(Roselawn) -- With current and former Reds stars, and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball present, the Reds' Urban Youth Baseball Academy has been officially opened.
The facility, at Roselawn Park, will teach baseball skills to children from ages 6 to 18. It will also offer courses on baseball related careers, including sportscasting, sports journalism, field management, umpiring and scouting.
Reds great Frank Robinson says when he was learning to play the game, kids played in the streets, or in vacant fields. But he says those places are gone, and the Urban Youth Academy takes their place.
The facility features four outdoor fields, and batting cages, and an indoor field.
Joey Votto says it looks a lot like their spring training facility, in Goodyear, Arizona.
Robinson says there is one stipulation for playing at the Youth Academy: kids have keep their grades up. He says there will be a tutoring program to help.
Jay Bruce says giving kids the chance to play on a team, and earn a sense of accomplishment and individuality is not something he can take for granted. He named a field after his sister, who is a special needs student.
Major League Baseball's Commissioner says this Academy, along with the others now open, or under construction, will make a difference in the lives of kids. Bud Selig says since 2007, more than 100 Academy graduates have been drafted by Major League teams, and six of them are playing now.
The Reds Urban Youth Academy is the fifth MLB facility of its type to open, and the first in the Midwest. The others are in Puerto Rico, Houston, New Orleans, and Compton, California.