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05/25/2005 7:53 PM ET
MLB supports second annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree
Weekend events include appearance by Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Breaking Barriers program and Pepsi MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Competition
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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As part of its ongoing commitment to increase youth participation in baseball and softball within the inner cities, Major League Baseball is lending support and participation to the second annual Little League Baseball Urban Initiative Jamboree, May 27-30 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of Little League Baseball.

Major League Baseball will host events in conjunction with the Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree including a presentation of the "Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life" educational program and a Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit and Run competition. In addition, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, vice president and senior advisor, San Diego Padres, is scheduled to attend the Jamboree's opening ceremony on Friday night and address the participants, parents, and fans beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Howard J. Lamade Stadium, site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series. Urban Initiative youth will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the former Major Leaguer.

The Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree offers children from 10 Urban Initiative cities a unique and memorable trip to the site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series. The weekend includes games played at the Little League World Series site.

The Breaking Barriers presentation will address character and educational issues while the Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run competition will give Urban Initiative youth the opportunity to win a trip to the 2005 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The top competitors from the Urban Initiative Jamboree have the opportunity to advance to sectional finals in their respective regions. The top four competitors nationwide from each Pitch, Hit & Run division (7-8 year olds; 9-10 year olds; 11-12 year olds; and 13-14 year olds) will advance to the 2005 Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals at Comerica Park in Detroit during Major League Baseball All-Star Week. Representatives from the MLB Community Affairs Department will conduct both events.

"Major League Baseball is committed to engendering and retaining interest in baseball among urban youth," said Tom Brasuell, Vice President, Community Affairs, Major League Baseball. "We are proud to support a program that shares many of the same goals as Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and positively impacts youth both on and off the field."

2005 Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree
Participating Cities
Gary Midtown Little LeagueGary, IN
Northwest Little LeagueTampa, FL
St. Francis Xavier Little LeagueNewark, NJ
Ben Hill Little LeagueAtlanta, GA
Jack Barry Little LeagueMeriden, CT
Parkchester Little LeagueNew York, NY
Dixie Little LeagueHouston, TX
City of Angels Little LeagueLos Angeles, CA
White Mountain Apache Little LeagueWhite River, AZ
Harrisburg American Little LeagueHarrisburg, PA

In 2003, Major League Baseball contributed $250,000 to the Little League Urban Initiative Program. The grant enabled Little League Baseball to integrate the Breaking Barriers educational program into the Urban Initiative and expand the reach of the initiative in selected cities. The Urban Initiative will receive additional funding from Major League Baseball as a beneficiary of 2005 Gatorade( All-Star Workout Day proceeds.

The Little League Urban Initiative provides youth with the chance to play baseball where there was once little opportunity. The Urban Initiative identifies urban neighborhoods or communities with adverse social conditions such as a lack of adequate recreational space or trained volunteers, and then creates or renews baseball and softball programs in those areas.

Breaking Barriers is a multi-curricular character education program developed by Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Trust and Scholastic, Inc. Using baseball as a metaphor for life, the Breaking Barriers curriculum is based on the values demonstrated by the late Jackie Robinson, who broke the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947. The program's motivating, baseball-themed activities reinforce literacy skills, mathematics, science and social history in addition to addressing critical issues of character development, such as conflict resolution and self-esteem.

Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run is the official youth skills competition of Major League Baseball. The program provides youth across North America with an integrated competition recognizing individual excellence in core baseball skills. This year, Pepsi Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run will reach more than 500,000 boys and girls between the ages of 7-14 through more than 3,500 local competitions.

RBI is a youth outreach program designed to promote interest in baseball, increase the self-esteem of disadvantaged children, and encourage kids to stay in school and off the streets. Managed by Major League Baseball in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, RBI programs have been initiated in more than 200 cities worldwide. The RBI Program annually provides as many as 120,000 boys and girls the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

Since 2000, Major League Baseball has contributed more than $1 million to the Little League Baseball International Capital Campaign. Major League Baseball also publishes Little League Magazine, a 48-page, color publication distributed by mail to 1.6 million registered Little League players. In addition, Major League Baseball and the Clubs distribute 400,000 copies of Little League Magazine throughout the summer as part of youth promotions.

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