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MLB.com

07/21/2005
Baseball Tomorrow Fund to be recognized for grant to the City of Norfolk
Grant to benefit 200 youth participants from one of the oldest RBI leagues in U.S.

In support of the ongoing commitment from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to increase youth participation in baseball in urban areas throughout the world, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded a $75,000 grant to the City of Norfolk (VA) Department of Neighborhood and Leisure Services. The grant will support the renovation of a softball field at Barraud Park into a youth baseball/softball field for use by the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund will be recognized for its contribution to this project during a check presentation ceremony on Tuesday, July 26th at 11:00 a.m. (EDT). The presentation will take place at Barraud Park in Norfolk. A picnic will directly follow the check presentation ceremony, after which players from the Norfolk Tides will host a baseball clinic for 100 local youth. Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, will participate in the festivities. Bradley will be joined by a number of local dignitaries including: Mayor Paul Fraim; Councilman Anthony Burfoot; Mr. William Foster, President of Townebank - Norfolk and several Norfolk Tides executives.

The City of Norfolk Department of Neighborhood and Leisure Services operate one of the oldest RBI programs in the country. Upon completion of this project, the program will expand to include 9-to-15 year olds, including 100 additional players from the eight local-area middle schools, bringing the total number of Norfolk RBI participants to approximately 200. Justin Upton, an alumnus of the Norfolk RBI program, was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, becoming the first-ever alumnus of an RBI program to be selected first-overall in the draft.

RBI is a youth outreach program designed to promote interest in baseball, increase the self-esteem of disadvantaged children, and encourage kids to stay in school and off the streets. Managed by Major League Baseball in conjunction with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, RBI programs have been started in more than 200 cities worldwide, and annually have provided as many as 120,000 boys and girls with the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is designed to promote and enhance the growth of baseball throughout the world by funding programs, field improvements and equipment purchases to encourage and maintain youth participation in baseball and softball. Since its inception in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded grants totaling more than $8.5 million benefiting nearly 100,000 youth participating in more than 170 youth baseball and softball programs across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Europe. For more information visit www.baseballtomorrowfund.com.