The Pirates Fantasy Baseball Math Program was designed to help students in grades four through eight improve their mathematics skills in a way that's fun and engaging. It utilizes actual statistics from current Pirates players as well as player cards the students create to compete against one another in simulated baseball games and tournaments. The program promotes higher order science, technology, engineering and math skills (STEM) in preparation for math-based careers.
The program debuted on a limited basis in 2011 and Pirates Charities expanded it last year in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Thirteen Boys and Girls Clubs sites and five schools within the Diocese of Pittsburgh implemented the curriculum beginning in February of 2012 and continued with it during the remainder of the school year. A total of 418 students participated in the program, which culminated in a playoff tournament and World Series at PNC Park last June.
Pirates Charities, with the generous support of Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington and his wife Becca, underwrites the cost of the Fantasy Baseball Math Program -- which includes Fantasy Baseball Math classroom kits, training sessions for teachers, program expenses and PNC Park events. The program is open to any public school, private school, or non-profit organizations that operate an after-school program. The Pirates are pleased to announce that more than 1,200 students at 42 different sites are participating this year.
Teacher training took place in early February, and before the end of the month teachers had begun to introduce the Fantasy Baseball Math Program to their students. The official Opening Day for the program is set for Monday, April 8. That's the day when students at all of the sites begin to play against each other in elimination-style tournaments.
Pirates Charities will provide prizes for each site's tournament winner. Then on Saturday, June 1, one team (two students) from each site will take part in the Fantasy Baseball Math playoffs and World Series. In addition, all teams that participate in the playoffs will be invited to the Pirates 7:05 game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, July 9 and the World Series champions will be recognized on the field prior to the game and participate in a ceremonial first pitch.