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, and Team Tigers. The 2014 ceremony featured the 2014 Team Tigers Coach of the Year, Crystal Hurlbert of the Clinton Valley Little League Challenger Baseball, and the 2014 Champions Award Winner, Garrett Street of the Legends League. 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. Both coaches received a $1,000 donation presented by Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez to honor their impressive work and commitment to the game of baseball.
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.
2014 marked the 19th year of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship (formally known as the Hometown World Series). The Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship is a seven day baseball and softball tournament that serves nearly 1,200 children ages 6-19. The Championship is funded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation an affiliate of Ilitch Charities in partnership with the Youth Development Commission, and the City of Detroit Parks & Recreation Department.
The Championship included three spectacular opening day ceremonies, complete with Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scout Color Guards, local drum lines and marching bands and ceremonial first pitches thrown by Detroit City Councilmen Scott Benson, Andre Spivey, and James Tate. In addition, the Championship included a community fun day featuring Nickelodeon's World Wide Day of Play, a boys high school showcase hosted by Wayne State University, a girls softball clinic hosted by U of D Mercy, a Skills Challenge Competition and a Home Run Challenge hosted by Henry Ford Community College.
2014 Winners of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship included:
Founded in 2002, Willie Horton's Batting for Kids is a youth baseball clinic and skills competition that focuses on enhancing the lives of children by improving their self-esteem and increasing their personal commitment to achievement. The 2014 Willie Horton's Batting for Kids took place at Comerica Park and hosted over 450 Detroit area youth age 5-15 in a youth development, baseball skills competition promoting the enrichment of youth and recreational sports.
The Baseball Challenge provided an opportunity for youth to showcase their abilities as well as learn new skills during a free, fun-filled day at Comerica Park. Participating youth competed for awards in three different skill areas including batting, throwing and base running. The top boy and girl in each age division will be recognized during the on-field ceremony.
In addition, children receive baseball tips on the field where major leaguers play. Willie Horton's Batting For Kids is hosted in partnership with Don Bosco Hall, a private non-profit agency that provides supportive human services to enhance the quality of life for children and their families residing in the Metro Detroit-Wayne County Community.
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.
Everyone was all smiles at the 2014 Detroit Tigers Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids, a camp designed to provide youth with special needs the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball with the Detroit Tigers. Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera, pitcher Joba Chamberlain, and pitcher Eugenio Suarez worked with fifty players from the Miracle League of Michigan to improve their baseball skills and share their love for the game. The event was sponsored by the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities through the generosity of Jeremy Flug, Founder of Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids and the Miracle League of Michigan.
Youth ballplayers from Detroit and the surrounding communities were invited to Comerica Park for a day of fun for P.L.A.Y Campaign, a program of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. The program promotes healthy living by teaching children the importance of staying fit, being active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, Head Athletic Trainer Kevin Rand and his staff hosted nearly 100 children during the on-field clinic where youth rotated to different stations each featuring a lesson related to healthy living. Participants learned agility drills, stretching techniques and had a question and answer session with Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer.