Twelve youth baseball and softball teams representing various organizations, including one founded by Marlins manager Don Mattingly, will participate in the ninth annual All-Star Youth Classic during next month’s MLB All-Star Week in Miami.
The friendly round-robin tournament will feature more than 140 baseball and softball players, ages 11-12, participating in games on July 7-10 at Grapeland Park and Fern Isle Park in Miami. They will also attend the 88th Major League All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 11 at Marlins Park as well as several other All-Star Week events.
“We are looking forward to hosting these young men and women in Miami for the All-Star Youth Classic and All-Star Week festivities,” said Tony Reagins, MLB’s senior vice president of youth programs. “Providing opportunities for them to highlight their skills on the field is important, but we believe it is just as meaningful to give them a chance to build lifelong friendships and memories through this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The 12 teams scheduled to participate in the All-Star Youth Classic include several special groups from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For the second consecutive year, an all-girls baseball team — this time the Stamford (Conn.) Sluggers — will compete against the boys.
Other notable teams include Mattingly Charities RBI of Evansville, Ind. Mattingly, who led Evansville Memorial High to a perfect 30-0 record and the Indiana state championship in 1978, founded this youth team as a member of MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. There also will be one baseball and one softball team from the All-Star host Marlins RBI program.
Jackson Park RBI will represent the new RBI program in Flint, Mich., and Puerto Rico RBI will make a showing for the Caribbean. Here are the cities (and national youth leagues) that will be represented at the All-Star Youth Classic:
• Lajas, Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico RBI) — softball
• Columbia (S.C.) RBI — baseball
• El Paso, Texas (Base Play RBI) — softball
• Evansville, Ind. (Mattingly Charities RBI) — baseball
• Flint, Mich. (Jackson Park RBI) — baseball
• Hawthorne, Calif. (Holly Park Little League) — baseball
• Jersey City, N.J. (Roberto Clemente RBI) — softball
• Miami RBI (two teams) — baseball and softball
• Oxford (Ala.) Dixie Youth Baseball — baseball
• Stamford (Conn.) Sluggers — girls baseball
• Tampa (Wellswood Sports Association PONY) — baseball
This annual event used to be known as the Jr. RBI Classic, but last year MLB invited other organizations and renamed it the All-Star Youth Classic.
Participants of the All-Star Youth Classic will have the opportunity to attend other All-Star Week events, including MLB All-Star FanFest at the Miami Beach Convention Center; All-Star Sunday, including the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game; Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Marlins Park; and various Play Ball-related events. Additionally, participants will be exposed to a variety of off-field life experiences, including rooming on campus at the University of Miami and a community service activity.
The 88th Midsummer Classic, at Marlins Park in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.