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08/07/2007 12:54 PM ET
MLB International to launch inaugural China Baseball Academy
Elite players from across China to train in Wuxi from Aug. 7-26
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Major League Baseball International (MLBI) and the China Baseball Association (CBA) will conduct the first-ever China Baseball Academy in Wuxi, China from August 7 - 26. The Academy, which will provide professional instruction to elite young baseball talent from across the country, will take place at the Jiangsu Provincial Baseball Field in Wuxi.

The MLBI China Baseball Academy will feature a training schedule aimed at improving all facets of the game for 60 of China's top-rated 12-to-15-year-old baseball players. MLBI and the CBA have selected this year's Academy participants from existing provincial baseball organizations in Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Wuxi.

As Director of the China Baseball Academy, Rick Dell will lead a staff of eight baseball instructors from both the professional and collegiate ranks during the three-week program. Dell, who has extensive experience in the region through his 12 years as Asia Coordinator for the MLBI Envoy Program, served as the Head Baseball Coach at The College of New Jersey for the past 26 seasons.

"The China Baseball Academy provides a structure to both improve the quality of play and heighten the profile for baseball in China," said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. "We are extremely excited to be working alongside the China Baseball Association on this endeavor and look forward to maximizing the great potential of this Academy in the future."

"We are very pleased to be able to work with Major League Baseball to develop talented young players in China," said Shen Wei, Secretary General of the Chinese Baseball Association. "We hope to continue collaborating with MLB to successfully promote the game and cultivate our most talented athletes."

To date, elite players from 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania have attended MLBI Academies in Queensland, Australia (est. 2001) and Tirrenia, Italy (est. 2005). The Major League Baseball International Academy Program is designed to provide promising junior players with both the environment and the instruction to improve their skills in preparation for the rigors of professional and international baseball through four key areas: baseball skills development, physical development, personal development and coaching development. Over the past six years, the Academy Program has seen 115 graduates go on to sign professional contracts with MLB Clubs.

About MLB International
Major League Baseball International (MLBI) focuses on the worldwide growth of baseball and the promotion of Major League Baseball and MLB Club trademarks and copyrights through special events, broadcasting, market development, licensing and sponsorship initiatives. MLBI is committed to showcasing the world's best baseball talent through international events around the globe. Broadcast in 229 countries and territories, Major League Baseball game telecasts are re-transmitted in 13 different languages. MLBI executes and supports game development programs targeting players and coaches from grassroots to elite levels. With an extensive list of marketing partners worldwide, MLBI continues to grow its position as a leader in the international marketplace. MLBI is supported in its mission through presences in Beijing, New York, London, Sydney and Tokyo.

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