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Indianapolis Indians pledge to help inner city youth baseball

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Wednesday the Indianapolis Indians baseball team announced a new effort to help bring baseball and softball to inner city kids.

The team pledged $100,000 over five years to those youth sports.

The funds are going to ‘Playball Indiana’ the local chapter of the nationwide organization called Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI).

The group sponsors teams across central Indiana, especially in areas where kids might not have the opportunity to play.

James Long said the field at Forest Manor Park where his daughters play softball could use some help from the Indians.

“It’s great ,” Long said, “I found out that the major leagues helped sponsor RBI and now to find out that our hometown Indians are helping too, that’s just great.”

“It’s about accessibility and we think that investing in ‘Playball Indiana’, sprucing up some of those fields, neighborhoods, communities, we really think that’s an important part of what we’re going to be able to do,” Indians General Manager Randy Lewandowski said.

The field is sponsored by ‘Playball Indiana’ which is a local chapter of RBI.

That organization strives to get inner city kids access to baseball and softball.

It’s something Long said makes a huge difference.

“That’s a lot for a kid, to wake up each morning, have somewhere to go instead of just out on the streets, what am I going to get into today,” he said.

And national trends show fewer kids are playing baseball and softball.

That’s something the Indians hope to change.

“It’s something that we’re passionate about, we’re getting more involved into youth baseball,” Lewandowski said.

The Indians’ commitment to RBI includes facility improvements, equipment and uniforms.

It’s much more to Long, because it’s an investment into his daughters’ future.

“RBI is helping the kids to stay off the streets more or less,” Long said, “You give them a place to play ball and they take that opportunity and run it to the fullest.”