Stuttgart Reds, Head Coach Troy Williams part ways / Becomes NY Yankees Scout - http://www.mister-baseball.com/stuttgart-reds-head-coach-troy-williams-part-ways-ny-yankees-scout/
Regional Sports News
Press release European Softball Federation
The Softball Europe Board has been working in the past weeks on the rescheduling of the European calendar, intending to safeguard the health of everyone involved and make room for our sport and its National movements. The board went over the European softball international calendar 2020 and realized it is not possible to play all of the events in the program.
WBSC Europe Softball Division President Gabriel Waage announced that the only events that will run are all European Championships, which are qualifiers for World Cups 2021, and postpone them as follows:
- Women’s European Championship new date is September 20 – 26, 2020
- Men’s European Championship new date is September 28 – October 3, 2020
- U15 Women’s European Championship postponed, a new date will be announced soon
All the other softball international events for 2020 under Softball Europe are canceled.
The only exception is MASTERS, which is scheduled for late October and this event is still on.
Press release Confederation of European Baseball
Zagreb, April 1st, 2020 – The Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) has announced today the cancellation of the European Club Competitions that were scheduled to take place in June 2020 due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Executive Committee took its decision after consulting the LOCs and the National Federations while keeping in mind that health of athletes, officials and all members of the European baseball-softball community must be put above everything else.
The Champions Cup was scheduled to take place form June 2 to 6 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, the CEB Cup from June 2 to 6 in Sénart, France, the Federations Cup from June 15 to 20 in Brasschaat, Belgium and the Federations Cup Qualifiers from June 16 to 21 in Sant Boi, Spain, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.
As for the European Championships that are scheduled in July and August, CEB is closely monitoring the situation with WBSC and no decision has been made yet. The Executive Committee will meet again in the coming weeks to review the situation and make a decision of postponing or cancelling the events.
Press Release London Series
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mitel & MLB Present London Series 2020 has been cancelled.
The decision has been taken in line with the UK Government’s actions stopping public gatherings and the need to focus emergency services resources on combating the pandemic.
While we understand that this news is disappointing, we are faced with an unprecedented situation worldwide and nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans.
We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Ticket holders will receive a full refund, including any ticketing service charges paid.
Press release World Baseball Softball Confederation
LAUSANNE, Switzerland. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced the postponement of this year’s WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup®, WBSC U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup® and WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup tournaments, which were originally scheduled to take place across August and early September, due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following a video conference on Tuesday with WBSC Continental Associations and Local Organising Committees, the WBSC took the decision to postpone the events until further notice out of consideration of player, personnel and spectator health and safety measures against the spread of the coronavirus.
The WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup was scheduled to take place from 11-20 September in Mexico, while the WBSC U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup was due to be held from 23-30 August in Lima, Peru. Mexico was also granted the hosting rights of the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup, which was scheduled for 14-23 August.
Keeping in mind the latest developments concerning the coronavirus, the WBSC will continue to review possible options over the coming weeks, together with the Local Organising Committees and WBSC Continental Associations, to find new dates for the events later in the year.
The remainder of the WBSC 2020 events calendar features the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup and the Baseball 5 World Cup — a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games 2022 — which are set to take place in Mexico at the end of September/beginning of October and December, respectively.
Last month, the WBSC announced the postponement of the Americas and Final Olympic Baseball Qualification tournaments, also to a date still to be defined.
Press release USA Baseball
DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced it will host two online Community Clinics in an effort to support coaches and parents currently enrolled in its Coaches Certification pathway. The free clinics will take place on Saturday, April 4, and Wednesday, April 8, from 12-3 p.m. ET. Registration for each clinic is now open with limited spots available on CoachClinics.org.
The Coaches Certification pathway is a free three-tiered program consisting of ascending levels: “A” Certification, “B” Certification and “C” Certification. All of the levels contain a series of courses that cover topics such as health and safety, creating a positive team environment, recognizing and responding to misconduct, practice planning, game management and skill-specific development.
This program requires the participation in a Community or Regional Clinic in order to obtain a “C” Certification. The clinics are typically held year-round at facilities nationwide in partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and GameChanger, but will be hosted online for the first time ever in 2020. The clinics are run by veteran coaches from all levels of baseball in order to proliferate a culture of continuing education, development and mentorship.
