Beginning in 2015, Major League Baseball and the United States Conference of Mayors joined to launch the PLAY BALL initiative, which focuses on the sport of baseball and encourages sustained participation in the sport for years to come. The Mayors PLAY BALL Program’s purpose is to reach kids who don’t normally play baseball and strengthen the connection with those who are currently involved in the game. 2021 was a challenging year, as seen in the 2021 Mayors PLAY BALL Annual report, the nation’s mayors used sandlot baseball fun to help America’s youth heal from the pandemic
As we enter our Seventh year of the partnership, we look forward to having mayors help lead the charge in bringing back baseball and softball to cities with 2022 Mayors PLAY BALL events.
Mayors Tip Their Caps to Jackie Robinson
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, Major League Baseball and the United States Conference of Mayors hosted this webinar where mayors shared their stories of how Jackie Robinson’s legacy has impacted their cities.
2022 Mayors Play Ball Campaign
April 15, 2022: Jackie Robinson Day – Tip Your Cap
PLAY BALL Mayors will participate in a special social media activation to show support for baseball and honor the legacy of the first baseball player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier that segregated the sport. Late March/early April, mayors will receive a special PLAY BALL Mayors only cap. Mayors will be encouraged to share their “Tip Your Cap’ photos and videos on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on April 15th, using the #mayorstipJackie special hashtags.
Please use the following hashtag: #mayorsplayballI’m tipping my cap in honor of Jackie Robinson and breaking MLB’s color barrierthat segregated the sport.
Questions about mayor caps or pictures should also be emailed to email@example.com Photos will be included on the website and the 2022 PLAY BALL Annual report.
June 3-6, 2022: 90th Annual Meeting June 3-6, 2022
Look for PLAY BALL at the 90th Annual Meeting June 3-6, 2022 in Reno where Conference staff will introduce mayors to vitilla (pronounced Vih-tee-yah) which is an alternative form of stickball born in the Dominican Republic. Vitilla is a fast, fun way to play baseball with a cap and stick, and games can easily be set up near most city halls and in local parks. Mayors should look out for special USCM vitilla equipment and demonstration games at the Annual Meeting in Reno.
June 10-12, 2022: PLAY BALL Weekend
Baseball teams and their connections to cities are getting a big boost in 2022 with the first-ever National PLAY BALL Weekend. This global celebration will be held June 10-12th. Both Minor and Major League Baseball teams and mayors will host their PLAY BALL Weekend activities on the same three days whether they are playing at home or on the road. Mayors will be asked to attend the event, present a special PLAY BALL Weekend proclamation, and take a group photo
July 2022 – August 2022
PLAY BALL Activations for the 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the Second Field of Dreams Game will be coordinated and hosted by local mayors.
September 2022 – October 2022: Heritage Month
USCM will be coordinating with PLAY BALL cities to receive 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month special USCM vitilla (Dominican inspired variation of wiffleball games) and sandlot equipment kits. Mayoral PLAY BALL events typically engage local youth who don’t traditionally play the sport to expose them to America’s favorite pastime through baseball games and basic skill-building drills. Mayors will invite local youth to visit city hall or a local park for fun sandlot and vitilla games.
For 2022 USCM will continue to distribute special Mayors PLAY BALL Sandlot equipment kits to the cities that request kits for their Vitilla events. Sandlot Kits will include a Franklin vibe ball (special for the Sandlot game), plastic softballs, MLB deluxe 4-Piece throw-down rubber base set, foam baseballs, and PLAY BALL bat & ball sets. We will be sending this in addition to the incentive t-shirts and banners typically sent for local events. We created a special Mayors PLAY BALL Sandlot Activation Guide and hope the Mayors Sandlot events will continue to help reignite the passion for the game both youth and adults may have lost.
Play Ball Sandlot
What is a “sandlot?”
A sandlot is a piece of unoccupied land used by children for games. Mayoral events can be hosted in baseball stadiums, parks or vacant lots which allow for safe play. Baseball games featuring teams of 20 kids (10 infield/10 outfield). Each player will get a chance to bat and play defense. There will be a minimum of 50 youth, while the maximum number of participants can be determined by each city. Please refer to the Mayors PLAY BALL Sandlot Activation Guide HERE.
The first 200 PLAY BALL (USCM Member) cities who register their events with Jared Aronowitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) will receive 2021 Mayors PLAY BALL Sandlot equipment kits.
With the Mayors Sandlot events, America’s youth will be exposed to many new aspects of the sport through informative drills, hands-on instruction and playing games. Mayors are encouraged to engage citizens, families, and their respective city departments to organize a Mayoral PLAY BALL Sandlot event. These mayoral events not only create a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the game, but also serve as an opportunity for physical fitness and to strengthen family and community bonds.