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New Baseball League Playing Ball In Lexington

By Brenna Angel


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- – Baseball is not a cheap sport. There are league signups, equipment to buy, and often travel expenses. But a new youth league in Lexington is making sure the only thing players need to focus on is enjoying the game.

At Douglas Park in north Lexington, a diverse group of kids plays baseball in the RBI League. RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. Started in 1989, it's a Major League Baseball-sponsored charity for 13 to 18 year olds designed to serve underprivileged communities.

John Wilson organized the Lexington chapter of RBI. He settled down in central Kentucky after playing for UK and in the minors.

"We don't exclude anybody, so there are kids out here playing baseball out here for the first time and there are kids that have been playing their whole life," says Wilson.

14-year-old Michael Hall has been playing baseball since he was a toddler, and will join the Bryan Station High School team in the fall. He enjoys getting some extra playing time in the RBI league.

"This is much more laid back, there's not so much competition in it. It's just a good way for people to get in and start playing."

Some kids come to RBI without a glove, while others have bags full of their own gear. Regardless of a player's demographic or background, John Wilson says he just wants kids to have the opportunity to play baseball in a positive environment.

"We have kids that go to private school, and yes there are some kids out here that could potentially be on free lunch, but the point is that kids from different classes are able to socialize together and play together. I think the kids can develop some skills through that, and that changes their outlook on the community."

Although the program is called Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, Wilson says there are many rural areas in Kentucky with underprivileged youth. His goal is to take RBI to other counties, and eventually see the program go statewide.