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MLB International Envoy Program to send coaches to India
07/17/2006 1:11 PM ET
As part of its Envoy Program, and in conjunction with FIRST PITCH: THE US-MANIPUR BASEBALL PROJECT and the U.S. Embassy in India, Major League Baseball International (MLBI) will send Envoy Coaches to five cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Imphal in Manipur. Envoy Coaches will begin a series of clinics and camps for local baseball coaches and players from Nov. 4 to Dec. 8, 2006, it was announced today.

The Envoy Program, developed by MLBI in 1991, utilizes top high school, college, and professional baseball coaches. Envoy Coaches are selected based on their experience, expertise and passion for teaching the game of baseball to culturally diverse audiences in countries throughout the world. The Program has sent baseball coaches on more than 700 assignments in 72 different countries and territories. MLBI and the U.S. Embassy will co-host this important first effort at upgrading the level of coaching in Manipur, as well as conducting introductory coaching programs in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Calcutta.

"With its enormous reach and ability to influence, the Envoy Program is vital to the long-term growth of the game and an integral part of our overall mission to internationalize baseball," said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, Major League Baseball International. "We are very excited about the opportunity to work with FIRST PITCH and look forward to fostering the development of the game in India."

Lauding this initiative, the U.S. Ambassador in India, David Mulford, said: "Baseball is to America what cricket is to India. We are delighted that we can work with Major League Baseball International and FIRST PIITCH to share this game with Indians. As sports enthusiasts, the Indian people may one day embrace baseball as they have cricket and other sports."

Established in 2005, FIRST PITCH: THE U.S - MANIPUR BASEBALL PROJECT, is a New York and Imphal-based organization created to develop baseball in Manipur, and to assist in upgrading the level of play, the quality of equipment and playing fields in India. In 2004, Muriel Peters, Chair of FIRST PITCH, and L. Somi Roy, Executive Director of FIRST PITCH, traveled to Manipur to observe a fascinating phenomenon - an unusual amount of baseball being played in a country otherwise known for its passion for cricket. There are currently over 25 sports clubs with baseball players and teams in Imphal, the capital of Manipur. Although Manipuris have been playing the game for decades, there is little infrastructure and no formal instruction, equipment or uniforms. "What these people do have," said Muriel Peters, "ís great joy in the game and tremendous athletic ability. It is this enthusiasm in such a remote corner of India that gave us the impetus to create FIRST PITCH."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.