The Play Baseball Detroit Day at Comerica Park is an on-field ceremony designed to help bring recognition and exposure to all of the components of the Play Baseball Detroit program. "Play Baseball Detroit" is a comprehensive urban youth baseball outreach program dedicated to encouraging and supporting youth baseball and softball programs in the greater Detroit community. The multi-faceted program features 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.
Launched in 2008 with the financial assistance of Tigers players, the program continues to be funded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Play Baseball Detroit Day program featured youth ball players from the programs of Play Baseball Detroit 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 his/her dedication and commitment to youth baseball or softball. The Champions Award recognizes an individual for his/her long standing dedication and/or profound impact on the Game of baseball/Softball.
Thousands of young T-ball, baseball/softball players in the greater Detroit region participate in Team Tigers, a free on-line registration and reward program that provides new and growing youth baseball teams resources to help have a successful season.
Attention coaches! Join "Team Tigers" and help your baseball or softball team receive Team Tigers Wristband, resource manual provided by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, award nomination form, 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, junior baseball, and softball program in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan for over 500 children ages 6-14.
Since its inception, the Tiny Tigers program has evolved from one location hosting T-ball for children ages 6-10 to five locations including T-ball, Softball, and Jr. Baseball programs for children age 6 - 14. The program is primarily non-competitive and focuses on fun and sportsmanship. Tiny Tigers has helped build the confidence of players to hit the ball as well as field ground balls, run down fly balls and throw with greater accuracy.
Tiny Tigers Photo Gallery »
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.
Tigers Pitcher Max Scherzer surprised students at Agnes Beer Middle School in Warren as part of Play Baseball Detroit Pep Rally. For this high energy event, the gymnasium was transformed into a miniature Comerica Park and students were greeted by the DTE Energy Squad and PAWS at the door. DJ Bobby Valentino from 98.7 AMP radio spun beats as Buck and Coop pumped up the students. A few lucky students were selected to participate in The Great Base Race a baseball trivia game that tested their baseball and Detroit Tigers knowledge. Students went wild as Scherzer entered the gym, giving high fives left and right to students and staff. After making it to "home plate" Scherzer answered questions from the students and spoke about how playing baseball helped him succeed in school, lead a healthy life and reach his personal goals.
In 2011, as part of the Baseball FUNdamentals School Skills Clinics, members of the Tigers staff and members of the Detroit baseball community taught gym class at 22 select elementary schools in greater Detroit region.
In addition to a day of instruction, each school received a Baseball FUNdamentals Starter Kit including bats, balls, gloves, drop down bases, and a batting tee to allow each physical education instructor to integrate baseball/softball into the schools curriculum.
2011 marked the 15th year of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship (formally known as the Hometown World Series). A four-day baseball/softball tournament, the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship is funded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation for Detroit area youth ages 6-19 in partnership with the Youth Development Commission and the City of Detroit, Parks and Recreation Department. The Championship seeks to showcase the most talented in youth baseball/softball teams in the greater Detroit community.
The 2011 Championship included an Opening Ceremony, parade of teams, National Anthem, Boy Scouts of America Color Guard and a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Detroit Tigers All-Star Shortstop Jhonny Peralta. In addition, the Championship included a Pitch, Hit, and Run Competition and Community Fun Day with face painting, bounce houses and arts and crafts.
2011 Winners of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship included:
TV20 Good Sportsmanship Award: 12 and Under Blue Jays
"Willie Horton's Batting for Kids" is a youth baseball clinic at Comerica Park that focuses on introducing youth age 5 - 15 to the game of baseball. The clinic 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 youth, and their families residing in the Metropolitan Detroit-Wayne County Community.
In 2011, through "Willie Horton's Batting for Kids" over 400 children had the opportunity to run the bases that Major League players run, hit in the batting cages where Major League players take batting practice, and receive baseball tips on the field where Major League players play.
Each youth participant received an event t-shirt, a baseball souvenir, breakfast provided by McDonalds, and lunch provided by Ball Park Brands, Pepsi, and Frito Lay. Through "Willie Horton's Batting for Kids" participants develop an increased perception of self-worth as well as an increased commitment to education and achievement.
More than 100 volunteers were on hand to assist in the activities. Volunteer organizations included members of the Detroit Division of the F.B.I., McDonalds, Wayne State University Baseball team, the Detroit Medical Center and Medical Weight Loss Clinic.
Funded in part by the Detroit Tigers Foundation since 2008, "Willie Horton's Batting for Kids" has introduced the game of baseball to over 1,600 youth.
Comerica Bank created the Grand Slam Grant in 2011 to help public high schools in Michigan create, expand, or improve a baseball or softball program. This year, with the help of celebrity guest judge, Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch, Lincoln Park High School and Kalamazoo Central High School were chosen as the 2012 Grand Slam Grant Winners. The high schools plan to use the funding toward renovations for their practice facilities which is utilized by baseball, softball, and local little league players.
Everybody was all smiles at the 2012 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Baseball 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 Tigers alumnus 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 games of baseball by participating in a one day clinic hosted by The Detroit Tigers Foundation. The event was sponsored by Jeremy Flug, Founder of Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids and the Miracle League of Michigan.
Gloves for Kids is a community-based program designed to provide area youth with the sporting equipment necessary to participate in organized baseball/softball programs. Gloves for Kids includes an equipment collection day at Comerica Park as well as player appearances in which Tigers players visit ABC Warehouse locations in the metro area to sign autographs for fans in exchange for new or gently used baseball/softball equipment and monetary donations. Equipment collected during the Gloves for Kids campaign is donated to deserving youth teams in the greater Detroit community that are registered members of Team Tigers.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The mission of BTF is to promote and enhance the growth of youth participation in baseball and softball throughout the world by funding programs, fields, coaches' training, and the purchase of uniforms and equipment to encourage and maintain youth participation in the game.
The 2011 recipient of the Gloves for Kids/BTF campaign was Southfield Youth Baseball. Southfield Youth Baseball is an organization dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of baseball to youth age 5 - 12. Their mission is to provide youth from the Metro-Detroit area an opportunity to learn skills, experience personal achievement and practice good sportsmanship and teamwork.
As the 2011 recipient, Southfield Youth Baseball received a $3,000 gift from the Detroit Tigers Foundation (resulting from the donations collected at the ABC Warehouse collections) as well as $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to purchase equipment.
Since 2008, over 3,000 pieces of equipment valued at nearly $60,000 has been collected through Gloves for Kids.