What is RBI and why is it so special?
“The mission of the league, of RBI here and nationally, is to provide an opportunity for kids to play baseball,” says Wayne Gray, who started a Little Rock chapter of RBI — Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities — in 2003.
“We have some kids who are really, really good and we have some kids who come out here and they don’t know which end of the bat to hold. And we love those kids,” he tells Cheree Franco in Wednesday’s Family section.
Gray, a microbiologist at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, coaches neighborhood children, many of whom live with single mothers and can’t afford leagues such as Junior Deputy or United States Specialty Sports Association. RBI is a recreational baseball program run through Major League Baseball and various Boys & Girls Clubs.
They play at a historic field — Lamar Porter, where a gangly Brooks Robinson once played for an American Legion team called the Little Rock Doughboys and more recently, the Benton-born Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee spearheaded an ongoing restoration effort.
Read more in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.