PHILADELPHIA -- Game 1 was Welcome Back Veterans, as First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, visited a Bronx VA hospital along with Major League Baseball officials and participated in pregame ceremonies at the World Series opener.
Game 2 was Giving Back & Community Service, centered around the annual Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was this year's recipient in a pregame ceremony that included Vera Clemente, widow of the late Hall of Famer who died in a 1971 plane crash while delivering relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. Clemente's legacy was celebrated and Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation efforts were highlighted.
Game 3 was Stand Up To Cancer, featuring a historic live orchestrated crowd event that happened in the middle of the second inning at Citizens Bank Park, with fans here and watching on FOX all urged to "stand up" to cancer and continue to focus attention on prevention and eradication of a disease that touches virtually everyone in some way. It was part of ongoing efforts by MLB and Stand Up To Cancer since early 2008, and the event created the latest TV spot in the long line of "Priceless" ads from MasterCard Worldwide.
Sunday night will be Game 4 of this first community-minded World Series, and this time the "Going Beyond" campaign of community service and charity will shine a bright spotlight on youths. Before the Yankees play the Phillies, MLB and the Phillies will be host to a "Wanna Play?" clinic from 9 a.m. to noon ET for local youth from MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) presented by KPMG program and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
"Whenever we have an opportunity to sponsor, to help out, give money, bring attention to something, we're doing our job as part of the American culture," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "Baseball and America go hand-in-hand. When baseball's going well, America's going well. We seem to keep smiles on people's faces. Anytime you can partner up, just bring joy to people who are going through things rough in their lives, you're doing your job. Not just as a baseball player, but as an American. You're doing your job as a role model. And hopefully we can add more things to the list."
"I love that. I see the Boys & Girls Club, that's where I grew up," said Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was a member in Miami as a youth. "I think it's great. Anything we can do to help out in the community. ... Obviously, Major League Baseball is doing their part, and I'm glad to be part of it."
The youth-oriented baseball and softball clinic will feature a lineup of experts that includes: Hall of Famer and ESPN broadcaster Joe Morgan; MLB Network analyst and former MLB All-Star Harold Reynolds; Phillies broadcaster and former MLB All-Star Gary Matthews; former Phillies All-Star Tony Taylor; and former Phillies first baseman Ricky Jordan.
"Wanna Play?" is a new, experiential initiative launched by MLB and intended to promote baseball and softball participation among young people in underserved communities. It was first put on a large stage in downtown Cincinnati during MLB's Civil Rights Game this summer.
The "Wanna Play?" clinic will be held for local kids from the Phillies RBI Program, the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware and the baseball and softball teams from the Mastery Charter School. It will take place at the Southeast Youth Athletic Association Field near Citizens Bank Park, and the aforementioned VIPs participate between 10-11:30 a.m. In addition, volunteers from KPMG and players from Temple University's baseball team will help staff the event.
There is also a "Wanna Play?" activity area right outside Citizens Bank Park during the Phillies Postseason Party that will precede Game 4. Those events include batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests and demonstrations with current and former players.
During an on-field pregame presentation, KPMG, the presenting sponsor of the RBI program, will be joined by representatives of the championship teams from the 2009 RBI World Series presented by KPMG as they present a $1 million check in support of the program. RBI presented by KPMG is a program for underserved urban youth designed to increase baseball and softball participation, encourage academic achievement and teach the value of teamwork.
KPMG, which became the first presenting sponsor of the RBI program in June 2007, also supports RBI with thousands of volunteers across the country assisting kids both on the field and in the classroom. For the 2009 World Series, a youth from a local Boys & Girls Club is delivering the game ball to the mound before each ceremonial first pitch.
For more than 13 years as the official charity of Major League Baseball, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. MLB and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have worked to improve the lives of children throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide through programs such as RBI and Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream scholarships.
This was the first time that MLB has used its ultimate jewel event to showcase important community-based initiatives in a way that has this kind of consistency and reach.
"Major League Baseball is honored to use the grand stage of the World Series as a platform to raise awareness for these important causes," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "With millions of fans watching the World Series, we have the unique opportunity to help support initiatives that make a difference in the lives of others."
The MLB "Going Beyond" charitable initiatives surrounding the last All-Star Game in St. Louis raised more than $7 million for local and national charitable organizations. For more information, visit MLBGoBeyond.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.