CINCINNATI – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig helped the Reds open a $7 million urban youth baseball and softball training facility at Roselawn Park Friday.
Selig announced plans for the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy when he came to town two years ago to award Cincinnati the 2015 All-Star Game.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony included Reds owner Bob Castellini, Baseball and Reds Hall of Famers Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson, now MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development; Reds players Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, and city and P&G officials.
“The mission with the urban youth academies is to provide young men and women with opportunities to not only play baseball and softball, but also to offer guidance tools and values to succeed in the classroom and in life. We want kids to understand that baseball and softball can play a constructive role in taking then to extraordinary heights,” Selig said.
The $7 million complex at 2026 E. Seymour Ave. features four fields and a 33,000-square-foot indoor training center. It will be the home to all of the Reds Community Fund’s outreach programs, training clinics and summer camps.
The academy, the fourth in the country, will provide free, year-round instruction to young people ages 5-18, along with educational and vocational training.
"The Reds and P&G are making sure America's pastime will be played well into the future," Castellin said at the groundbreaking ceremony in July 2013.
"It's about education as well," said Morgan. "Remember all of our leaders are going to come from young people in the future and we're going to teach them responsibility and the importance of education."
Bruce and Votto were there and talked about what it means for the future of the Reds.
"I think Jay would agree, we're just holding spots for the future," Votto said. The future is going to be created here."
Ohio University alum Scott Dean also played ball when he was in high school, at that very spot where the complex will go. Today, his kids step up to the plate.
"They think they're out there like all stars," Dean said. "You just need to get the basics first."
"We play at home, but this is a little different."
Dean feels this new sports community will give him the excitement he felt years ago.
"This can kind of reinvigorate and get some of that energy, hopefully get people excited about baseball," he said. "It gives another outlet."
"It's amazing... it's amazing... beautiful fields, amazing facilities all around, I think the kids and the youth in the area will get a lot of good use out of it."
To visit the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy's website, CLICK HERE.