UK’s next baseball star could hail from East London

UK’s next baseball star could hail from East London

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball icons Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard visited Raneleigh Primary School to announce the legacy gift which will go toward a new square for the kids to hone their skills on.

The three MLB icons then showed the students at Raneleigh Primary School what it takes to make it in the major leagues, introducing the children to a series of MLB First Pitch games and activities designed to give young people a small taste of what baseball is all about ahead of a mouth-watering clash between the Cubs and Cardinals at London Stadium this weekend.

Baseball is a hidden secret in the UK, followed by enthusiastic night owls and weekend warriors, and played by a small but resolute community and that is something BaseballSoftballUK are looking to change.

Hosting six MLB regular season games in the UK, across four years provides a unique opportunity to share the magic of baseball, catapult the sport’s popularity and exponentially increase the number of baseball and softball players throughout the country.

BaseballSoftballUK aims to increase participation by making the sports even more inclusive, improving the overall playing experience, and driving elite performance of the national squads by working with and through National Governing Bodies the British Softball Federation and the British Baseball Federation.

Paul Harris, CEO of the Tapscott Learning Trust, believes the students have developed a real passion for baseball after a thrilling week of fun that included a visit to MLB’s First Pitch Festival on Thursday.

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He said: “The children were really excited; they have been building up their understanding of the game just by having fun.

“They certainly started to learn and develop a love for the sport, they were really excited to hear from the commissioner and learn what the sport is like in the USA.

 “It is a newer sport to the children, and it engages them, it is something that doesn’t have preconceived notions of traditional sports.”

MLB First Pitch gives the children the opportunity to experience the five fundamental baseball skills of hitting, fielding, running, pitching and gameplay,

And some of those Raneleigh Primary School still have another exciting day to look forward to.

They are in line to be mascots when the Cubs and the Cardinals play out the latest edition of their historic rivals at London Stadium.

Harris added: “They are all engaged and actually a number of our children will be mascots at the games, so it is really starting to engage them and the community into the sport.”

“It is vital that we engage children as much as possible in any new sport to try and ensure that they are active, healthy and having fun.

“If we can do that it will help with their learning as well.

“What we want to do is give the kids access to a wide range of sports to make sure that they are engaged at a younger age and hopefully that carries on for the rest of their lives.

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“I am going to see my first match this weekend, and who knows, I will hopefully become a massive fan.”

BaseballSoftballUK is the national development and performance agency for baseball and softball in the United Kingdom and the accountable body for safeguarding baseball and softball, and for government investment from UK Sport and Sport England into the sport – visit

  • June 25, 2023