Committed to co-host the online clinics are six coaches affiliated with MLB Clubs. Additionally, coaches from Campbell University, Duke University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Paris Junior College, Swarthmore College and the University of Central Florida will also participate in the clinic.
“USA Baseball is excited to virtually host two Community Clinics as we continue to support the amateur baseball community by delivering free quality educational resources directly to coaches,” said USA Baseball Director of Coaches Education Andrew Bartman. “As we continue to embrace the unprecedented situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to provide alternative solutions to the coaches who are enrolled in our Coaches Certification program so that they will be able to continue enhancing our game for the millions of children who play baseball in the United States.”
Upon completion of the certification, coaches simultaneously satisfy the training requirements set forth by Senate Bill 534 (SB 534) and also begin the process of becoming Pure Baseball compliant. In November 2018, USA Baseball announced Pure Baseball, a zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse constructed in cooperation with SB 534 and the policies created by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. To concurrently become Pure Baseball compliant, coaches need only submit to and pass an annual background check, which can be done at USABDevelops.com through USA Baseball’s service provider, JD Palatine.
For more information on the Coaches Certification program and to begin the courses required to complete certification, visit CoachClinics.org. In addition to this new program, all courses and resources for players, coaches, parents and umpires on USABDevelops.com are available at no cost to users and aim to provide a positive baseball experience for all.
by Bruce Baskin, Baseball Mexico, http://baseballmexico.blogspot.com/
LMB WEIGHS SCHEDULE OPTIONS, LMP FACING SQUEEZE
In the wake of their season openers being delayed at least five weeks due to the coronavirus panic, the Mexican League is considering options for their 2020 schedule moving forward and the Mexican Pacific League’s own 2020-21 season could potentially be affected.
The LMB had planned to begin their season next Monday with defending champion Monclova hosting Monterrey, followed by a full slate of games the next evening. Instead, league president Horacio de la Vega ordered all 16 training camps closed earlier this month while pushing Opening Day back five weeks until Monday, May 11, a date not etched in stone, given the uncertainty regarding efforts to combat the virus or the government’s willingness to allow the LMB to have final say in their scheduling.
With that in mind, de la Vega has been trying to cobble together an alternate schedule that would save the Liga’s original 102-game regular season format, something he’s said he wants to do. However, that adjusted calendar could mean the Serie del Rey possibly concluding immediately prior to the beginning of the Mex Pac’s regular season. In an interview with ESPN, the new league leader said, “In the scenario in which we start on May 11, we’ll plan to be playing 102 games per team and finishing at the start of the Pacific season, that is, around October 12 or 14..that is the current scenario.”
As noted in a Septima Entrada story, the LMB concluded their 2019 calendar on October 2, when Monclova concluded the Serie del Rey with a fourth win over Yucatan for their first pennant since entering the Liga in 1974. The LMP season opened nine days later on October 11. De la Vega says he’s been maintaining contact with Mex Pac president Omar Canizales and hopes to affect the winterball circuit as little as possible, since so many players perform in both loops.
Another area of concern is the Mexican League’s All-Star Weekend, originally scheduled for June 5-7 in Monclova. The event, which includes the Home Run Derby, Double Play Derby and All-Star Game, will have to have new dates assigned to reflect the late start in the overall schedule. “Let’s hope that by May 11, things have improved,” de la Vega told ESPN. “That’s part of the conversations we’ve had with the different federal health authorities and we have many possible scenarios with the intention of moving forward with the 2020 season.”
Meanwhile, Canizales is having to deal with similar uncertainties. A press release issued by the Mexican Pacific League league office in Guadalajara says, in part, “In these difficult times, the LMP is confident that with the efforts of the authorities and the community, this emergency can be overcome. Once this is achieved, our fans can return to enjoy baseball, for which we’ll be prepared to do what the authorities dictate.” The Mex Pac held an Assembly of Presidents meeting earlier in March, where the gathered leaders decided to wait to see what the Mexican league determines regarding an adjusted schedule before moving forward on their own 2020-21 calendar.
The LMP faces a possible squeeze for playing dates if the LMB season bumps up against their own, especially given the desire of both Major League Baseball and the Confederation of Pan American Baseball to have the Caribbean Series played in late January after decades of taking place the first week of February so the tournament doesn’t bump against MLB’s own training camps. The Mex Pac was already looking into revamping their playoff schedule before the coronavirus scare hit and may now be faced with an abbreviated regular season and/or postseason if they have to start later AND finish sooner.
