Local Youth Learn Tips from the Pros at Texas Rangers’ Play Ball Initiative

Photo of Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and local children at the June 18, 2017, Play Ball event.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams visits with local children participating in a Play Ball event at the Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday, June 18, 2017.
Photo Credit: Jarrad White

The Texas Rangers hosted a Play Ball event at their Youth Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday morning, giving local children a chance to participate in baseball-related activities outside the normal confines of recreation leagues and camps.

The Play Ball initiative, supported by both USA Baseball and USA Softball, is the sport’s collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in all types of baseball- or softball-related activities. Play Ball events are MLB’s signature youth engagement activity on the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, including key dates throughout the MLB offseason and into the World Series.

To begin the day, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams read a proclamation declaring the months of June through August as “Play Ball Summer.”

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams reads proclamation at June 18, 2017, Play Ball event at Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams proclaimed June, July and August as “Play Ball Summer” during the Play Event at Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark on June 18, 2017.
Photo Credit: Jarrad White

“Growing up, my dad made sure that we got to play baseball and come to Rangers games, and it became part of a family, an opportunity for our family to come together around baseball,” Williams said in an article posted on MLB.com. “Baseball is such a family sport, so we are really excited today to promote baseball with our youth, and it’s great to see everybody out here.”

Kids rotated through several stations, which were facilitated by Youth Ballpark coaches with appearances by former Rangers players. The children hit balls off tees, went through fly-ball drills, fielded ground balls in the outfield, practiced the correct technique for throwing a baseball properly and took some swings from home plate.

Jackie Stotts, the mother of two children participating in Sunday’s Play Ball event, was one of the many parents on hand Sunday to cheer on budding ballplayers.

“They’re both left-handed and they both want to pitch against each other in the Majors. That is the big dream!” Stotts said.

The event was originally scheduled for June 4, but it was postponed due to rain.

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