Noticing the dwindling number of children from inner city areas involved with baseball, the Phillies decided to take action and created the Phillies Jr. RBI League program in 1989. Geared toward children aged 12 and under in areas that had not housed an organized baseball league in almost 20 years, the Jr. RBI Leagues benefited 400 children. Since that time the program has grown to encompass over 6,000 children playing both baseball and softball in more than 50 locations throughout Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
Jr. RBI employs a noncompetitive nature where children learn that winning is not the most important aspect of the game. Instead, they are encouraged to learn the rules, proper techniques and to have fun while being a good teammate and displaying good sportsmanship. The Phillies Jr. RBI program is sponsored by Citizens Bank The Phillies RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program began in 1993 as a part of Major League Baseball's international RBI campaign, which today encompasses more than 200 cities and as many as 120,000 male and female participants a year.
The RBI Leagues focus on baseball and softball instruction and also have a competitive nature. Participants have the opportunity to capitalize on their learned skills during true game situations. In addition to the traditional RBI Leagues, the program supports three All-star teams - a Junior (13-15 years) and Senior (16-18 years) boys baseball team and a girls softball team (15-18 years). These teams travel and compete in MLB sponsored local and regional RBI competitions for the opportunity to play in the RBI World Series held each year in August.
The RBI Leagues are sponsored by Turkey Hill.
Chase Utley is in his 10th year as the Jr. RBI/RBI Chairman.
Each year, members of the Phillies Jr. RBI and RBI Leagues are invited to Citizens Bank Park to take part in the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth), a public awareness campaign developed by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in 2004 to combat child obesity. Through a series of fitness programs at all 30 MLB ballparks, PLAY was designed to encourage youth throughout the country to be active, eat right and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Phillies trainers teach participants how to stretch and warm-up their bodies and run them through a number of exercise used by the Phillies players. The participants are also told the importance of exercise and eating properly.
The Phillies host annual coaching clinic for local Jr. RBI/RBI coaches and volunteers and numerous player clinics for the children participating in the Jr. RBI/RBI. The clinics are run by members of the Phillies Front Office.
During every home game fans can donate new and gently used gloves at the Citizens Bank Kiosk to benefit members of the Phillies Jr. RBI Leagues. Jr. RBI gives children 12 and under from disadvantaged areas the opportunity to play baseball and softball.
Each year the Phillies provide tickets to the children and coaches of the RBI/Jr. RBI Leagues. Many of the children have never been to a professional baseball game and this helps motivate them to continue to play the game they love.
The Phillies appreciate the commitment of each Jr. RBI/RBI League leader and coach. Their dedication helps children from their neighborhoods play baseball and softball. In recognition for their efforts, the Phillies invite league leaders to a Phillies game and Rooftop dinner party and honor a Jr. RBI/RBI Coach of the Year. In addition, Jr. RBI League sponsor Citizens Bank and RBI League sponsor Turkey Hill are presented with a token of appreciation from members of the Jr. RBI League during a special on field presentation.
Citizens Bank annually hosts Jr. RBI participants in July for an exclusive "Day at the Park" event at Citizens Bank Park. During this year's event, Jr. RBI players enjoyed playing the Games of Baseball, were able to run the bases and participated in a self-guided tour into the Phillies dugout and clubhouse.
A select baseball team made up of members from different teams in the Phillies Junior RBI intercity league compete in a game against an All-Star team from the Boys & Girls Club of Reading. In 2015 the Philadelphia team will host the Reading team at the Urban Youth Academy fields.
Out of the RBI Leagues, three All-Star teams - a Junior (13-15) and Senior (16-18) Baseball team and a Softball team are selected to compete in MLB's RBI tournaments.
The RBI Softball and Baseball teams participated in the RBI Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
Both the senior boys baseball team and the girls softball team finished the tournament 2-2 after playing teams from Reading, Baltimore, Harrisburg, Prince Georges County and Durham, NC (baseball).
The Junior RBI All-Star baseball team earned a trip to the championship game against Prince George County at Baysox Stadium in Bowie, MD, but came short losing 6-5 in extra innings.
If you are interested in learning more about the Phillies RBI Leagues or to see if your organization qualifies, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-463-1000.