Kassius Thomas recognized by MLB
Prior to Game Four, Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation hosted a special ‘PLAY BALL’ event where approximately 350+ kids participated in a series of fun baseball and softball activities that highlight the many ways the game can be played. Kids were from various L.A.-based youth groups, including Dodgers RBI, Northeast Los Angeles Little League, LAPD Youth Foundation Programs Unit, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Ramona Gardens. Special guests included Mackenzie Hancsicsak (This Is Us), Dodgers alumni (Shawn Green, Mickey Hatcher, Billy Ashley and Dennis Powell), and Olympic Gold Medalist and Los Angeles native Jennie Finch. Additionally, members of the RBI World Series Championship teams and MLB Youth Academy “Youths of the Year” served as event clinicians.
Since 2015, Major League Baseball and its many partners in the PLAY BALL initiative have hosted hundreds of PLAY BALL-focused events throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. For the second consecutive year, baseball and softball combined to rank as the most participated team sports in the United States in 2017 (25.1 million participants), according to the annual Topline Participation Report produced by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). In 2017, casual participation in baseball rose by 12.9% with overall participation seeing a 6.0% increase. Over the last three years, baseball has seen a 49.1% growth in casual participation, which is in direct correlation to the launch of the PLAY BALL initiative.
2018 RBI WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS RECOGNIZED: Several members from each championship team of the 2018 RBI World Series will be recognized during pregame ceremonies. Teams include Chicago White Sox RBI (senior baseball division out of Chicago, Illinois), Houston Astros RBI (softball division out of Houston, Texas) and Rays RBI Tampa (junior baseball division out of Tampa, Florida).
MEMBERS FROM SEVEN MLB YOUTH ACADEMIES TO ATTEND GAME FOUR: Ten members of the MLB Youth Academies from around the country also will be recognized during pregame ceremonies. The members are their respective Academy’s “Youth of the Year,” which recognizes a member who has had a positive year on and off the field, has overcome challenges in their lives, or has made a positive impact in their community. This year’s honorees include:
• Kassius Thomas — MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif.
• Kabrel Johnson — New Orleans MLB Youth Academy in New Orleans, La.
• David Pressley — Houston Astros MLB Youth Academy in Houston, Texas
• Alyssa Dixon — P&G Cincinnati Reds MLB Youth Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio
• Kamarah Glasgow — Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Washington, D.C.
• Steven Shaffer — Philadelphia Phillies MLB Youth Academy in Philadelphia, Pa.
• Miguel Perez Torres — Texas Rangers Baseball Youth Academy in Dallas, Texas
• Justin Cabrera — DREAM Youth Academy in Bronx, N.Y.
• Carmen Gudino — Kansas City Royals MLB Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, Mo.
• Daniel Vazquez — Puerto Rico Baseball High School & Academy in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.
MLB’s Youth Academies aim to set the standard for mentorship and development in underserved communities through professional-level baseball and softball instruction, education assistance and career development programs – all while serving as positive members of their respective communities. Since their inception, the cost-free, year-round Academies have seen more than 500 players go on to play on the collegiate level, more than 100 players drafted by MLB clubs, and many more establish non-playing careers.