By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Baseball Escolar social project in Rio de Janeiro that brings one of America’s most popular sports to the streets of Brazil hosts its first charity dinner on Thursday, February 5th with the participation of several former and current Major League Baseball (MLB) players.
The charity dinner takes place at Porcão in Barra da Tijuca at 7PM and has a participation fee of R$500, which will go to the organization.
It counts with the presence of Hall of Fame member Barry Larkin, Champion of the World Series 2001 by the Arizona Diamondbacks Steve Finley, and Brazilians Andre Rienzo, Pitcher of the Miami Marlins, and Paulo Orlando, two times AAA champion and now part of the forty-man roster of the Kansas City Royals.
Baseball Escolar (Baseball School) is a social project currently in the Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhoods of Vila Isabel and Irajá, giving local kids a taste of the U.S. sport. The project reaches out to more than hundred players, with sixty of them currently regularly training, in four training centers in Rio.
The benefits of the charity dinner will enable the project to spread to other areas in Rio, such as the Ramos and Caju neighborhoods, integrating English learning with the baseball training and provide scholarships for a tournament and trainings with the Brazilian Baseball Confederation to the children.
Furthermore, the MLB has promised equipment for two baseball fields in Duque de Caxias if the project manages to raise twenty scholarships.
Baseball was introduced to Brazil by Japanese immigrants and is gaining popularity, especially with increasing presence on Brazilians’ TV screens. The infrastructure to play the U.S. sport has quietly developed and is gradually expanding, as more and more people have a try at the new game.
Fore more information on the charity dinner, access the Baseball Escolar’s Facebook site here.