Launched in 2008, "Play Baseball Detroit" is a comprehensive urban youth baseball outreach program dedicated to expanding and strengthening youth baseball and softball programs in the greater Detroit community. The multi- faceted program includes equipment collections, school rallies, youth clinics and a competitive tournament to encourage and develop our region's young athletes into the baseball stars of tomorrow.
Each year the Detroit Tigers celebrate the Play Baseball Detroit Program with a special day at the ballpark featuring an on-field ceremony with youth ballplayers from Play Baseball Detroit programs, including Tiny Tigers, Baseball FUNdamentals, Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and Team Tigers. The 2013 ceremony featured the 2013 Team Tigers Coach of the Year, Darryl Smith of the Incredible Baseball Academy, and the 2013 Champions Award Winner, Sam Crowder of the Barney McCosky Baseball League. The Team Tigers Coach of the Year award recognizes a Team Tigers Coach for their dedication and commitment to youth baseball or softball. The Champions Award recognizes an individual for their longstanding dedication and profound impact on the game of baseball/softball. Both coaches received a $1,000 donation presented by Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter to honor their impressive work and commitment to the game of baseball.
Thousands of young t-ball, baseball and softball players in the metro Detroit area participate in 'Team Tigers', a free online registration and rewards program that helps strengthen and expand baseball and softball programs in our area.
Join 'Team Tigers' and your baseball or softball team will receive special 'Team Tigers' wristbands, a resource manual provided by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and the opportunity to apply for youth baseball/softball equipment, Major League coaching instruction, and complimentary Tigers tickets!
The youngest members of Play Baseball Detroit are the Tiny Tigers. 'Tiny Tigers' is a tee ball and junior baseball program in partnership with the Think Detroit PAL for children ages 4-8. Since its inception in 2008 nearly 3,000 children have enrolled in the Tiny Tigers program.
At a time when health studies indicate that physical activity among young children is on the decline, the Detroit Tigers are working to put children on the path to a healthy future by promoting the game of baseball and encouraging students to join a Detroit area summer baseball/softball program.
Baseball FUNdamentals is the educational arm of "Play Baseball Detroit" that combines interactive Middle School Rallies, School Skills Clinics, and Community Clinics designed to create excitement and teach the fundamentals of the game.
2013 marked the 19th year of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship (formally known as the Hometown World Series). The Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship is a four day baseball and softball tournament that serves nearly 1,000 children ages 8-19. The Championship is funded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation in partnership with the Youth Development Commission, and the City of Detroit Parks & Recreation Department.
The 2013 Championship included an Opening Ceremony, complete with Boy Scouts of America Color Guard, Detroit Renaissance High School Drumline and a ceremonial first pitch thrown out by City of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. In addition, the Championship included a Community Fun Day complete with face painting, bounce houses, arts, crafts, and train rides.
2013 Winners of the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship included:
Founded in 2002, Willie Horton's Batting for Kids is a youth baseball clinic and skills competition that focuses on enhancing the lives of children by improving their self-esteem and increasing their personal commitment to achievement. Held at Comerica Park for children 5-15, Willie Horton's Batting For Kids gives children the opportunity to showcase their talent by running bases, hitting in the underground batting cages and throwing baseballs for strikes. In addition, children receive baseball tips on the field where major leaguers play. Willie Horton's Batting For Kids is hosted in partnership with Don Bosco Hall, a private non-profit agency that provides supportive human services to enhance the quality of life for children and their families residing in the Metro Detroit-Wayne County Community.
On Saturday, April 6 the Cass Tech High School and Holland High School baseball and softball team's received $10,000 to support their programs thanks to Comerica Bank.
The students were honored in a special pre-game, on-field ceremony featuring Tigers outfielder, Andy Dirks, and one coach from each team threw out a ceremonial first pitch, before sixty representatives of the baseball and softball programs enjoyed a Tigers game.
The Comerica Bank Grand Slam Grant program was created in 2011 to help public high schools in Michigan create, expand or improve a baseball or softball program. Past winners include Kalamazoo Central High School, Lincoln Park High School and Detroit Renaissance High School.
Everyone was all smiles at the 2013 Detroit Tigers Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids, a camp designed to provide youth with special needs the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball with the Detroit Tigers. Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera, pitcher Phil Coke, Conditioning Coach Javair Gillett and bullpen catcher Scott Pickens worked with fifty players from the Miracle League of Michigan to improve their baseball skills and share their love for the game. The event was sponsored by Jeremy Flug, Founder of Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids and the Miracle League of Michigan.
Youth ballplayers from Detroit and the surrounding communities were invited to Comerica Park for a day of fun for P.L.A.Y Campaign, a program of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. The program promotes healthy living by teaching children the importance of staying fit, being active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Detroit Tigers Head Athletic Trainer Kevin Rand and his staff hosted nearly 100 children during the on-field clinic where youth rotated to different stations each featuring a lesson related to healthy living. Participants learned agility drills and stretching techniques, discussed the dangers of performance enhancing drugs with Brian Purdy of the Taylor Hooton Foundation and received wellness tips from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.