WASHINGTON - Members of the Gallaudet University baseball and softball programs volunteered their time at Major League Baseball's "PLAY BALL" youth clinic Tuesday night (Dec. 6) held in the Field House.
Major League Baseball (MLB) hosted hundreds of D.C.-area kids for a special "PLAY BALL" event for children, ages 7 to 13, from a variety of local youth baseball and softball groups. Among the hundreds of children were students from Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, a day school serving deaf and hard of hearing students from birth through grade 8, located on Gallaudet's campus.
Gallaudet baseball head coach Curtis Pride, who also serves as MLB's Ambassador for Inclusion, . Pride, who has been deaf since birth, played in 421 Major League games across parts of 11 seasons (1993, 1995-2001, 2003-2006) as an outfielder. The Maryland native finished with a .250 career batting average, 20 home runs and 82 RBI after playing for the Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels.
Pride was joined by Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, fresh off winning the 2016 World Series, along with Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker, MLB Vice President of Social Responsibility & Inclusion Billy Bean and MLB Senior Vice President for Youth Programs Tony Reagins.
"I thought the PLAY BALL event was a success," said Pride. "Seeing all of the kids having fun playing whiffle ball was a joy to watch. I want to thank not only Major League Baseball for bringing the PLAY BALL event to Gallaudet University but I also want to thank both the Bison baseball and softball teams for volunteering their time to help out. It was important for us to give back to the community."
Kids participated in activities that highlight the variety of informal ways baseball and softball can be played. Gallaudet baseball and softball players helped to staff the different activity stations. Participants received a plastic bat and ball to take home as they left.
"I was glad to see my student-athletes playing with the young participants this evening and I could tell how much fun everyone was having," said Gallaudet softball coach Justen Burns. "My belief is to help student-athletes reach their full potential as students, leaders and athletes. The drills performed allowed us the chance to influence young players in a positive way."
Additionally, the Positive Coaching Alliance ran a "parent station" to provide tips and information about youth involvement in baseball and softball. Members of Team USA's national softball team were also participating in the event.
"Tonight was very inspiring and fun working with the kids. Working with the kids reminded myself why I continued my career here at Gallaudet and why I have so much passion and love for softball," said Gallaudet softball student-athlete Emily Walters. "It was inspiring meeting Team USA National team members Jamie Takeda, Jessica Moore and Michelle Moultrie and just hearing their stories about softball and how they helped get softball and baseball back into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan."
MLB's annual Winter Meetings are being held this week at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
Members of the Gallaudet Baseball and Softball Teams at the MLB PLAY BALL Event
Gallaudet University, the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, was founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress (its Charter), which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.
About Play Ball
PLAY BALL is a joint initiative between MLB, USA Baseball and USA Softball. In addition to encouraging participation in both formal and casual baseball activities, PLAY BALL aims to give kids the opportunity to enjoy the game in a fun environment by highlighting the many ways baseball can be played and providing memorable experiences. PlayBall.org is the PLAY BALL initiative's online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com, USASoftball.com and other partner websites. PlayBall.org features youth-oriented content, including baseball trivia and quizzes, and video highlights from MLB games, social media content, photos and a "PlayBall Near You" interactive map that locates local community leagues. The site also features access to video podcasts and highlights from MLB Network's youth-focused show "Play Ball," which features interviews and on-field demonstrations with top players throughout the League. PlayBall.org also links to USABaseball.com, which provides players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper play and instruction, including education videos featuring Hall of Famer and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, and Kansas City Royals Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dayton Moore, among others. Health and safety information, including through the Pitch Smart program, also is available. PLAY BALL is generously supported by Chevrolet and Scotts.