SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) has announced support for Major League Baseball's "Play Ball" initiative, which focuses on the fun nature of baseball and encourages widespread participation in baseball-related activities. During the month of August 2015, in what is being considered "Play Ball Month" by the USCM, mayors are implementing the initiative throughout cities with the goal of strengthening the connection between communities, especially urban and underserved areas, and the National Pastime.
Mayors across the country will host activities to engage citizens, families, and city departments to organize individual and community-based events (such as playing catch, "running bases" in the backyard, family gatherings, park and recreation activities, business-supported activities, etc.). These activities will be focused on strengthening bonds between families and communities with the game through baseball-related activities.
"Mayors are proud to partner with Major League Baseball to promote the Great American Pastime – baseball -- in our cities," said USCM President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "By sponsoring Play Ball activities in our communities, we will be reminding our young people and their families that this sport is not only fun and easy to play, but also helps to bring our communities closer together. Through the month of August, mayors will be shouting 'Play Ball!'"
The initiative will focus on recruiting a minimum of one city in as many of the 50 states as possible to promote and support Play Ball Month through the activation of a baseball-focused event. Primary targets are cities with Major League and Minor League Baseball clubs, although the initiative toolkit and self-reporting strategy will be electronically distributed to hundreds of cities across the country with the assistance of Major League Baseball.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: "Play Ball is our largest effort of growing baseball and softball at the grassroots level, particularly among kids. The program will emphasize not only organized baseball and softball activity, but also the many variations of the game that do not require 18 players, umpires or a diamond. We are looking forward to working with USA Baseball, Mayors from all across the United States and our partner organizations throughout the summer to encourage participation in the many ways to enjoy the National Pastime and to strengthen our support of traditional styles of play."
Local leaders and citizens will report their activities to http://www.usmayors.org/playball/. PlayBall.org serves as the initiative's online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com and other partner websites. Coaching tips and parent resources will be prominent components of the site. PlayBall.org also gives parents, coaches and kids information on how to participate in Play Ball activities, links to youth-related news and events, and searchable maps to help find local community leagues. Health and safety information, including the Pitch Smart and Play Sun Smart programs, also will be available.
"The Conference of Mayors is committed to strengthening the connection between baseball and our young people," said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. "We are pleased to partner with Major League Baseball to help create a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the game. This new level of excitement and participation will be good for both the game and our cities."
SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors