ANAHEIM, CA ― This Saturday, October 28, beginning at 9 a.m., more than 900 children with physical and intellectual disabilities from 40 Challenger Division Little League teams will experience the thrill of playing baseball at Angel Stadium in the 12th annual Bank of America Challenger Classic. Created through a partnership between the Angels Baseball Foundation and Bank of America, the Challenger Classic provides young players with the joy of playing America’s favorite pastime alongside their baseball heroes and coaches, on the field at Angel Stadium.
Scheduled to participate in this year’s Bank of America Challenger Classic are Angels Bench Coach Dino Ebel, Catching & Information Coach Steve Soliz, former Angels Chuck Finley, Clyde Wright and Mickey Hatcheralong with Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl. Additionally, 350 Bank of America volunteers, local Little League “Buddies” and pep squads from local high schools will join the Angels to help make it a day to remember for the children. Along with playing a game of baseball, children will have the opportunity to take a team photo with an Angels player, take part in a special medal award ceremony near home plate, see the games displayed on the Jumbotron and enjoy lunch.
“The Challenger Classic is an event that we look forward to hosting every year,” said Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl. “The Angels are proud to partner with Bank of America for the 12th straight season to open up Angel Stadium for these special athletes and their families. The pure joy and excitement displayed by the athletes throughout the day’s events is a great reminder of the impact that baseball has on our community.”
“Each year we partner with the Angels Baseball Foundation to create the Challenger Classic because it is one of the most impactful ways we can promote diversity and inclusion, especially for people with disabilities and their families,” said Allen Staff, Bank of America Market President for Orange County. “Sports are a powerful way to empower young people, celebrate their unique talents and remind them how strong they are. We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the Angels to help create once-in-a-lifetime memories for these children.”
The 2017 Challenger Classic will also host the third annual Fall Festival Resource Fair. Athletes and their families are encouraged to explore what programs and resources are offered in the community not only for youths with disabilities but for the families as well.
Four sets of games will be played starting at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with each age division playing a two-inning, one-hour game on designated diamonds on the outfield grass at Angel Stadium. Families, friends and baseball fans are invited to join Bank of America and the Angels Baseball Foundation at the Bank of America Challenger Classic. Seating is open and free to the public.
The Bank of America Challenger Classic aims to unite the community, increase understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities, and help spread the message of diversity and inclusion. The Challenger Classic is just one example of Bank of America’s national commitment to expanding opportunities for underserved communities through baseball. Another example is through the #MLBmemorybank program, now in its third year, in which Bank of America works with MLB teams and community organizations like Special Olympics to create unforgettable baseball experiences for fans.
The Angels have also stepped up to the plate to increase profits and awareness with other major causes like the OC Food Bank. To learn more, watch the full segment below.