Although Mexico’s baseball writers have been sympathetic with the Mexican League’s scheduling worries, some are calling for the summer circuit to scale back their regular season rather than push ahead with their original 102-game schedule. Puro Beisbol editor Fernando Ballesteros says “a 60 to 80-game schedule would be, from our point of view, the most sensible for the LMB. In fact, 80 is the optimal number of games that several club owners are looking for and to leave it permanently in a long-term project, but this year they did not want to be so drastic and developed the 102 games, subtracting 18 from the 2019 season.”
Ballesteros added that the potential economic chaos in the wake of the coronavirus could make it more difficult for the average Mexican fan to afford to go to the ballpark often enough to make a 102-game schedule financially viable for LMB teams.
TOKYO OLYMPICS, INCLUDING BASEBALL, POSTPONED TO 2021
After weeks of speculation over whether the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan would begin in July as scheduled, whether they’d take place in front of empty venues or be delayed to a later start due to the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced last week that the event will be postponed until next year.
“Due to current conditions and by all athletes, we have proposed to postpone the event for about a year so that they can be safe,” Abe said during a telephone news conference last Tuesday. The International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committee of the 2020 Olympic Games also released a statement that given information made available by the World Health Organization, a United Nations agency, IOC president Thomas Bach agreed with Abe that the Olympics should called called off for the rest of this year and instead be staged in 2021.
Baseball was on the Olympic calendar this summer as a demonstration sport after last being played at the Olympic level during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where eight nations competed for the Gold medal won by South Korea. Cuba took the Silver medal while the Bronze went to the United States. This year’s Olympics field was to be comprised of six nations, including first-time participants Mexico.
The Mexicans qualified for the Summer Olympics on the basis of their performance at last year’s Premier12 tournament, sponsored by the World Baseball Softball Confederation. Mexico won the Group A first round of the competition in Guadalajara by going 3-0 against the United States, Dominican Republic and The Netherlands, averaging eight runs per game while allowing a total of five tallies over the three contests.
The six nations that advanced from Group play then converged in Japan for the Super Round, a round-robin stage in which Mexico won their first three games before losing a pair of two-run tilts to host Japan and South Korea at the Tokyo Dome. Mexico’s 3-2 win in ten innings over the United States on Efren Navarro’s walk-off RBI single in the Bronze medal game on November 17 was enough to punch their ticket to the Olympics. Japan and South Korea, who played in the Gold medal game (won by Japan, 5-3), also qualified for the Olympics. Interestingly, only one Mexican player, outfielder Jonathan Jones, was named to the 11-man All-World Team at the conclusion of the Premier12 while the United States placed four despite finishing out of the money.
Israel also qualified for their first Olympics appearance in baseball after pulling off a surprise win in the Africa/Europe event in Italy last September. Two more qualifying tournaments, an Americas group in Arizona consisting of nations that fell short in the Premier12 (with the winner advancing to Tokyo) and a Final qualifier in Taiwan for the sixth and final berth, have been postponed.
OBREGON, LOS MOCHIS TO CO-HOST U23 BASEBALL WORLD CUP
The World Baseball Softball Confederation has announced the sites of their 2020 Under-23 Baseball World Cup tournament. Obregon and Los Mochis have been tabbed to co-host the event, which will be held between Wednesday, September 30 and Friday, October 9. The selection was somewhat surprising in that while located in the middle of Mexico’s prime baseball hotbed, the two agricultural centers are among the smallest markets in the ten-team Mexican Pacific League (only Navojoa and Guasave have fewer residents) and lack the kind of amenities offered in other Mex Pac cities like Guadalajara or Monterrey, where tournaments of this caliber typically end up when Mexico is the host country.
Even so, there is little doubt that the U23 Baseball World Cup will be embraced in both cities, partly because they rarely (if ever) see global events on this scale but mostly because fans in Obregon and Los Mochis have proven over time that they love a good ballgame. While a schedule has not been released, it’s expected that Group stage games in the 12-nation tournament will be shared between the two cities while Obregon will host later contests all the way through the October 9 final game.
