Major League Baseball is introducing “Wanna Play?”, a new educational initiative that is intended to bring baseball activities to the African-American community.
The above-mentioned program will be launched on June 20, 2009 between 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. This inaugural event is part of the Youth Summit segment of the Gillette Civil Rights Game Weekend, and will feature numerous baseball-related events and presentations by MLB officials. Activities included are; “batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests, wiffle ball games and demonstrations with current Cincinnati Reds Brandon Phillips and Jerry Hairston, Jr., former Reds outfielder Eric Davis and former All-Star and current MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds”. Following the “Wanna Play?” event will be the annual Civil Rights Game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ball Park.
The intention of the event is to inform and highlight everything that is great about the game of baseball, while teaching the young fans the role that baseball played in the Civil Rights movement. Reds second baseman, Brandon Phillips, one of the featured guests of the day discussed the afternoon and its purpose, “With all the interactive activities, ‘Wanna Play?’ and the Youth Summit will be a fun way to expose every kid to baseball. The Reds and Major League Baseball are putting together a great weekend of events surrounding the Civil Rights Game”. MLB executive VP of Baseball Operations, Jimmie Lee Solomon, commented on the afternoon, “The formation of Wanna Play? will highlight everything that is great about Baseball — camaraderie, athleticism and fun,”…. “The Gillette Civil Rights Game serves as a perfect backdrop as Major League Baseball takes this important step forward in expanding our relationship with the African-American community.”
On top of everything else will be an open-forum, question and answer session at approximately 4:00pm. Admission to the Q&A session is free to the public.
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.