Editor's note: the video in the player above is from April 5, 2021.
The Cleveland Indians have announced the establishment of “PlayBall! CLE” presented by Ohio 529, an initiative of Cleveland Indians Charities, which will aim to provide financial support to underserved baseball and softball organizations throughout the Greater Cleveland area.
PlayBall! CLE's stated goal is to "improve the quality of the youth baseball and softball experience, provide access and opportunity for youth, and ensure leagues/organizations are applying consistent best practices."
“We are really excited to rethink our youth baseball and softball involvement in Northeast Ohio,” Cleveland Indians Vice President of Communications and Community Impact, Curtis Danburg said in a statement. “With this new initiative, we will be able to serve more leagues, more than doubling the number of kids we are supporting, while providing educational and financial resources to grow our game among Greater Cleveland youth.”
In order to receive support through the new initiative, leagues/organizations must fill out grant applications and meet the following criteria:
- Accessibility (access to all kids and abilities, financial assistance, etc.)
- Coach/volunteer development
- Registration platform
- Safety (background checks, pitch count guidelines, concussion training, etc.)
The following eight leagues have been selected for PlayBall! CLE's pilot year program in 2021: Tri-League Little League, B Buzz Baseball League, Near West Recreation, West Denison Baseball Leagues, Inc., Empower Sports, Achievement Centers for Children, Miracle League of Northeast Ohio and the Baseball Heritage Museum’s Buckeyes Baseball Club.
“Having the BHM Buckeyes Baseball Club be part of the inaugural year of the PlayBall! CLE program is another step in creating a meaningful partnership between the Baseball Heritage Museum and the Cleveland Indians organization,” Director of Baseball Activities, Baseball Heritage Museum/BHM Buckeyes Baseball Club, Jay Murphy said. “Our goals are the same, creating ways to engage young people to play the great game of baseball. Being part of the program will provide a valuable resource for both parties in continuing efforts to encourage children of Northeast Ohio to be involved with this game.”
Application for the 2022 program will be available in fall 2021. Additional information on the program can be found here.