Los Mochis, a city of over 250,000 not far from the Copper Canyon in northern Sinaloa, is home to the Mex Pac’s Caneros, who christened the recently renovated 12,000-seat Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada last October. The ballpark’s 400 million peso facelift included a total redo of the main grandstand, which now includes three levels: lower and upper box seats plus luxury boxes. Along with Guasave’s Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon, the facility is the “newest” in the LMP as the league seeks to modernize all of its playing fields and leaves Navojoa’s Estadio Manuel “Ciclon” Echeverria, which opened in 1970, as the last remaining non-modern facility in the league.
Home to over 400,000 residents, Ciudad Obregon (named after Revolution leader Alvaro Obregon, who later became preident of Mexico) is near the southern tip of the state of Sonora. Like Los Mochis, Obregon is an agricultural hub and is served by an international airport (Los Mochis’ is for domestic flights only). The LMP Obregon Yaquis play in the 16,500-seat Estadio Yaquis, which was completed in 2016 and is considered one of the country’s nicest ballparks.
Both stadiums to be used for the U23 Baseball World Cup are symmetrical: Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada in Los Mochis has 320-foot foul lines with a straightaway center field fence of 400 feet while Obregon’s Estadio Yaquis is 325 feet down each foul line and 400 feet to center field. Players and coaches will have Class AAA-level clubhouse facilities in both venues as well.
Among the 12 nations represented at the U23 Baseball World Cup, four are in Latin America: Besides host Mexico, teams from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela will compete. Asia will also send four national teams from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China while Germany, South Africa, New Zealand and the Czech Republic will round out the field. New Zealand replaced Australia as Oceania’s delegate squad after the Aussies pulled out of their qualifying series. Professional players are allowed to represent teams at the tournament and several Mexican Leaguers are expected to fill out much of the Mexican National Team’s roster, along with minor leaguers from MLB affiliates.
Press release World Baseball Softball Confederation
LAUSANNE, Switzerland. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced that the Mexican cities of Ciudad Obregon and Los Mochis have been awarded the hosting rights of the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup® 2020, which will now be played from Wednesday, 30 September, to Friday, 9 October.
The III U-23 Baseball World Cup will be staged at the 16,000-seat Estadio Yaquis, which opened in 2016 and is home of the Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and the recently renovated Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada, home of the LMP’s Cañeros de Los Mochis. Estadio Yaquis will serve as the main venue, also hosting the Super Round and Finals.
All 12 qualified teams competing for baseball’s world title in the U-23 category have been confirmed:
- Africa (1): No. 24 South Africa
- Americas (4): No. 5 Mexico (host, defending World Champion), No. 7 Cuba, No. 8 Venezuela, No. 15 Nicaragua
- Asia (3): No. 1 Japan, No. 4 Chinese Taipei and No. 22 China
- Europe (2): No. 16 Czech Republic and No. 19 Germany
- Oceania (1): No. 39 New Zealand
- Wild Card (1): No. 3 Korea
From the Americas, Mexico, as host nation, received an automatic entry into the U-23 World Cup and will be joined by the top three finishers from the recent continental qualifier, Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.
The Czech Republic and Germany emerged out of the U-23 European Baseball Championship that was held last August in Prague, with the ‘home’ team finishing first.
Chinese Taipei, Japan and China qualified for the U-23 World Cup as the top three teams of the Asian Baseball Championship last October, while fourth-place finisher Korea was subsequently awarded a wild card.
New Zealand earned the right to represent Oceania after rival Australia withdrew from their qualifying series.
South Africa claimed Africa’s spot in the U-23 World Cup as the continent’s highest-ranked National Team in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings.
Birth of the U-23 Baseball World Cup
The WBSC launched the U-21 Baseball World Cup in November 2014, which saw Chinese Taipei beat Japan in the final on home turf in Taichung, while Korea won the third-place game against Nicaragua.
The U-21 global competition expanded into the U-23 Baseball World Cup in 2016 in Monterrey and Saltillo Mexico. Japan defeated Australia in the final, while Korea beat Panama to win the bronze medal.
Mexico won the second edition of the U-23 Baseball World Cup, which was held in Barranquilla, Colombia, in October 2018. It was the first-ever official baseball world title for Mexico, after the nation defeated Japan in 10 innings in the final, while Venezuela topped Korea to finish third.
