Play Ball

Pirates Play Ball is the official home to all of the ballclub's youth baseball and softball efforts in the community. By supporting MLB's Play Ball initiative, which is built around inspiring everyone to play ball - "however you play ball" - the Pittsburgh Pirates are committed to growing the game in our region and creating opportunities for our youth to enjoy the game. We want your team to be connected with Pirates Play Ball, and we hope that your community will want to be involved.

PIRATES PLAY BALL PROGRAMS:

Team of the Game

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This program was introduced on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, during a special on-field pregame ceremony, attended by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting and President Frank Coonelly. On every home Tuesday during the 2017 regular season, the Pirates will recognize a local youth baseball or softball "Team of the Game" with complimentary tickets, ARAMARK food vouchers and an on-field pregame ceremony.

The players and coaches from the selected youth baseball or softball team will be joined by a member of the Pirates' management team and a Pirates player for the pregame ceremony. A group photo will be taken and each player and coach will receive a specially designed Pirates Play Ball photo frame as a keepsake of the evening.

To be considered for the Team of the Game program, youth baseball and softball organizations should e-mail the Pirates at PLAYBALL@Pirates.com and tell us why your team should be selected. Perhaps you've won a championship, have a player with a special story, participated in a community service activity, reached an achievement, etc. Eligible teams are any youth baseball or softball team within the Pirates' market area, whose players are age 18 or younger. Teams are encouraged to be as creative as possible in their nomination submission, e.g. videos are welcomed! We will post winners' submissions on the Pirates social media outlets.

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Youth Baseball Showcases (with 93.7 The Fan)

Pirates Play Ball and 93.7 The Fan want to see your youth baseball or softball team in action! Parents and coaches - register your team using the link below and we may be making a stop to see a game.

This program is intended to create awareness of youth baseball programs in the city, suburbs, and rural areas and stress the importance of having fun while participating in local youth baseball verses specialized privatization. We also want to recognize youth baseball participants, not just "all-stars" on the field.

Visit here to register your team for the chance to participate.

On Saturday, June 3, the Pirates, in partnership with 93.7 The Fan, surprised the Brighton Heights Athletic Association as part of MLB's Play Ball Weekend. Pirates alumni Grant Jackson and Manny Sanguillen were joined by Pirates mascots, Bucco Brigade members and in-game staff for a Youth Game Takeover.

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Play Ball Event at PNC Park

The Pirates invited kids of all ages to come down to take part in PLAY BALL on Sunday, June 11. There were baseball-themed activities open to the public on Federal Street and on the Riverwalk, with giveaways including Pirates Play Ball t-shirts, along with chances to win other prizes and interact with Pirates alumni, mascots, and Bucco Brigade. Additionally, kids at the game on June 11 had the opportunity to take part in hitting drills at Playground Park.

The Pirates partnered with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball to support the Play Ball campaign in 2015, hosted their third annual MLB-sponsored Play Ball event. The purpose of the youth-driven initiative is to encourage participation in baseball, reminding everyone that there are many ways to enjoy the game of baseball that do not necessarily require two teams of nine players.

In addition to the activities open to the public, a Play Ball event took place on-field at PNC Park for youth ages 7-14, offering instruction and entertainment from Pirates coaches, players, alumni, mascots, front office staff, and more. Youth in attendance participated in fun and engaging baseball activities, received two tickets to the Pirates vs. Marlins 1:35 p.m. game later that day, and had chances to win prizes.

Participants rotated through stations including hitting, fielding, pitching in the bullpen, and interactive games.

Play Ball Event Photo Gallery »

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BucSocial Ball Game

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On Saturday, June 10, the Pirates hosted the first-ever Parents vs. Kids Social Media Ball Game on the field at PNC Park as part of the Pirates Play Ball weekend. Participants won two roster spots (them and their child) through Pirates Facebook and Twitter earlier in the week and had the chance to play with our special guests Josh Bell and Bob Walk.

BucSocial Ball Game Photo Gallery »

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Future Pirates

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Pirates Play Ball teamed up with Dick's Sporting Goods to launch the Future Pirates uniform program in 2017. The mission of this program is to outfit area youth baseball/softball players with Pirates-branded uniforms for their upcoming season. In 2017, Brighton Heights Athletic Association is the recipient of Pirates-branded uniforms for all of their 12U teams, serving approximately 120 youth, a total of 10 teams in three divisions of play. The Brighton Heights players received four styles of Pirates uniforms (gold, black, grey, and white), a different style for each team in each level of play.

Opportunities to be selected for this program will be available on a limited basis for 2018. Check back at the end of 2017 to learn more.

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Pittsburgh RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)

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Pittsburgh RBI is part of the international MLB RBI program. Pittsburgh RBI began in 1994 as part of the Roberto Clemente Foundation. Because of the program's growth and its need for additional resources, Pittsburgh RBI became part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania in 2003. The Boys & Girls Club provides Pittsburgh RBI with the infrastructure and administrative services that are necessary for its success.

