USA Baseball, Major League Baseball Surpass Five Million Fun At Bat Participants

Milestone has played integral role in casual baseball participation being at an all-time high

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball and Major League Baseball (MLB) together have surpassed a significant milestone in their efforts to grow the game of baseball at the grassroots level, as the Fun At Bat program has surpassed five million participants across a combined seven countries and territories since its launch in 2017. The efforts of the program have made key contributions toward casual baseball participation currently being at an all-time high, as the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) reported earlier this year that overall baseball participation is at nearly 16.7 million in the United States alone.

Fun At Bat introduces the fundamentals of fielding, throwing, and batting to elementary-aged students during physical education classes in an engaging way while placing an emphasis on character development, functional movement, literacy, and active play. This program is free to participating elementary schools and provides teachers with custom-branded Franklin Sports equipment, SHAPE America co-developed curriculums, and USA Baseball Championship Principles books. Additionally, participating teachers have access to the Fun At Bat instructor’s course to aid in teaching the elements of the program.

“This is an incredible accomplishment for the Fun At Bat program,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “With the help of Major League Baseball, this program has been able to enrich the lives of so many students and grow our great game at the grassroots level. The future of our nation’s pastime is in a great place.”

The rise in both casual baseball participation and the Fun At Bat program has been accomplished through the involvement and support from MLB and MiLB Clubs, as it provides them with a platform to forge new or strengthen existing partnerships with school districts, schools, parents, and students within their local communities. All 30 MLB Clubs have at least one school in their local community that is a part of the program, and 21 of them have engaged with Fun At Bat schools to elevate the experience and provide connectivity through the program to the respective Clubs. This engagement includes hosting teacher trainings at their ballpark, providing co-branded materials on top of the resources that USA Baseball provides, working with participating Fun At Bat schools within the community to promote club-led youth programs or events, and much more. In addition to Fun At Bat’s presence at the major-league level, the program has a presence in 85 percent of the MiLB market.

“This milestone comes at a perfect time as our sport prepares to celebrate PLAY BALL Weekend this Friday through Sunday,” said Tony Reagins, Chief Baseball Development Officer, MLB. “We are proud to work alongside USA Baseball and our Clubs to build a lifelong love of our sport with kids all around the world. Fun At Bat is an integral component of our efforts and we look forward to its continued growth and impact in the years ahead.”

To celebrate the achievement of five million participants in the Fun At Bat program, USA Baseball and MLB jointly hosted a celebration at P.S. 209 The Clearview Gardens School in New York City on June 12. Select speakers, including Reagins, Seiler, and New York City Public Schools District 25 Superintendent Michael Dantona, kicked off the event with remarks about this achievement. Students from P.S. 209 The Clearview Gardens School then participated in a Fun At Bat activation, took a group photo, and had an exclusive autograph session with select New York Mets players.

Each student at P.S. 209 The Clearview Gardens School received Fun At Bat, New York Mets, and Franklin Sports branded gear to commemorate the special day. Additionally, students and their families, along with school and district staff, received tickets to attend the New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres game at Citi Field on June 14.

"Baseball—America’s favorite pastime—and softball, like all sports, help our students develop crucial problem-solving and leadership skills, grow their confidence, and make friends while building a connection to both their schools and communities,” said NYC Public Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. "I am so appreciative of our wonderful partnership with The Amazin’ Mets Foundation, and I’m thankful that our students at P.S. 209 The Clearview Gardens School had fun while making lifelong memories at this exciting event.”

“Franklin Sports is proud to say we have been the Official Equipment Supplier of the Fun At Bat program since its inception in 2017,” says Adam Franklin, President of Franklin Sports. “It gives our brand tremendous pride to team up with two of our longest standing partners in USA Baseball and Major League Baseball in their continued efforts to introduce the game to the next generation of players and fans.”

The Amazin’ Mets Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the New York Mets, funded a $29,000 grant to USA Baseball to support this program and sought out 150 new school partners across the New York City and Tri-State area earlier this year, and ultimately helped the Fun at Bat program to reach this milestone. P.S. 209 The Clearview Gardens School was a part of 150 new schools that joined the Fun At Bat program.

“We are proud to be a part of this incredible milestone for the Fun At Bat program,” said Alex Cohen, President of the Amazin’ Mets Foundation and New York Mets Owner. “Since its inception, the Amazin’ Mets Foundation has been committed to supporting and investing in youth baseball with the hopes of removing financial barriers and creating opportunities that allow athletes of all ages and backgrounds to pursue the sport we all love. It’s been a joy working alongside USA Baseball and MLB in their efforts to grow the game of baseball.”