Previous U-23 Baseball World Cups have included the top young professional players from clubs affiliated to the Australian Baseball League (ABL), Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), Major League Baseball (MLB), Mexican Baseball League (LMB), Nicaraguan Professional Baseball League, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), in addition to other leagues around the world.
Press Release Major League Baseball
On Thursday, March 26, Major League Baseball presents “Opening Day at Home” – a full slate of 30 games nationally available across various platforms, including digital streaming and social media, creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day. The experience is intended to invite fans to feel a sense of community and unity on a day many were looking forward to while underscoring the importance of staying home and staying healthy.
Spoiler alert: Every team wins on this Opening Day.
Using the hashtag #OpeningDayAtHome, fans can connect with each other while watching their team’s selected game at a set time. MLB’s “Opening Day at Home” event will be available across many of the league’s platforms and partners including MLB’s multiple Facebook pages (MLB/Las Mayores), Twitter accounts (MLB/Las Mayores/Cut4), YouTube channels (MLB/MLB Vault), MLB.com and MLB.tv. Additionally, all games that are part of the “Opening Day at Home” slate will be streaming on the “winning” Club’s respective home page.
“Opening Day at Home” also will be an opportunity for MLB to raise awareness for several worthy charities that are helping provide relief to the most vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic. Last week, MLB and the MLBPA made a $1 million joint donation to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels, in addition to a $30 million commitment made by MLB Clubs to emergency relief for ballpark employees. If so willing and able, fans can contribute toward these charities, MLB official charity Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and additional causes at MLB.com/give.
In unlocking its expansive vault to fans last week, MLB is now offering fans special access to the League’s most unforgettable moments. The entire 2018 and 2019 game archives currently available and free to all fans through MLB.tv. Fans can also access more than 100 full classic MLB games on YouTube including timeless World Series games, memorable Postseason matchups, no-hitters and perfect games. Hundreds of additional games are being added to YouTube in the coming weeks.
Fans can access MLB.tv through their favorite connected devices. For a full list, visit MLB.tv or click here.
MLB’s broadcast partners including ESPN, FOX Sports, MLB Network, SiriusXM and affiliated regional sports networks also plan special programming and content around Opening Day and in the coming weeks. Partners have special access to MLB’s collection of games and memorable moments through its archives.
MLB NATIONAL TV PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS FOR THURSDAY MARCH 26
ESPN: ESPN launches a multi-platform Major League Baseball content initiative this week, highlighted by a Home Run Derby Classics marathon Thursday on ESPN2. The eight-hour marathon begins at 6 p.m. ET and includes encore presentations of the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby and 2015 Home Run Derby events. The telecasts will also stream via the ESPN App. In addition, ESPN MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian debuts a new content series Thursday called “Baseball Fix”, where he reflects on the best classic baseball story per day tied to that date in history. The content will be available on ESPN.com and on ESPN television platforms.
FS1: On Thursday, FOX Sports celebrates Major League Baseball with a pair of World Series classics. Beginning at 7:00 PM ET on FS1, fans can relive Game 7 of the 2016 World Series in which the Chicago Cubs edged out the Cleveland Indians in a thrilling extra-inning victory, taking home its first World Series title in 108 years. At 10:00 PM ET, the Arizona Diamondbacks step up to the plate in Game 7 of the 2001 Fall Classic, putting together one of the greatest late-game comebacks in World Series history, against the New York Yankees. In addition to on-air programming, the MLB on FOX social media platforms will engage with fans through an assortment of planned content such as sharing video from the classic matchups and custom graphics.
MLB NETWORK: MLB Network’s MLB Tonight airs this Thursday at 12:00 p.m. ET, leading into a marathon of memorable Opening Day games beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET with Derek Jeter’s standout performance for the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians in his first career Opening Day in 1996. Clayton Kershaw’s shutout for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants in 2013 airs at 4:00 p.m. ET, followed at 6:00 p.m. ET by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ walkoff victory against the Giants in 2017, which featured Madison Bumgarner’s 11 strikeouts and two home runs. The marathon continues at 9:00 p.m. ET with the Colorado Rockies’ back-and-forth 12 – 10 victory against the San Diego Padres in 2005, and concludes at midnight with Tuffy Rhodes’ three home run game for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day in 1994 against the New York Mets. To complement its programming, MLB Network’s social media platforms will interact with fans throughout the day, and MLB Network will debut the following well-wishes message to its fans everywhere.