In addition to use of the Pirates Community Baseball Center (located at the Shadyside Boys & Girls Club), all Pittsburgh RBI participants receive complimentary coaching and training, as well as baseball or softball equipment and uniforms when needed.

In 2017, Pittsburgh RBI will send junior and senior select teams to the RBI Regional Tournament in Detroit to compete for the opportunity to represent the region at the RBI World Series in Cincinnati.

Our 2017 RBI Communities: Braddock, Brighton Heights, Carnegie, Clairton, Duquesne, East Hills, Homewood, McKeesport, Mount Oliver, North View Heights, Swissvale, and Wilkinsburg.

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Junior Pirates

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The Junior Pirates program started 24 years ago as a cooperative effort between Pittsburgh CitiParks and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is a fun, fundamentals starter program to introduce the basics of baseball to youth ages 4-8 through a series of five stations. With over 1000 participants at 12 sites throughout the City, it is one of the most successful programs operated and organized through the CitiParks' CitiSports program.

All Junior Pirate participants are honored at PNC Park on Junior Pirates Day and given tickets to that day's game, all courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Junior Pirates Day is set for Thursday, June 29, 2017.

For questions regarding eligibility or to participate, contact CitiSports at 412.571.3222.

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EDUCATIONAL AND COACHING RESOURCES:

Instructional Videos

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Learn from the Pros! Check out these instructional videos teaching the fundamentals of the game, taught by your favorite Pirates players. Learn basic skills, drills, and practice techniques.

Pirates Play Ball Instructional Videos

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USA Baseball Online Education Center

Pirates Play Ball has partnered with USA Baseball to offer this Online Education Center to area youth coaches. Our goal is to provide educational resources for all constituents and levels of the game. USA Baseball has produced over 500 pieces of educational content in the last year, one of which is the Online Education Center that provides free online training courses and programs focused on key aspects of the game for all players, parents, coaches, and umpires.

Click here to join and get access to these resources: PiratesPlayBall.education

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Winter Coaching Clinics

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Pirates Play Ball teamed up with Dick's Sporting Goods and Baseball Factory to offer a free learning opportunity for Pittsburgh-area youth baseball and softball coaches. The three-session coaches' clinic, held in January and February of 2017, focused on coaching fundamentals and practice techniques. Attending coaches received complimentary Pirates tickets and other giveaways.

If you'd like to be alerted to the 2018 Winter Coaches Clinic dates, please email PlayBall@pirates.com and include your name, phone number, and your team/league/age group.

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MLB PARTNER PROGRAMS:

MLB Pitch, Hit & Run

Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run (PHR) is an exciting baseball/softball skills competition that provides boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, the opportunity to showcase their pitching, hitting and running abilities.

Boys and girls in all 50 states and beyond have the opportunity to compete. Competitions can host boys and girls on the same date and time, but boy and girl winners in each age group will be awarded separately.

PHR participants can advance through four levels of competition, including Local and Sectional competitions, Team Championship events at all 30 Major League ballparks, and the National Finals at the MLB All-Star Game.

There are four levels of competition - Local, Sectional, Team Championship and National Finals

  • Local: Hosted one day in March, April or early May
  • Sectional: All Local winners advance to a Sectional in their area
  • Team Championship: The top scorers are eligible to compete at PNC Park on June 17, 2017
  • National Finals: The top scores nationwide earn an all-expense paid trip to the MLB All-Star Game to compete in the National Finals competition

The official skills competition of Major League Baseball, PHR is intended to encourage youth participation and emphasize the fun element of baseball and softball. All participants must begin by competing in a Local competition, which can be hosted by any organization, league, civic group or set of volunteers in the community. PHR is free of charge to both the participants and the local hosting organization.

PHR is a 1-day event that is easy to administrate and can often be completed in only a few hours. The competition can be hosted on a baseball/softball diamond or any open field. Registered hosts will receive an administrative kit with a handbook, promotional posters, registration forms, strike zone banner, award ribbons, participation baseball cards for all participants, and more information required to host the event.

Ask your local organization about events in your area. For general information, send your name, address, organization and questions to: pitchhitrun@website.mlb.com.

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Baseball Tomorrow Fund

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The mission of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund is to promote and enhance the growth of baseball in the United States, Canada and throughout the world by funding programs, fields and equipment purchases to encourage and maintain youth participation in the game.

Grants from BTF are designed to be sufficiently flexible to enable applicants to address needs unique to their communities. The funds may be used to finance a new program, expand or improve an existing program, undertake a new collaborative effort, or obtain facilities or equipment necessary for youth baseball or softball programs. Applications are provided by BTF and available through the Pirates Community Relations Department.

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is intended to provide funding for incremental programming and facilities for youth baseball and not as a substitute for existing funding or fundraising activities or to provide routine or recurring operating costs or funding for construction or maintenance of buildings.

BTF supports equal opportunity in its grant making. The opportunities that prospective grantee organizations provide for minorities and women will be considered in evaluating proposals.

To learn more, visit baseballtomorrowfund.com and follow BTF on Twitter @BaseballTomorrowFund.

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