Kansas City, Mo. — Less than five months after 800,000 people gathered to celebrate the Kansas City Royals’ first World Series Championship in 30 years, Kansas Citians will reunite on Opening Day of the 2016 Major League Baseball season for the “Longest Opening Day First Pitch” to raise funds for the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy.
The event on April 3rd, called “Relay the Way,” is organized by the Fundraising Committee for the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy in partnership with the Kansas City Royals, the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and VML.
More than 2,500 fans are expected join the relay to throw a baseball along a 10-mile route from Kansas City’s Union Station — the site of the City’s historic World Series Championship rally — to Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Royals, signifying the power of baseball to connect an entire community and make a positive difference for our youth.
Relay the Way will conclude on the pitching mound at Kauffman Stadium prior to the Royals vs. Mets home opener, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. The telecast includes a championship-flag-raising ceremony honoring the Royals’ 2015 World Series Championship
Coveted spots on the relay route, spaced approximately 20 feet apart along the route, are available for a minimum donation of $30.00 and can be reserved and purchased online at www.relaytheway.com. Participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt and proceeds will support the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy, which will break ground at Parade Park near Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz District later this year.
“The Kansas City Royals are honored to play for the best fans in all of baseball, and we look forward to bringing the community together to support the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy and the revival of inner city communities,” said Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore. “’Relay the Way’ is an opportunity for the people of Kansas City to take to the streets in support of programs that will ensure our status as the best baseball town in America for many years to come.”
“If you know the history of Kansas City, you know that 18th & Vine was the heart of the community and that baseball was the heart of 18th & Vine,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy offers our city the opportunity to use baseball and baseball-related life and job skills to rebuild the heart of our community by serving the young people who live in the urban core.”
About the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy
The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy, developed in collaboration with Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals, will be the seventh Urban Youth Baseball Academy in the United States. It will be developed and operated by Kansas City Urban Youth Academy, Inc., a nonprofit organization that will enter into an agreement with the City to construct, maintain, and operate the facility at Parade Park. Subject to completion of the fundraising needed to complete the project as planned, the Academy will include four new state-of-the-art diamonds, an indoor training facility and other improvements to enhance the area bounded by Truman Road, 18th Street, The Paseo and Woodland Avenue.
The Academy’s initial goal will be to serve approximately 800-1,000 youth per year, ages 6-18. In addition to providing free, year-round baseball and softball instruction and play, including hosting tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps, the Academy will provide youth with access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics and MLB industry alternative career workshops. Youth will also have opportunities to be involved in drug resistance and gang-prevention programs and healthy lifestyle classes.
Members of the Fundraising Committee Include: Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore; Mayor Sly James; Committee Chair, Carolyn Watley; former U.S. Senator Kit Bond, Royals’ Hall of Famer George Brett, former MLB star Joe Carter, and community leaders Terry Bassham and Michael Carter.
Note to editors and reporters: A Relay the Way press kit with a video, logo sheets, a route map and a fact sheet is available at https://vml.sharefile.com/d-s2f93cb7cb124c498. The latest video is avilable at https://youtu.be/9uLfbeSVKow. Media are invited to post the video on digital channels using this embed code: <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/9uLfbeSVKow” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>.