Returning Baseball To The Inner City
Two years ago, Don Mattingly reached out to local non-profits in an effort to form a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) to start a Mattingly RBI league in Evansville.
Don's foundation, Mattingly Charities, identified the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club as the two leading organizations that could help encourage inner city youth in Evansville to play baseball. The partnership with Mattingly RBI has grown to serve over 300 youth in two leagues, one run by the YMCA and a second at the Boys & Girls Club.
Mattingly Charities, MLB, and Pitch in for Baseball provided the equipment, entry fees, and uniforms for the leagues. The YMCA and Boys & Girls Club provided staffing, transportation, coordination, and recruitment of players.
YMCA youth participated at both locations, and one such player was a young man named Teddy. Teddy, due to a physical disability, had not been able to play on a baseball team. From the first throw, all this young man wanted was to be like everyone else, including turning down the offer to have a pinch runner.
More impressive was his team, who supported him 100%, even if at times it meant an "out" for the team. This was quite the curve ball for most of the coaches and parents in the stands, whose typical inclination was to do whatever it takes to win.
Our youth reminded everyone that baseball was not about winning and losing but about "how" they play the game.
More impressive was his team, who supported him 100%.
The Y is known for teaching youth the importance of character, but this time, even the adults and players on the other teams received a life lesson.
FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT®
FOR HEALTHY LIVING
FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Teddy's guardian has shared on a number of occasions that he had always wanted him to play a real sport and be able to compete with others. He had come to grips that his grandchild might never get the chance to compete and be normal like other kids, but the RBI league allowed his hopes and dreams for Teddy to come true.
Because of Mattingly Charities and donors like you, the YMCA was able to provide the opportunity for Teddy and his grandparents to fulfill their own "Field of Dreams".
- Sean Kuykendall
YMCA Community Outreach