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If baseball can’t keep kids playing, it will slowly go extinct | New York Post Thanks for contacting us. We ve received your submission. Back to Reading When Rob Manfred became Major League Baseball commissioner in August 2014, he didn't just talk about focusing on youth participation. He put his words into action, investing money and time in several initiatives to increase the number of kids playing the sport.Three years later, the numbers aren't necessarily booming, but leaders in youth baseball are optimistic about the strides being made Jordan Kurahara Jersey, and pointed to the Commissioner's Office as a major factor in this process."I really think that a lot of the credit has to go to Rob Manfred and the ‘Play Ball' initiative they're undertaking," said Stephen D. Keener, Little League Baseball president and CEO, referring to the initiative launched in June 2015 in tandem with USA Baseball, USA Softball and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to get more kids to play the sport by bringing major league stars out into the community through special events.The 2016 Little League World Series champions from Endwell, NYAPParticipation in baseball is increasing over the past few years, according to data researched by the Sports Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) through an annual report of nearly 25,000 online surveys and nationwide interview samples of individuals ages 6 and up and households https://www.ducksteamsport.com/gear/ben-thiel-ducks-jersey.aspx. It measures participation in two different forms: casual participation (playing baseball between one and 13 times per year) and core participation (playing baseball 13 times or more per year). Casual participation in baseball was up 18.1 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, and 10.7 percent over the past three years. The increases were lower in core participation."We believe that's a positive development in which baseball can overall build," said Tom Cove Steve Maines Jersey, the president and CEO of SFIA. "You're getting more people to at least play some [baseball]. The key for the future of baseball is to bring those casual players to a higher level of commitment."Keener, the Little League CEO, said his organization's overall 2016 numbers are slightly down, from 2 million kids in 2011 to approximately 1.9 million in 2016 (2017 numbers aren't yet available), but they remain hopeful for the future. There have been changes made which the organization believes will improve its numbers, the result of a a study done in 2011. The data revealed parents weren't fond of tee-ball as an entry-level introduction to the sport, preferring exercise and instruction. So they scrapped it and started the "Fun, Fitness and Fundamentals" program Anthony Gutierrez Jersey, a 10-week curriculum intended to teach the game.Another initiative to generate interest has begun at the minor league division, for 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds. They are now playing games under a different set of circumstances. One inning, five hitters will bat no matter what. Another inning will start with runners on base."Things that make games more active, get kids more engaged from the very first pitch," Keener said. "Give them more activities, rather than a dominating pitcher striking everybody out."Chris Marinak, MLB's executive vice president of league economics and strategy, said he believes people are less interested in the old-fashioned way of signing up for a team and dedicating themselves to a certain amount of games per season. Interest in the sport remains there; it's just different. Besides the "Play Ball" initiative, the league also has been active with the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and the Urban Youth Academy network, which provides better access to inner-city communities to play baseball and softball. The academies allow kids to get basic instruction without committing to a team or league."To finally have everybody on the same message and the same platform, it speaks to where we can go if we continue to move in the right direction," said Rick Riccobono, the chief development officer for USA Baseball. "The nationwide motivation to get kids out is something we haven't seen previously."Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy News Corp. is a network of leading companies in the world of diversified media, news, and information services.