In celebration of Major League Baseball’s annual Play Ball Weekend, the Orioles will host a variety of clinics, events, and ceremonies at Oriole Park and in the community between Friday, April 27, and Sunday, April 29, to encourage youth to “Play Ball.” Orioles players will wear Play Ball t-shirts during batting practice throughout the weekend and pregame on Sunday during the Youth Baseball & Softball Day Parade presented by Maryland 529.
In support of the program, the Orioles today announced a partnership with USA Baseball to provide an introductory level bat-and-ball program, “Fun At Bat,” to Baltimore City Public Schools to promote interest in baseball and softball. This week, the Baltimore City Public School system will begin to implement SHAPE America’s baseball-themed physical education program, Fun At Bat, in more than 120 elementary and middle schools, impacting over 55,000 Baltimore City youth.
Fun At Bat, a USA Baseball youth initiative supported by MLB, is a bat-and-ball program for children created for use in elementary school physical education classes. The goal of the program is to promote fun and active lifestyles for children, while teaching the fundamental skills of bat-and-ball sports. The program also includes a literacy component and teaches character traits such as leadership, honesty, and teamwork.
To help launch the partnership, the Orioles will host a Fun At Bat event for James Mosher Elementary School students at Eddie Murray Field with Orioles pitcher MYCHAL GIVENS and the Oriole Bird on Friday, April 27, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET. Givens is a three-time Team USA alumnus, having most recently played on the 2017 team that won the World Baseball Classic. With help from teachers and staff, Givens will lead students through Fun At Bat activities including throwing, catching, and reading.
The Orioles will also host two clinics on Saturday, April 28, to celebrate Play Ball Weekend. The Orioles will conduct a clinic for 100 Fort Meade youth baseball players from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. ET at Fort George G. Meade. Orioles pitchers BRAD BRACH and DARREN O’DAY, as well as Orioles alumni AL BUMBRY and JOHN PARRISH, will help teach baseball fundamentals with a focus on base running, fielding, hitting, and throwing, with assistance from Fort Meade youth baseball coaches. The Orioles will provide each participant with an Orioles cap, foam baseball, Orioles-themed activity book, and tickets to Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers. Additionally, ESSKAY®, the official hot dog of the Orioles, will provide hot dogs to those attending the clinic.
Also on Saturday, the Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball program will hold their Annual Fantasy Camp Clinic for Challenger Athletes. This year, approximately 60 Challenger Athletes with physical and developmental challenges selected from Challenger Baseball programs throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania will have the opportunity to learn baseball skills from Orioles pitcher RICHARD BLEIER and Orioles alumni LARRY BIGBIE, KEN DIXON, and BILL SWAGGERTY. The event will be held at Lake Waterford Park in Pasadena, Md. from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Throughout Play Ball Weekend, the Orioles will recognize Birdland Community Heroes who have made an impact on local youth baseball and softball. On Saturday, the Orioles will recognize ANDY WELTLINGER, the founder of Baltimore Urban Baseball Association (BUBA). Weltlinger founded BUBA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rejuvenating baseball in Baltimore City in 2016. BUBA works with former college and professional baseball players to teach, educate, and mentor the lives of youth in Baltimore by supporting and advancing their academic, athletic, and social development. Prior to Saturday’s game, select BUBA participants will exchange autographed baseballs with some of their favorite Orioles players in recognition of Play Ball Weekend. The Orioles will also donate 60 tickets for Saturday’s game to BUBA participants and volunteer coaches.
On Sunday, the Orioles will recognize BOB WALL, Baltimore City Recreation & Parks, Chief of Recreation. Wall has been involved in helping out the Baltimore City community for the past 47 years. He helped develop the Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Play Baseball program for children and is a supporter of the Orioles RBI Program, helping maintain fields and secure umpires. Under Wall’s direction, Baltimore City Recreation & Parks offers 20 sports programs and operates 200 youth leagues and 112 adult leagues. The Orioles will wrap up Play Ball Weekend on Sunday with this season’s first Youth Baseball and Softball Day presented by Maryland 529. More than 10,000 pre-registered youth baseball and softball players will participate in a pregame parade around the warning track and be greeted by Orioles players as they walk by the dugout. Following the game, all fans ages 4-14 will be able to participate in Kids Run the Bases presented by Weis Markets.
Major League Baseball launched the Play Ball campaign in 2015 and expanded the effort in 2016 to include Play Ball Weekend, an annual league-wide initiative to showcase efforts to grow youth baseball and softball. Additional information on Orioles Play Ball events, clinics, and programs can be found on www.orioles.com/playball.