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02/08/2007 3:08 PM ET
Pirates open 'Pirates Community Baseball Center'
Indoor baseball training complex demonstrates mission of team's newly defined philanthropic arm, Pirates Charities
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially opened the new Pirates Community Baseball Center. The complex has been transformed from a dilapidated indoor swimming pool located in the Shadyside/East Liberty Boys & Girls Club into a state-of-the-art, year-round youth baseball and softball training facility. The facility represents the first completed project of the Pirates newly defined philanthropic arm, Pirates Charities.

Pirates Charities partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the Roberto Clemente Foundation to reenergize the previously unusable community facility into a complex that features two batting cages with automatic pitching machines, skill stations, multi-media training rooms, administrative offices, equipment storage rooms, new restroom facilities and more.

The complex will give area youth throughout the region a safe place to focus on wholesome and healthy activities year-round, according to Bob Nutting, Pirates Chairman of the Board.

"The Pirates Community Baseball Center will have a widespread positive impact on youth throughout the region by giving them a place to focus on productive activities and positive interaction with their peers and coaches," Nutting said. "It demonstrates Pirates Charities' mission as it is a positive addition to our community that will help improve the lives of the thousands of youth who will use this facility for many years to come."

The Pirates Community Baseball Center will become home to Pittsburgh's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) youth outreach program, the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania baseball and softball programs and serve as a training complex for the CitiParks Big League baseball and softball programs.

"We're excited to partner with the Boys & Girls Club on this project. By working together we created a safe place where thousands of area youth will be able to practice their baseball and softball skills year-round," said Kevin McClatchy, Pirates CEO. "This is a tremendous way for Pirates Charities to make a positive impact on young people through our shared passion for the game of baseball."

In addition to giving area youth the ability to participate in baseball activities year-round, the Pirates Community Baseball Center will allow area coaches a facility to hold organized training sessions to work on coaching techniques and becoming more positive role models.

"The Pirates have always been a great supporter of the Boys & Girls Club. Pirates Charities has taken the ballclub's commitment to another level," said Mike Hepler, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. "We are very grateful to the Pirates, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the Roberto Clemente Foundation for their help in making this complex a reality."

Pirates Charities donated $165,000 to the Pirates Community Baseball Center renovation project, which cost an estimated $300,000 to complete. The Roberto Clemente Foundation donated $75,000 and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, donated an additional $60,000 towards the project.

Throughout its history, the Pittsburgh Pirates have supported many non-profit and civic organizations through its charitable and community efforts. The organization determined it could be more effective in its philanthropic efforts and make an even greater impact in meeting the needs of the region by establishing its newly defined philanthropic arm Pirates Charities.

Pirates Charities mission is to strengthen the community by supporting organizations and programs aimed at improving the lives of children and adults in the greater Pittsburgh region. It places a special emphasis on supporting youth programs focused on health, fitness and education.

By focusing its charitable contributions of both time and funds in this manner, Pirates Charities will enable the Pirates to support programs that align with its mission and allow the organization to continue its already considerable community relations activities.

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