“I WON THE RBI SCHOLARSHIP!!!”
That was the text message I received last Friday to kick off the weekend.
Immediately I was overcome with excitement as if it were I who had been awarded the scholarship, telling anyone who would listen how another one of our RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) players had been awarded Major League Baseball’s “RBI for RBI” Scholarship. Megan Diaz, a senior at Miami Senior High School and a third year RBI participant, became the sixth player in the past five years to be awarded this prestigious $20,000 national scholarship presented to notable members nationwide of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
In her senior year, Megan served as captain for her high school softball team while excelling in the classroom, maintaining a 5.24 GPA and completing multiple advanced placement classes. Following the RBI season, Megan will be taking her talents up to Gainesville, FL, to attend the University of Florida, where she will study to become a pediatrician. Megan also has aspirations of walking on to the Gators’ softball team.
Personally, receiving the news about Megan was a thrill for me because I had the privilege of serving as her RBI coach for the Miami High School team (my alma mater) during the regular season, and then again on the All-Star team. Last summer Megan made the All-Star team and despite not having played in any of the first three games, she kept a positive attitude, supporting her teammates and staying prepared to contribute when the opportunity presented itself.
In the final game of the tournament, Megan entered as a late game defensive replacement in a tie game in right field. As the softball gods should have it, in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs and a runner on second, the opposing team smoked a base hit to right field and with the winning run rounding third base, Megan fielded and came up firing. Players came spilling out of the dugout, but not because the game had ended, but because the runner was called out on Megan’s game-saving rocket throw! The game would eventually end in a tie, but it was the program’s first non-loss since 2009, and I could not have been more proud.
Megan shared with me that this was her most memorable moment playing RBI and when asked about it said, “I felt awesome as I ran into the dugout and saw my coach with a smile from ear to ear. I will never forget that moment!”
I hope she also knows that it was one of my most memorable moments not just as a coach, but also since becoming a member of the Miami Marlins.
For more information on the “RBI for RBI” Scholarship visit http://www.mlb.com/rbi
Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton can do more than throw 97MPH heaters and hit 474 foot homeruns. They can finger-paint. They joined South Florida’s top athletes in leaving their handprint for Young at Art. Manager Mike Redmond, Jeff Conine, Cliff Floyd, Charles Johnson and Juan Pierre joined them in leaving their handprints on memorabillia for the STOMP at Young at Art second annual gala for the benefit of YAA programming for underserved and at-risk youth. The mission of Young At Art Children’s Museum is to provide hands-on cultural, educational and arts experiences for youth that awaken their creativity in a fun and exciting environment. Check out the photo below!
On Cuatro de Mayo, kids from City of Miami Parks and Recreation and Miami PAL were bussed out to Marlins Park for the 2nd Jr RBI Pitch, Hit & Run Competition. This baseball skills challenge measured who could drive the ball the furthest off a tee, throw the most strikes with 6 pitches, and blaze around the bases the quickest. This was a welcomed experience for the kids who had their games rained out from the nasty weather earlier in the week… but on this day, with the ballpark as the backdrop, it was picturesque. At the end of the day 12 kids from 4 different age groups advanced to the sectional round and we hope to see those Jr RBI shirts back at Marlins Park for the on field Regional Championships. The Jr RBI program is supported by Marlins Ayudan volunteers and sponsored by Marlins players Adeiny Hechavarria, Donovan Solano, and Nathan Eovaldi.
Last Sunday, we celebrated the Marlins 14th annual Autism Awareness Day. It was a great day at the ballpark which included an autism resource fair in the West Plaza, on-field volunteer recognitions and the best first pitch, ever! Below are some great pictures from the game and a list of participating organizations.
Autism Notebook Magazine
Autism Society of Broward
Family Autism Network of Florida
Miami Dade County Public Schools Division of Special Education
UM-NSU Center For Autism & related Disabilities
Victory Center for Autism
Thanks to Autism Speaks for partnering with us. The Marlins Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of our youth through education, the arts and baseball, with a special focus on children with special needs. We hope all the children and families enjoyed the day at Marlins Park!
On Friday, April 12th “42”, the life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, premiered in movie theatres nationwide. The Thursday before the biopic debuted, Warner Brothers held a private screening at Cobb Theatre in Dolphin Mall, where they extended a special invitation to the Miami Marlins. Marlins Catcher Kyle Skipworth and Marlins Infielders Chris Valaika were joined by Marlins charity organizations the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program, to enjoy the moving film. Before the movie, Marlins General Manager Mike Hill presented the Marlins annual contribution of $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson Scholarship Foundation, represented by scholarship alumnus Carol Guerrero. Joining Hill for the check presentation was Norman Berman, ball boy for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, along Miami Dade County School Board Members Dr. Wilbert Holloway and Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall.
On Sunday, April 14th the Marlins hosted a night at the movies, following the Phillies vs. Marlins home game. Marlins employees, joined by Ayudan Partner School children from Miami High School and the RBI Program, gathered at Muvico Theatres in Hialeah to view “42”. Special guest, MLB Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, grabbed some M&M’s to enjoy the biographical sports drama with the kids.