Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced two significant girls baseball events coming this April and May/June - the second annual 'Trailblazer Series' (April 13th-15th) and the first-ever Girls Baseball 'Breakthrough Series' Showcase & Development Camp (May 31st-June 4th). The events are a continuation of MLB's commitment to growing all levels of the youth and amateur side of the sport.
MLB will host the second annual 'Trailblazer Series' in conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day. Approximately 100 girls, ages 13 and under, representing 21 states across the country as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada will participate in the four-day tournament held at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. from Thursday, April 12th through Sunday, April 15th. The girls playing in the Trailblazer Series, ages 11-13, will be placed onto teams by random selection. Some of the nation's top female baseball coaches and players, including those from USA Baseball's Women's National Team, will coach the girls who are from programs affiliated with AAU, Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken Baseball, Little League International, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, PONY and USSSA, among others.
MLB and USA Baseball are also set to launch a groundbreaking new event specifically designed for the on-field development and scouting of girls baseball players. The Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series (GBBS) is the newest iteration of the existing, diversity-focused amateur development camps operated by MLB, USA Baseball and USA Softball. Taking place at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., the GBBS will serve as an opportunity for on-field development as well as a scouting showcase for dozens of girls, ages 17 and under, from around the country. Participants will receive daily instruction in an environment similar to an MLB Spring Training camp. The amateur development camp effort began as a singular Breakthrough Series event in a joint effort by MLB and USA Baseball to promote baseball as a viable collegiate and professional option for youth from minority backgrounds. The effort has now expanded to several Boys Baseball & Girls Softball Breakthrough Series events, the annual DREAM Series, and the Elite Development Invitational, which is run by both MLB and the MLBPA and is available in both baseball and softball.
Participants of both the Trailblazer Series and GBBS will receive direct insight from coaches and be a part of special discussions with women leaders in baseball. The events are completely expense-free for participants. More details on both the Trailblazer Series and Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series will be made available at a later date.
"Women playing baseball is an important part of our sport's history," said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. "That legacy is also significant to the game's present and future. We are proud to work alongside USA Baseball in creating events that raise the profile of girls and women's baseball. We are committed to ensuring that any young woman who chooses to play baseball, particularly through our RBI programs and MLB Youth Academies, will have the opportunity to do so."
"USA Baseball has prided itself on providing an avenue for women to play baseball through the inception of our Women's National Team program in 2004," said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO, Paul Seiler. "It is inspiring to witness the tremendous growth in participation and popularity of women's baseball in our country; and we are honored to work with Major League Baseball to continue providing fruitful opportunities for any young woman who is passionate about playing the game of baseball."
In addition to the above, USA Baseball's National Member Organizations, which sanction youth and amateur leagues across the country and around the world, reaffirmed their commitment to providing girls opportunities to participate in their baseball leagues. Leaders at AABC, American Legion, Babe Ruth League, Dixie Boys and Majors, Dixie Youth, Little League International, NABF, NFHS, PONY, and USSSA are all working toward growing the opportunities afforded to girls in the game.*SEE STATEMENTS FROM THE LEADERS OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE ENCLOSED QUOTE SHEET DOCUMENT*
The Trailblazer Series and Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series are the latest joint efforts between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball in regards to player development, health and educational resources. The most notable shared initiatives include the 'PLAY BALL' initiative (e.g., FUN At Bat), Pitch Smart and Amateur Development Camps (e.g., Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series and Elite Development Invitational). More information on the Trailblazer Series can be found at PlayBall.org.