The 2013 campaign promises to be a golden one for the Richmond City Baseball Association.
The RCBA, along with its provincial counterpart - the B.C. Minor Baseball Association - are celebrating their 50 anniversary this coming season. Both organizations were founded in 1963 and the RCBA was the inaugural member of B.C. Minor Baseball.
The RCBA provides the opportunity for Richmond's youth to participate in structured baseball programs in the spring and summer. Programs are available for youth as young as five and as old as 25. They range from House League to AAA All-Star.
Alumni who have come through the program include Washington Nationals prospect and Canadian national team standout Jimmy Van Ostrand. He found the time to work with Richmond's top Bantam team last summer.
The association is launching its first of three 2013 registration sessions on Saturday at the Brighouse Park fieldhouse. The other two will take place Feb. 3 and Mar. 2 at Richmond Centre.
"(This) promises to be a very exciting year for Richmond baseball, not just for our players, but for our coaches, our alumni and parents alike," said RCBA president Trevor Rennie. "Baseball has a long history in Richmond and we have an opportunity to celebrate the past while we look ahead to what the future has to offer."
RCBA's popular grassroots Rally Cap Program is one of the outcomes of the Long Term Athlete Development Program developed by Sport Canada.
The goals of Rally Cap program include: create an environment in which children and adults can have fun with baseball; teach baseball skills, rules and strategy to players; model and teach competitiveness with an emphasis on good sportsmanship; and promote increased self-esteem among Rally Cap children and adults.
The RCBA has invested heavily in player and coaching development by bringing in professionals to augment the association's own expertise and resources.
"We will be continuing the very successful Rally Cap program this year at the (U5) Blastball level," continued Rennie. " The program has been designed specifically for young players and aims to increase interest in baseball."
After hosting two very successful provincial championships in 2012, the RCBA hopes to land the 2013 Bantam AAA Western Championships.
The association is also currently applying for provincial and federal grants to match funding already received from the City of Richmond. The city funding is for major improvements at Blundell Field in the hopes that the Western Championship bid will be successful.
Corporate Sponsorship opportunities abound during this golden anniversary year of minor baseball in Richmond. Local companies are encouraged to get involved and support the youth of Richmond. For more information contact RCBA director of marketing and sponsorship Malcolm Ashford at 604-765-4775 or at email@example.com