Launched in 2008, "Play Baseball Detroit" is a comprehensive urban youth baseball outreach program dedicated to expanding and strengthening youth baseball and softball programs in the greater Detroit community. The multi-faceted program includes equipment collections, school rallies, youth clinics and a competitive tournament to encourage and develop our region's young athletes into the baseball stars of tomorrow.
Each year the Detroit Tigers celebrate the Play Baseball Detroit Program with a special day at the ballpark featuring an on-field ceremony with youth ballplayers from Play Baseball Detroit programs, including Tiny Tigers, Baseball FUNdamentals, Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and Team Tigers.
The 2012 ceremony featured the 2012 Team Tigers Coach of the Year, Sean Dowdell, and the 2012 Champions Award Winner, Mario Borrocci. The Team Tigers Coach of the Year award recognizes a Team Tigers Coach for their dedication and commitment to youth baseball or softball. The Champions Award recognizes an individual for their longstanding dedication and profound impact on the game of baseball/softball.
On Tuesday, May 14 Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter paid a surprise visit to the Franklin Middle School in Wayne, Michigan for a special pep rally as a part of the Tigers Play Baseball Detroit Program to encourage participation in youth baseball and softball programs among youth in our region. Hunter spoke about his life growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and how he prepares himself to succeed on the field, and in life. Hunter encouraged the kids to get involved in their communities, be active in sports, and find what their passions and strengths are..Then Hunter posed for a photo with the youth baseball and softball players in the audience before returning to Comerica Park for that night's game against the Astros.
Play Baseball Detroit Community Clinics help little league baseball and softball organizations develop stronger programs in their communities and recruit new players to the game. It also gives the players an opportunity to improve their baseball and softball skills through physical fitness, strength and conditioning and hitting drills.
Thousands of young t-ball, baseball and softball players in the metro Detroit area participate in 'Team Tigers', a free online registration and rewards program that helps strengthen and expand baseball and softball programs in our area.
Join 'Team Tigers' and your baseball or softball team will receive special 'Team Tigers' wristbands, a resource manual provided by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and the opportunity to apply for youth baseball/softball equipment, Major League coaching instruction, and complimentary Tigers tickets!
The youngest members of Play Baseball Detroit are the Tiny Tigers. 'Tiny Tigers' is a tee ball and junior baseball program in partnership with the Think Detroit PAL for children ages 4-8. Since its inception in 2008 nearly 3,000 children have enrolled in the Tiny Tigers program.
At a time when health studies indicate that physical activity among young children is on the decline, the Detroit Tigers are working to put children on the path to a healthy future by promoting the game of baseball and encouraging students to join a Detroit area summer baseball/softball program.
Baseball FUNdamentals is the educational arm of "Play Baseball Detroit" that combines interactive Middle School Rallies, School Skills Clinics, and Community Clinics designed to create excitement and teach the fundamentals of the game.
2012 marked the 16th year of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship (formally known as the Hometown World Series). The Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship is a four day baseball and softball tournament that serves nearly 750 children ages 6-19. The Championship is funded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation in partnership with the Youth Development Commission, and the City of Detroit Parks & Recreation Department.
The 2012 Championship included an Opening Ceremony, complete with Boy Scouts of America Color Guard, Kold Genesis Percussion Drumline, a parade of teams, National Anthem, several songs performed by the Cass Tech Marching Band, and a ceremonial first pitch thrown out by FOX Sports Detroit Analyst Rod Allen. In addition, the Championship included a Community Fun Day complete with face painting, bounce houses, arts, crafts, and train rides.
2012 Winners of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship included:
Founded in 2008, Willie Horton's Batting for Kids is a youth baseball clinic at Comerica Park for Detroit area youth, ages 5-15 that focuses on improving the lives of children through sports. The baseball skills competition is hosted in partnership with Don Bosco Hall, a private non-profit agency that provides supportive human services to enhance quality of life for children and their families residing in the Metro Detroit-Wayne County Community.
Willie Horton's Batting for Kids gives children the opportunity to run the bases at Comerica Park, hit in the batting cages, and receive baseball tips on the field.
Each participant received an event t-shirt, baseball souvenir, breakfast provided by McDonald's, and lunch provided by Ball Park Brands, Pepsi and Frito Lay. The goal of Willie Horton's Batting for Kids is to improve self-esteem and increase our children's commitment to education and personal achievement.
More than 100 volunteers were on hand to assist in the day's clinic. Volunteer organizations included members of the Detroit Division of the F. B.I., McDonald's, the Wayne State University Baseball team, the Detroit Medical Center and Medical Weight Loss Clinic.
On Saturday, April 6 the Cass Tech High School and Holland High School baseball and softball team's received $10,000 to support their programs thanks to Comerica Bank.
The students were honored in a special pre-game, on-field ceremony featuring Tigers outfielder, Andy Dirks, and one coach from each team threw out a ceremonial first pitch, before sixty representatives of the baseball and softball programs enjoyed a Tigers game.
The Comerica Bank Grand Slam Grant program was created in 2011 to help public high schools in Michigan create, expand or improve a baseball or softball program. Past winners include Kalamazoo Central High School, Lincoln Park High School and Detroit Renaissance High School.
Everybody was all smiles at the 2012 Detroit Tigers Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids. Fifty players from the Miracle League of Michigan arrived ready to play ball and sharpen their playing skills with Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera, pitcher Jose Valverde, Strength and Conditioning Coach Javair Gillett as well as FOX Sports Detroit broadcaster and former Tigers Outfielder, Rod Allen. Similar to major league fantasy camps and clinics, the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids gives youth with special needs the opportunity to improve their baseball skills and play the game of baseball. The event was sponsored by Jeremy Flug, Founder of Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids and the Miracle League of Michigan.
Youth baseball players from Detroit and the surrounding communities were invited to Comerica Park for a day of fun as part of a league wide initiative for Major League Baseball. Hosted by Detroit Tigers Head Athletic Trainer Kevin Rand and his staff, participants took part in the P.L.A.Y. (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity among Youth) Campaign, a program of the professional Baseball Athletic Trainers society and the Taylor Hooton Foundation. The program promotes healthy living by teaching children the importance of staying fit, being active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent childhood obesity. The event also features a session with Kyle Purdy of the Taylor Hooton Foundation on the harmful effects of steroids and performance enhancing substances.
During the event, youth rotated to five different stations featuring an instructional lesson on healthy living, injury prevention, agility drills, stretching techniques, a session with Taylor Hooton Foundation on the dangers of using performance enhancing drugs, as well as a station with Tigers pitcher Doug Fister sharing his personal experience with fitness and how he stays healthy year-round.