Multi-Year Partnership Designed to Strengthen Awareness and Benefits of Baseball to Inner City Youth

INDIANAPOLIS, June 17, 2015 – Indianapolis’ minor league baseball franchise is making a major league investment in its commitment to the local inner city youth baseball community.

In a joint announcement the Indianapolis Indians and Play Ball Indiana announced today a five-year partnership valued at more than $100,000 that centers on helping ensure Central Indiana boys and girls in economically disadvantaged areas have the opportunity to not only play the game, but use it as a means to overcome acaRBI Indians combo logodemic and social disadvantages.

Play Ball Indiana is the Indianapolis-based chapter of Major League Baseball’s youth initiative Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI).

In addition to an annual financial contribution from the Indians to Play Ball Indiana, key components of the partnership include:

  1. The Indians sponsoring and outfitting 10 area RBI teams each summer,
  2. the Indians’ front office’s annual Day of Service being devoted to rehabilitating an RBI diamond,
  3. Victory Field hosting a Pitch, Hit & Run sectional competition each spring, and
  4. primary naming rights for the Indians within PBI/RBI Indianapolis including a joint logo.

“We look forward to helping Play Ball Indiana achieve its goals of giving every youth who wants to play the game of baseball the opportunity to do so,” said Indianapolis Indians General Manager Randy Lewandowski. “Joining forces offers the entire Indianapolis Indians organization the opportunity to expand our commitment to be role models for Central Indiana’s young people, and help them develop into responsible and productive adults.”

“Although we are in a minor league market, the Indianapolis Indians have stepped up with Major League support for our program,” said Mike Lennox, president of Play Ball Indiana. “We hope to be able to serve 2,500 boys and girls annually over the next five years, and the Indians are going to help us do just that.”

About Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities  was founded in 1989 by former Major Leaguer John Young. Young developed the concept of RBI to overcome obstacles — including street gangs, a lack of organization, funding and community support — that prevented disadvantaged youth from learning and enjoying the game of baseball. The one-time local Los Angeles program has now turned international and encompasses more than 200 cities and up to 200,000 male and female participants a year. The program’s success has expanded the talent pool of players in each city fostering competitive play and improved sportsmanship. RBI leagues provide communities the opportunity to enhance the skillset of young baseball and softball players; teach children the skills they need to deal with barriers, obstacles and challenges in their lives; and furthermore, motivate participants to stay in school and pursue post-secondary education. School attendance/performance is required for joining any RBI team.

About Play Ball Indiana

Play Ball Indiana is the Indianapolis-based chapter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. PBI’s roots go back to 1981 thanks to Indianapolis Indians Board Member Milton Thompson and Jim Young when the two formed the Indiana Amateur Baseball Association (IABA). In 1996, they hired their first Executive Director, Mike Lennox. A year later, Lennox approached RBI and applied for affiliation; they officially became a member of RBI in 1997 and changed IABA to PBI. The organization’s aim is to provide every youth who wants to play baseball, the opportunity to do so and strengthen baseball in the inner city of Indianapolis. The program has approximately 1,400 participants ranging from ages 5 to 18. PBI oversees youth baseball leagues and clinics in city parks, community centers, churches, youth service agencies and IPS schools. Play Ball Indiana’s goal is to save kids and create major league citizens.

About the Indianapolis Indians
The Indianapolis Indians are the professional Triple-A baseball club affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and have been in continuous operation since 1902. The Indians play their home games at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis, a 14,200-seat ballpark that has received numerous national accolades as one of the best minor league stadiums in the United States. The Indians’ front office was named one of The Best Places to Work in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, the Indians set a Victory Field attendance record by welcoming 660,289 fans, just one season after leading all of Minor League Baseball in overall attendance on their way to being presented with Baseball America’s 2013 Triple-A Bob Freitas Award for the best overall operations at the Triple-A level. The mission of the Indianapolis Indians is to provide baseball at Victory Field as affordable and memorable family fun. Click here for an in-depth overview of the 2014 Victory Field Experience.

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