FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 8, 2011
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL INTERNATIONAL HOSTING ELITE CAMP
THROUGH DECEMBER 15 IN SOUTH AFRICA
Major League Baseball International (MLBI) is holding an African Elite Camp in Cape Town, South Africa for 40 of Africa’s top young baseball players. Coaches from each participating nation, including Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, are also on hand to learn from the experienced MLB staff.
The camp is taking place at the Athlone A’s Baseball Club, home to one of the South African Baseball Union’s Intensive Training Centres which serves over 400 players. The new indoor facility at the complex, which features batting cages, pitching mounds and a workout facility, was made possible through a Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant of more than $200,000 awarded in March 2010. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a joint initiative of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association designed to promote and enhance the growth of baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field improvements, equipment purchases and selected program expenses to encourage and maintain youth participation.
“Major League Baseball has already seen that impressive talent can come from the continent – from Team South Africa’s performance in the 2009 World Baseball Classic to the caliber of skill demonstrated by players from Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda who have attended the MLBI European Academy,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. “This Elite Camp will support the development of skilled players across Africa in reaching their competitive potential and we are confident that the talent demonstrated will be substantial.”
“The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is pleased to support the growth and development of baseball in Africa through the Athlone A’s training center,” said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. “We hope the Centre will provide players in Africa with the opportunity to train and further their skills while creating a facility for more young people to become involved in the game.”
Rick Magnante, manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters in the Oakland A’s system, is the lead instructor at the African Elite Camp. He has managed in the minor leagues for nine years, and also was the manager of the South African National Team in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics. Mike Randall, who was part of Magnante’s coaching staff during the World Baseball Classics in 2006 and 2009, Tim Garland and German Geigel are also serving as instructors.
About MLB International in Africa
Major League Baseball International (MLBI) is committed to growing the game of baseball on the African continent. Since 1999, MLBI has coordinated with school systems across South Africa to introduce baseball as a part of the physical education curriculum. The government estimates that as many as 300,000 students are playing baseball in schools as a result of this program. In addition, instructors have provided baseball training in ten African Nations through the Envoy Coach program and a Coach in Residence has been based in South Africa since 2002 to conduct year-round clinics for players, coaches and umpires across the continent. From introducing the game to kids through grassroots initiatives, to targeting elite coaches and players for long-term, sustained development, MLBI will continue to dedicate significant resources to developing the sport in this region of the world.
About MLB International
Major League Baseball International (MLBI) focuses on the worldwide growth of baseball and the promotion of Major League Baseball and MLB Club trademarks and copyrights through special events, broadcasting, market development, licensing and sponsorship initiatives. MLBI is committed to showcasing the world’s best baseball talent through international events around the globe. Broadcast in 220 countries and territories, Major League Baseball game telecasts are re-transmitted in 15 different languages. MLBI executes and supports game development programs targeting players and coaches from grassroots to elite levels. With an extensive list of marketing partners worldwide, MLBI continues to grow its position as a leader in the international marketplace. MLBI is supported in its mission through presences in Beijing, New York, London, Sydney and Tokyo.
About The Baseball Tomorrow Fund
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is designed to promote the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field renovation and construction projects, equipment and uniform purchases, coaches training material and other selected program expenses. Since its formation by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded over 550 grants totaling over $20 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. www.baseballtomorrowfund.com