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Ten Teams Bound for Williamsport and Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (May 19, 2005) – Ten regular-season Little League Baseball teams from cities across the United States are packing their uniforms, bats, and gloves for a memorable trip to the home of Little League International in Williamsport, Pa., to take part in the second annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree on Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30.

Nearly 150 children on teams from urban neighborhoods and communities, along with their coaches and families, will visit Little League International’s 66-acre complex on the side of Bald Eagle Mountain for a weekend of fun, baseball and friendship. Once there, the teams will stay and play at the site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series.

“The leagues that have been invited to the Urban Initiative Jamboree are participants in the overall Urban Initiative program and have volunteers that are committed to providing the positive benefits of Little League Baseball and Softball to the children of their communities,” David James, director of Little League’s Urban Initiative, said. “Along with the national recognition and attention these leagues will receive for playing in the Jamboree, we hope that this will help to provide much-needed local support and resources for each of their respective communities.”

A view from above...Little League Assistant Director of Regional Operations Nick Caringi talks to the teams during the 2004 Urban Initiative Jamboree.

Participating in the Jamboree will be Little League programs from the following cities: Gary, Ind. (Gary Midtown Little League); Newark, N.J. (St. Francis Xavier Little League); Tampa, Fla. (Northwest Little League); The Bronx, N.Y. (Parkchester Little League); Atlanta (Ben Hill Little League); Meriden, Conn. (Jack Barry Little League); Houston (Dixie Little League); Los Angeles (City of Angels Little League); Whiteriver, Ariz. (White Mountain Apache Little League); and Harrisburg, Pa. (Harrisburg American Little League). The specific regular season team from each league was chosen by that league’s board of directors.

The teams participating are: The Ben Hill Braves (Atlanta); The Meriden Elks (Meriden); Cubs (Houston); Cardinals (Tampa); Trojans (Los Angeles); Wildcats (The Bronx); Mets (Gary); HBG Senators (Harrisburg); Daily’s Catering (Newark); and a team from the White Mountain Apache Little League (Whiteriver).

Former Major Leaguer Dave Winfield, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2001, will attend the Jamboree’s opening ceremony on May 27. Mr. Winfield will address the participants, parents, and fans at 7:30 p.m. in Howard J. Lamade Stadium, site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series. There is no admission charged for any of the Jamboree events.

“It’s a great thing to watch kids play and participate,” Mr. Winfield, vice president and senior advisor of the San Diego Padres, said. “I was pleased to learn that a worldwide organization like Little League is doing something about getting children of color to play baseball. I am pleased to get the opportunity to come to Williamsport, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the Urban Initiative Jamboree.”

The Urban Initiative is a vigorous attempt to provide access to the Little League program to boys and girls within urban communities. The teams attending the Jamboree have reaped the benefits of Little League’s commitment to revitalize baseball in urban areas and now will have a chance to relish this renewal by playing on the fields where Little League Baseball’s champion is crowned each year.

A group of Little Leaguers pay close attention to the action during the 2004 Urban Initiative Jamboree.

On Aug. 24, 2003, during the Little League Baseball World Series, Major League Baseball announced it would provide a grant of $250,000 for the Urban Initiative. Part of that grant will be used to fund the Jamboree, and will enable Little League to present MLB’s “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life” educational program to the visiting teams. Breaking Barriers is an initiative created and operated for Major League Baseball by Sharon Robinson, daughter of the late Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in half a century.

The Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree will consist of games, instruction, and other events. Although scores will be kept in the games, no champion will be declared.

Little League International is paying the costs for transporting the ten teams, plus dozens of adult volunteers and parents. Housing for three nights, plus meals, will be provided for the teams in the Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, where Little League Baseball World Series teams live for two weeks each August.

More information on the Little League Urban Initiative is available at: http://www.littleleague.org/programs/urban.asp

The 2005 Urban Initiative Jamboree Teams
League City Team  
Jack Berry Little League Meriden, Conn. Elk Club Team Profile
Northwest Little League Tampa, Fla Cardinals Team Profile
Ben Hill Little League Atlanta, Ga. Ben Hill Braves Team Profile
City Of Angels Little League Los Angeles, Calif. Trojans Team Profile
Dixie Little League Houston, Texas Cubs Team Profile
White Mountain Apache Little League White River, Ariz. White Mountain Apache Team Profile
Gary Midtown Little League Gary, Ind. Mets Team Profile
Parkchester Little League New York, N.Y. Wildcats Team Profile
Harrisburg American Little League Harrisburg, Pa. Senators Fan Club Team Profile
St. Francis Xavier Little League Newark, N.J. Daily’s Catering Team Profile