ARLINGTON -- The Rangers hosted a Play Ball event at their Youth Ballpark on Sunday morning, giving local kids a chance to participate in baseball-related activities outside the normal confines of rec leagues and camps.
The Play Ball initiative, supported by both USA Baseball and USA Softball, is the sport's collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in all types of baseball- or softball-related activities. Play Ball events are MLB's signature youth engagement activity on the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, including key dates throughout the MLB offseason and into the World Series.
To begin the day, Arlington mayor Jeff Williams read a proclamation declaring the months of June through August as "Play Ball Summer." He then posed for a group photo with everybody behind home plate, in front of a large Play Ball sign.
"Growing up, my dad made sure that we got to play baseball and come to Rangers games, and it became part of a family, an opportunity for our family to come together around baseball," Williams said. "Baseball is such a family sport, so we are really excited today to promote baseball with our youth, and it's great to see everybody out here."
Kids rotated through several stations at the Youth Ballpark. They hit balls off tees, went through fly-ball drills, fielded ground balls in the outfield, practiced the correct technique for throwing a baseball properly and took some swings from home plate.
The event was originally scheduled for June 4, but it was postponed due to rain. It eventually got rescheduled for Sunday, which happened to be Father's Day. Once the bulk of the event was finished, dads were able to come on the field to play catch with their sons and daughters.
"It's very appropriate, isn't it?" Williams said. "What a great activity for father and son, father and daughter to be out here playing ball."
Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.