Last year, Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting hosted the team's first-ever Youth Baseball Summit, focusing on one primary question: how can we encourage and improve youth participation in baseball and softball in our region?
The Pirates have supported youth baseball for many years by providing opportunities to learn and play the game, but the summit reflected a commitment to take the effort to a higher level, which the Bucs have done in 2016.
With the support of fans, corporate sponsors and other community partners, Pirates Charities has been able to raise important funds each year to benefit youth programs that focus on health, fitness and education, to provide assistance to military families and veterans, and to offer support to those fighting cancer.
The Pirates and Pirates Charities partnered with TeamSmile, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Concordia Dental and Dr. Joey Troupe to host free dental and vision screenings for kids.
Local dental professionals and volunteers provided treatment and instruction as more than $100,000 worth of dental work was performed. Eye care professionals also screened vision, and kids in need of glasses received a voucher from Visionworks.
The Pirates hosted a Miracle League Fantasy Camp on July 9 at the Pirates Charities Miracle League Field of the South Hills, with players and coaches bringing happiness and providing a Major League experience to kids with special needs.
Major League Baseball's support for the battle against cancer continues to pick up momentum, and this year the Pirates and their fans were once again heavily involved in the effort with Stand Up to Cancer Night on August 5 and a special superhero-themed event as a part of MLB's Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day on September 2.