BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Days before Orioles’ opening day, the ball club is renewing efforts to bring the game to more children in Baltimore.
Gigi Barnett reports it’s through a program that’s reviving baseball in the inner city.
Some say baseball is still the nation’s favorite pastime, and some boys believe it. They’re part of Major League Baseball’s RBI program, which stands for Reviving Baseball in the Inner City.
Nationwide, the program is more than 20-years-old. And locally, the Orioles are pitching in more than ever by giving balls, bats and gloves to leagues around the area.
“The Orioles bring bats and everything to the field when we need it,” said Daquan Goins, RBI player.
And sometimes O’s players show up, too.
“When you’re 13 and Adam Jones is out there playing catch with you, that’s a special feeling for a lot of kids,” said Dean Albany, Orioles scout.
The Orioles want that feeling to last, so it draws more city kids to the diamond and keeps them safe at home plate.
“Baseball is a spring and summer program,” said William Brown, RBI coach. “Most of the kids get in trouble spring and summer and RBI allows kids some place to go.”
The O’s say RBI is also building its future season ticket holders. Every summer the Orioles invite the younger player to Camden Yards to see the big league players in action.
“They go crazy. Now it might be just because they want popcorn, hotdogs and all that but they love it. And I love it too,” said Todd Henson, RBI coach.
RBI isn’t just for boys. The program is developing a fast-pitch softball league for girls.
The RBI program exists in other inner cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York.