Historic Dodgertown, the Vero Beach, Florida, which until 2008 was home to the defending champions of the Baseball World Cup, hadn’t hosted a Dodgers team in a while.
The Dodgers’ Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program represents one of 18 baseball and softball teams from across the United States entering the 28th
“This is the best place for next week,” said David James, MLB’s vice president of baseball and softball development. “You are obviously all baseball fans; You have been playing for a long time. This is your chance. Check out this facility. And if you haven’t been out to see the pitch, vacuum it up. Legends played here.
“For those of you [who] Ever since you were little kids you’ve had a scenario about the big hit, the big home run you’re going to hit – this is the week you can do that. “
The Dodgers’ RBI program is no stranger to the league’s World Series as Los Angeles-based teams make their 49th (senior baseball) and 50th (softball) appearances in the tournament.
The senior baseball team (ages 16-18) is returning to play the RBI World Series for the first time since 2010, the final year in a long line in which they reached 17 out of 18 tournaments. With the softball team (ages 19 and younger), 2021 marks the first time in a decade that LA has two teams competing in the same season.
The success of the Dodgers’ RBI program has not gone unnoticed by the franchise’s big league players as several members of the squad listened to a motivational message from Los Angeles catcher Will Smith and pitcher David Price.
“What’s up guys? It’s Will Smith. I just want to congratulate the Dodgers RBI team on making the RBI World Series. Get out there and have fun and bring another championship to LA,” he said.
Price added, “From one champion to another, you’ve got this. Good luck, Dodger’s RBI team. Bring another championship to LA “
One of the players who heard the news, Federico Sanchez, is thrilled to spend the week playing and staying at the same facilities that were once used by some of the greatest Dodgers of all time.
“Before we got here, they said to us, ‘Jackie Robinson could have eaten here too.’ For example, different players could have slept here, ”said Sanchez. “It’s really crazy to be here.”
For Sanchez and his team, being able to represent the Dodgers brand and the city of Los Angeles means everything.
And for the big leagues themselves, said Jonathan Kazarian – one of the Dodgers’ RBI coaches – means the world to his team.
“I mean, how awesome are these guys who take the time to talk to these kids? And you know, some of them didn’t even think they were a slip up on the radar, “said Kazarian,” and knowing that … [the Dodgers are] when I think of us at home … it’s just fantastic. “
Almost 200 young athletes in teams from 13 cities in the USA will take part in the RBI World Series. A total of four RBI programs (Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Dodgers and Roberto Clemente) have sent two teams to the tournament, while Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle are sending teams for the first time in many years. Even a team from Williamsport, Pennsylvania won a place for the first time.
The RBI program, which has helped approximately two million players since its inception in 1989, is administered by Major League Baseball and is designed to empower young people from underserved and diverse communities to play baseball and softball while also serving the academic world Promoting achievement and teaching the value of teamwork, among other important life lessons.
The list of RBI alumni who have played in the majors is quite impressive, led by: Justin Upton, Eloy Jiménez, Nomar Mazara, Anthony Rendon, Josh Harrison, Jackie Bradley Jr., Ramón Laureano, JP Crawford, and Dominic Smith.
Among the above have Jiménez (Dominican Republic RBI, 2012), Mazara (Dominican Republic RBI, ’11), Crawford (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI, ’09) and Smith (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI, ’09), respectively played in the RBI World Series.