OKLAHOMA CITY – USA Softball announced Major League Baseball (MLB) has stepped up to the plate as the presenting sponsor of the “Stand Beside Her” tour. As the presenting sponsor, MLB proudly stands alongside members of the 2020 USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) as they embark on a nation-wide tour that will hit over 35 cities in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with training and exhibition contests.
“USA Softball is extremely grateful for the support of Major League Baseball (MLB),” said USA Softball Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Craig Cress. “We’ve had a strong relationship with MLB since 2015 when we joined the ‘PLAY BALL’ initiative, and their commitment shown not only to our Women’s National Team athletes but for grassroots development, is simply unmatched. The partnership and support of MLB provides members of the 2020 Women’s National Team with access to support staff and resources they need to stand atop the podium and bring the Gold back to the United States.”
MLB will work in conjunction with USA Softball in select cities to host “PLAY BALL” events, MLB’s signature youth engagement activity of which USA Softball is a flagship partner. The iconic MLB silhouetted batter will be featured on Team USA’s uniform tops and on various signage promoting the appearances. The Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., which is operated by MLB, will also be named as the Official Training Facility of the USA Softball National Teams.
“Major League Baseball is proud to support the Women’s National Softball team and these world-class athletes on their journey to becoming Olympians,” said Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball Development, Major League Baseball. “The players on Team USA share our commitment to growing softball, and we look forward to joining them as they inspire young women to play the sport. Representing your country on any international platform is an honor, but doing so on the Olympic stage is the pinnacle. We are thrilled to be along for their incredible ride.”
The “Stand Beside Her” tour evokes a powerful message of unity aimed to inspire communities to stand beside HER – the members of the WNT, America and the future generation of female athletes.
With the return of softball to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program, the “Stand Beside Her” tour provides much-needed training and competition for the 2020 WNT in their preparation for the Olympic Games while also giving fans a chance to watch the Red, White and Blue in person. Olympic competition will start July 22, 2020 with the Gold Medal Game being played on July 28.
This partnership is a continuation of MLB’s support of USA Softball and its commitment to growing the sport at both the grassroots and amateur levels. Since 2015, MLB and USA Softball have partnered together with USA Baseball to launch the “PLAY BALL” initiative (PlayBall.org), the largest collective effort to inspire and encourage participation in both casual and formal varieties of baseball and softball. MLB and USA Softball have jointly hosted a number of PLAY BALL events over the years, notably each year in Oklahoma City.
Members of the 2020 USA Softball WNT are currently in Washington DC for the announcement of the partnership and will continue their promotional tour in New York City on January 24 to visit MLB headquarters in addition to media interviews.
-- Courtesy of USA Softball