SIRIUSXM: SiriusXM listeners can tune in to catch a series of classic Opening Day games on the MLB Network Radio channel that feature standout performances and late-game heroics, plus Opening Day-themed shows with new interviews and commentary from SiriusXM’s panel of baseball hosts and analysts. At 7:00 a.m. ET on The Leadoff Spot, hosts Steve Phillips and CJ Nitkowski interview players and managers about their favorite Opening Day memories. Listeners are scheduled to hear from former Rays first baseman Carlos Pena about his game-winning hiton Opening Day in 2012, former Tigers DH Dmitri Young, who clubbed three homers on Opening Day in 2005, as well as first-year Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who is looking forward to his first Opening Day as a major league skipper. At 11:00 am ET, SiriusXM hosts Mike Ferrin, Mike Stanton, Steve Sax, Brad Lidge, Eduardo Perez and Jim Duquette will share their Opening Day memories. Then, starting at 1:00 pm ET, SiriusXM will air a slate of five classic Opening Day games, which were chosen by fans in a poll conducted on the MLB Network Radio Twitter feed (@MLBNetworkRadio). MLB Network Radio continues to broadcast daily with new content and commentary from SiriusXM’s hosts and analysts.
Press release Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball and EVERFI, the leading social impact education and Official Education Partner of MLB, today announced the widespread availability of the “Summer Slugger” digital education platform to assist some of the 39 million students currently learning at home in the United States and Canada. Parents, legal guardians and teachers can access the program for students at SummerSlugger.com.
Originally created as a first-of-its-kind program to address summer learning loss during vacation months, Summer Slugger is a free baseball-themed and gamified education course focusing on math and literacy skills. Since the program’s launch in June 2017, MLB Clubs have introduced more than 140,000 young people in the U.S. and Canada, ages 8-11, to the program, with thousands more accessing the platform at home.
EVERFI will work closely with MLB Clubs on the direct-to-fan and school & community engagement for the Summer Slugger program. Clubs will have access to their own co-branded course, a special toolkit with creative logos, promotional content and other assets in pursuit of spreading awareness about the program’s availability.
“One constant that remains unchanged amid the current evolving situation is our commitment to promoting student academic achievement and positive outcomes,” said Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Social Responsibility, Major League Baseball. “MLB and our Clubs are proud to assist the millions of parents and school teachers in helping our young people succeed during these challenging circumstances.”
“Our core mission has always been about making education available to students and during this time of crisis we are pleased that so many of our partners have stepped up to the plate to open up their programs to the millions of students and families who are navigating this new learn at home experience,” said Jon Chapman, Founder and President, EVERFI. “This is an extraordinary time for teachers and students and we applaud MLB for ensuring that students continue to receive critical math and literacy skills education in a highly engaging format.”
Summer Slugger contains 36 Series (designed to take no longer than 10 minutes to complete) which cover the following educational topics: units of measure, place value, arithmetic, geometry, spelling, phonemic awareness, vocabulary and comprehension.
Summer Slugger unlocks activities and offers rewards for progress and consistency along the way. Students engage with content that reinforces key foundational and procedural skills while enjoying the freedom and motivation of a digital baseball activity.
Last week, MLB and the MLBPA made a $1 million joint donation to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels, in addition to a $30 million commitment made by MLB Clubs to emergency relief for ballpark employees. If so willing and able, fans can contribute toward these charities, MLB official charity Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and additional causes at MLB.com/give.
Press release TOPPS
The Topps Company and its fast-growing on-demand platform TOPPS NOW today announced one of the most unique, transformative and eclectic offerings in company history: “Project 2020,” a first of its kind effort that combines some of the most iconic cross-generational cards in the company’s nearly 70 year history with baseball, re-imagined by some of the world’s most influential, creative and eclectic artists, cartooners and pop culture influencers.
Some of the notable artists on the list include celebrity jewelry designer Ben Yang…aka Ben Baller; Chicago based designed Just Don, who has worked with Kanye West and Nike on major projects; Mexican American tattoo and graffiti artist Mark Machado, known as Mister Cartoon; Australian Tyson Beck, whose recent resign of the NBA logo in the image of Kobe Bryant became an international cause célèbre; New York native and design artist Sophia Chang and L.A. Based streetwear artist Joshua Vides.
