Major League Baseball announced its World Series lineup of community themes on Thursday, marking the fourth consecutive year it will use its greatest stage as a platform to raise global awareness for important causes and leave a special imprint on two metropolitan areas.
The 108th World Series begins Wednesday on FOX at a National League park in either St. Louis or San Francisco. MLB, players and fans will advance the fight against cancer there with Stand Up To Cancer during Game 1, and MLB will honor veterans and their families with Welcome Back Veterans during Game 2.
The series then shifts to the American League park in Detroit. For Game 3, MLB will support youth, especially those in underserved communities, with programs including Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Breaking Barriers. Game 4 will celebrate community service with focus on Habitat for Humanity.
"The World Series provides our charitable partners with a platform to shed light on social issues that are critically important to Major League Baseball and our fans," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "As a social institution with important social responsibilities, Major League Baseball is proud to continue using the attraction of the Fall Classic to make a positive impact in people's lives."
Game 1: Stand Up To Cancer
A month after a national SU2C telethon raised $81 million to advance the fight against cancer, that organization's mission will be the backdrop for the Fall Classic opener. The game will feature a special moment where fans and players will hold up placards with the names of loved ones affected by the disease. A new SU2C spot will air on MLB.com, in the ballpark and on FOX, and during that day, members of the MLB family will visit a children's hospital that treats cancer patients.
In 2008, MLB became founding donor of SU2C, which focuses on getting innovative therapies to patients as quickly as possible. Since its launch, SU2C has grown significantly with support from players, fans and all 30 MLB clubs. MLB has donated more than $30 million to the organization since its inception.
"We are proud that the most memorable and improbable moments in postseason history can be used as a way to inspire people to believe that anything is possible, including an end to cancer," Selig said.
Game 2: Welcome Back Veterans
MLB will highlight its ongoing support for veterans and military families. There will be an on-field pregame ceremony featuring a video narrated by NBC special correspondent Tom Brokaw, author of the best-selling "Greatest Generation" book, to pay tribute to former Major Leaguers who served the U.S. in World War II.
Launched in 2008 by MLB and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Welcome Back Veterans has awarded more than $13 million in grants to non-profit agencies targeting the greatest needs of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families, focusing on treatment and research of posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Game 3: Youth
This game will be dedicated to youth, especially those in underserved communities, through the RBI and Breaking Barriers MLB programs, and also MLB's partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. During an on-field pregame ceremony, youth from all three programs will be recognized. Prior to the game, hundreds of young people from local RBI and BGCA programs will attend a "Wanna Play?" event and clinic.
"Wanna Play?" is a multi-faceted initiative dedicated to youth fitness, encouraging boys and girls ages 6-12 to increase their overall fitness and nutrition education through physical activity while learning the fundamental skills of baseball and softball through fun and engaging activities. The event will be administered by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.
Game 4: Community Service and Habitat for Humanity
Baseball will continue to promote the organization's efforts, especially as it looks to help build new homes in partnership with low-income families in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., -- two of the communities devastated by tornadoes in April and May 2011. Fans can help now by donating at habitat.org.
Habitat for Humanity is a long-time partner of MLB, and that was especially visible during All-Star Week in Kansas City, where MLB, the Players Trust and league partners teamed up with Habitat to frame two of the nine homes that went to those two communities.
Other community initiatives
MLB and TEAM Coalition supported the designated driver programs at all MLB ballparks during the past regular season with a special incentive: fans who registered as a designated driver were entered into a drawing to be the club's official "Designated Driver." That person from the NL and AL champions will each receive two tickets and will be honored during Games 1 and 3, respectively.
MLB and the Natural Resources Defense Council collaborate at MLB.com/green, and baseball will incorporate a wide variety of environmentally-sensitive efforts during the Fall Classic that include: "MLB Green Teams" during all World Series games, collecting refuse for recycling and supplementing existing recycling programs; raising public awareness to educate fans about how to become more environmentally sensitive via online materials and PSAs; prioritizing bio-based products and recycled content materials at events throughout the World Series; and addressing energy usage through efficiency measures and by investing in renewable energy offsets.