Before Royals general manager Dayton Moore reports to Spring Training to prepare the Major League club for the 2007 season, he first lent his voice to another Kansas City baseball league. Once again the Royals join the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas City Department of Parks & Recreation, KPRS HOT 103 JAMZ and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as partners in the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. Moore, along with Assistant Director of Scouting Steve Williams and broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre, helped kick off the 15th year of RBI baseball in Kansas City by attending the Ninth Annual RBI First Pitch Luncheon in the Stadium Club at Kauffman Stadium on Feb. 8. "As we start looking at the young people we want to help, we know we want to teach them not just skills for the field, but skills for life," said Anthony Dickson, the director of Kansas City's RBI program. "The Royals are a great partner because they understand that and are committed to teaching fundamentals both and off the field."
Since its inception in Kansas City in 1992, RBI has impacted the lives of many area children ages 5-18, who are searching for a safe alterative and new direction in life. Although on the surface the organization strives to teach and promote America's favorite pastime, the core principle of RBI reaches far beyond learning to steal a base or catch a popup. "My heart breaks when I think of the choices that young people these days are making," Moore said. "Programs like RBI help children with their choices and make a difference in the community and a difference in the lives of many here." With a commitment to fundamentals each year, the RBI program emphasizes teamwork and sportsmanship both on and off the field. This season the program plans to have at least 65 teams, giving nearly 1,000 area youth a chance to play baseball and softball for the summer. Again, the Royals are stepping up to the plate by playing an active role in fundraising, securing facilities and host all RBI players to a special night at Kauffman Stadium. On top of that, the Royals recruit several members of the organization -- such as Williams and Lefebvre -- to help instruct or coach for the RBI program. Williams, who joined the Royals scouting department this past season, has more than 19 years of scouting experience in the Major Leagues and has served as the president of the Buck O'Neil Scouting and Coaches Association for the past six years. However, at the luncheon, he noted that being involved in the RBI program is something he is driven to do each year. "This program is a very special one to me and one I have been involved in for seven or eight years around the country," said Williams. "The program here is already a success and I look forward to helping where I can to make it an even bigger one." No stranger to the RBI program, Lefebvre, who enters his 9th season behind the microphone for the Royals, was honored earlier this year by the kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City as the 2007 Role Model of the Year. The RBI program is holding coaches instructional clinics and are beginning the process of forming teams for the season. For more information or to help support the RBI program, please contact the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City at (816) 361-3600.