The first two cards, issuing today, include Ben Baller’s Ichiro (2001) and Jacob Rochester’s Sandy Koufax (1955).
Each of the 20 artists will reinterpret 20 cards, representing baseball’s greatest stars from the 1950s to the present day. The cards will only be available for a 48-hour period from the time each is introduced.
“When we think of the collectible world and where it has evolved today, sports and pop culture continue to collide,” said Jeff Heckman, Global Director of Ecommerce. “We could not think of a better way to expose trading cards to a new audience than working to reinvent some of the classic baseball cards and personalities of the game of baseball through the eyes and hands of many of the world’s greatest pop culture figures of today. ‘Project 2020’ will be a must have for core and casual baseball fans, and will more importantly showcase the names and stories of the artists and the players on the cards to a global audience whose interests lie well beyond the sport. It is a transformative move we are very excited about.”
“Roberto Clemente and his story have always been inspirational to me,” said Mister Cartoon, whose hometown high school mascot was the Pirates, adding to his longtime connection to the Pittsburgh slugger and made working on the Clemente card extra special. “I want to take each of these classic cards and supercharge them!”
The cards in the Project 2020 offering include: 1952 Willie Mays; 1952 Jackie Robinson; 1955 Sandy Koufax; 1959 Bob Gibson; 1980 Rickey Henderson; 1989 Ken Griffey Jr; 1969 Nolan Ryan; 1984 Don Mattingly; 2001 Ichiro; 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera; 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken; 1983 Tony Gwynn; 1975 George Brett; 2011 Updates Mike Trout; 1987 Mark McGwire; 1990 Frank Thomas; 1985 Dwight Gooden; 1955 Roberto Clemente and 1954 Ted Williams.
The artists participating in the set include:
Ben Baller– jewelry designer with a huge celebrity following that includes Kanye West, Drake, Snoop Dogg and others
Tyson Beck– Australia based, recently redesigned the NBA logo to look like Kobe Bryant, with a petition to change the logo with over 3 million signatures.
Sophia Chang– Queens native whose lifestyle illustrations and basketball cards have landed her collaborations with Nike, Adidas and Puma.
Efdot– NYC based, paints murals with the ubiquitous “Blob” character as the star of his pieces
Ermsy– Cartoon style UK artist living in Paris, whose popular works include reimagined classics like Garfield and Betty Boop.
Fucci- Toronto-based artist who paints vibrant post-pop art and ligne-claire style illustrations with a minimalist approach.
Groteskito– Creative director for Nike basketball
Blake Jamieson– N.Y. based painter who has done portraits for over 350 professional athletes including numerous prominent NFL players.
JK5– based in Brooklyn, native of North White Plains, N.Y., who weaves layers of poetry, spirituality, symbolism, color and line across various media.
Just Don– Chicago based, worked with Kanye West on a number of collaborations, including projects for Nike and Mitchell and Ness, as well as other NBA apparel.
King Saladeen– Philadelphia based NBA artist who has done murals at the Philadelphia Airport and various NYC locations.
Mister Cartoon– L.A. based :West Coast style” tattoo artist who has done illustrative work for Kobe Bryant and Snoop Dogg, and tattoo work on CC Sabathia’s back. Currently working on a mural at L.A. landmark Casa Vega.
Naturel– Creative Director for many apparel projects from Crooks , painted one of the most famous Kobe Bryant murals in Los Angeles.
Old Man Alan– Sacramento-based, tastemaker who advised a number of brands
Jacob Rochester– L.A. based native of Connecticut whose Allen Iverson hair progression art has garnered some attention
Keith Shore– Philadelphia based; the lead creative for Mikkelar Beer
Gregory Siff – lives in L.A., worked with MLB on a number of projects including Stance
Matt Taylor– Brighton, U.K., artist who specializes in movie poster designs and has collaborated on projects with Marvel, Amazon Studios, LucasFilm and more, as well as ESPN for the US Open tennis tournament.
Andrew Thiele– based in NYC, drew “Whole Squad Ready” art for 2018 World Series; has worked for ESPN on MLB and NBA graphics.
Joshua Vides– Black and White style, based in LA, famous collaborator with Converse in 2019, also produced “locker room art” for MLB at the 2018 All-Star Game.
The images on the cards can be seen at https://www.topps.com/project2020