for baseball in one of the most
economically challenged areas of the District.
D.C. Grays Baseball has also secured partnerships with the Washington
Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and the following Washington,
D.C.-based community baseball organizations: D.C. Knights Baseball;
District #3 Little Leagues, including the Mamie Peanut Johnson Little
League in Ward 7, the Southern District Little League in Ward 8 and
JBAB, the Capitol Hill Little League in Ward 6, the Satchel Paige
Senators Little League in Ward 5, the Banneker Little League in Wards 1
and 4, the Capitol City Little League in Wards 3 and 5 and the Northwest
Little League in Wards 2 and 3, as well as other groups.
D.C. Grays Baseball welcomes corporate and personal sponsorships and
donations. Volunteer opportunities are also available, as well as needs
for host families to house some of the young men that come from around
the country to play for the Grays and teach in the clinics.