MLB Reaches Out to Urban Youth With Breakthrough Series

MLB Reaches Out to Urban Youth With Breakthrough Series

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball (MLB) has collaborated with USA Baseball to sponsor the second annual Breakthrough Series at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. from July 20-23. The event is designed to showcase rising high school junior and senior baseball players from urban areas throughout the United States who have not participated in other travel and high-end tournaments, giving the players considerable exposure.

The Breakthrough Series will consist of instruction and a round-robin series followed by a championship game featuring selected players from among four teams.

"Major League Baseball is enthusiastic to continue our collaboration with USA Baseball and build on the success of the inaugural Breakthrough Series, an important part of our broad efforts to strengthen amateur baseball," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations. "Major League Baseball is proud that the exposure offered by the Breakthrough Series has the potential to expand the academic and athletic opportunities available to our game's promising young players."

"We are thrilled to be partnering once again with Major League Baseball on this initiative," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "On the heels of last year's success, the 2009 Breakthrough Series will continue to help facilitate the growth of baseball in America."

Many college coaches are expected to attend the event to recruit players who demonstrate outstanding potential but who may not have had the opportunity for exposure through other summer events. The tournament will consist of eighty players selected by the Major League Scouting Bureau, the MLB Urban Youth Academy, the Atlanta-based organization Mentoring Viable Prospects (MVP), the Chicago White Sox and USA Baseball. USA Baseball will work with the athletes to facilitate communication between players and college recruiters.

"The Breakthrough Series is an excellent opportunity for kids to showcase their skills in front of professional scouts and college baseball coaches," said Frank Marcos, Director of the Major League Scouting Bureau. "This event has quickly become the premier showcase for inner city youth. The staff of the Major League Scouting Bureau is excited to once again team up with USA Baseball and the Urban Youth Academy for this event."

This year's Breakthrough Series will feature players from 16 different states across the country, making the 2009 event truly a national showcase. USA Baseball will communicate with all of the selected participants leading up to the event, distributing necessary information to both players and parents. Each player's expenses will also be paid for by USA Baseball, an offer made possible in large part by its partnerships with contributing sponsors.

The MLB Urban Youth Academy, which Major League Baseball established in 2006 as part of its Urban Youth Initiative, will host the Breakthrough Series. The academy was founded to foster a passion for baseball among urban youth, ages 8-17, who would not otherwise be able to participate in the sport. Along with week-long camps and after-school programs, the academy provides participants with educational resources through its partnership with El Camino College-Compton Center. The academy also offers opportunities for students to learn about different aspects of baseball including sports journalism, umpiring, field management, and public relations.

For more information on the Breakthrough Series, please contact Rick Riccobono.

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