Press release Major League Baseball
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Major League Baseball and USA Baseball announced that “Fun At Bat” (www.funatbat.org), the introductory and character building bat-and-ball program designed for use in physical education (P.E.) classes, will now be available to elementary school students throughout Mexico. The free program, which is currently reaching more than one million children in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, will be administered in Mexico by the Presidential Office for Baseball Development and Promotion in Mexico (PROBEIS), an initiative commissioned by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to develop and promote baseball in the country, with support from both MLB and USA Baseball.
The Mexico Fun At Bat program will serve more than 1.3 million students throughout the country. Franklin Sports, a long-time MLB and USA Baseball partner, has created custom Fun At Bat Baseball equipment to help activate this program since its inception in 2016.
A joint MLB and USA Baseball youth program, Fun At Bat promotes fun and active lifestyles for children, while also teaching the fundamental skills of bat-and-ball sports. The program, available in both English and Spanish, also includes a literacy component focusing on character development and teaching traits such as leadership, teamwork and responsibility. Fun At Bat is part of the PLAY BALL initiative (www.PlayBall.org) – the sport’s largest collective effort to encourage young people to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal and casual forms of play. Since the initiative’s launch in 2015, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has reported a 52.8 percent increase in casual baseball participation in the United States.
“Baseball’s future in Mexico is a bright one, and this collaborative effort between MLB, USA Baseball and PROBEIS will contribute greatly toward that end,” said Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development, Major League Baseball. “In line with our larger PLAY BALL initiative, Fun At Bat will give children in Mexico the opportunity to discover the game at its most basic levels, which we believe will be the beginning of a lifelong passion for baseball.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver this program to students across Mexico,” said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball’s Chief Development Officer. “Fun At Bat is the fastest growing bat-and-ball program in the world. With its comprehensive curriculum and fun-first approach, it is the ideal way to introduce kids from across the globe to our great game.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about this historic opportunity to formally implement baseball in public grammar schools in Mexico as part of our strategy to develop and promote the sport, as instructed by President Lopez Obrador,” said Edgar Gonzalez, Director of PROBEIS. “Teachers are the backbone of our social development and it is exciting to know they are participating in this amazing program designed exclusively for the purpose of teaching fundamental principles to children. Naturally, we are looking forward to implementing additional projects jointly with USA Baseball and Major League Baseball to continue furthering mission.”
Adam Franklin, Vice President at Franklin Sports said: “Franklin Sports is proud to be the Official Equipment Partner of the Fun At Bat program. As long time partners of USA Baseball and Major League Baseball, we are committed to the collective goals of growing youth participation and creating young fans of the sport of baseball.”
The expansion of Fun At Bat to Mexico is MLB’s latest efforts to grow the game among young people throughout the world. In addition to the multiple PLAY BALL events held in various parts of the United States as well as in Mexico, Brazil, and Panama, MLB has had a substantive imprint on the youth & amateur levels of the sport throughout the world. Over the last three years, the MLB CUP, MLB’s signature international youth league competition, has served nearly 10,000 kids in Japan, Taiwan and Mexico in tournament play.