President's Cup will restore public vs. private rivalries and bring diverse crowd together

March 24, 2011|By Baltimore Sun staff report

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Baltimore City Schools CEO Andrés Alonso and Tim Holley, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association vice president and Baseball Sport Committee chairman, announced the formation of the President's Cup -- a citywide baseball tournament designed to bring together the city's public and private school teams -- at a City Hall press conference Thursday.

Young said he pushed to create the President's Cup as a way to showcase youth baseball, which has been on the decline in many cities, including Baltimore, for much of the past decade.

"Baseball was something we played every day as kids, and we don't see that today," he said. "One fond memory I have is when my rec league, which didn't have uniforms or new equipment, went up to play a mixed-race team that had batting cages, new uniforms, spikes and all the best equipment. No one thought we'd win, but we won that game. That's the kind of healthy competition that evens the playing fields and brings together the city's youth."

On April 2, a welcome event for the President's Cup will be held at Sports Legends Museum to celebrate the city's rich baseball history. Tournament play will begin April 9 and continue through April 16, when the championship game will be held at Camden Yards. The private schools taking part are Boys' Latin, Friends, Gilman, Mount St. Joseph and St. Frances. On April 7, Baltimore City Public Schools' Office of Interscholastic Athletics will choose the top three public schools to participate in the tournament.

Holley remembers a time when teams from all over the city played regularly, and is looking forward to rekindling some of those rivalries.

"There's a rich history of youth baseball in Baltimore," he said. "The Maryland Scholastic Association, which died in 1993, was, in its day, the only high school organization in the country that integrated public, parochial and independent schools, all in one league. The President's Cup will bring back the issues and nostalgia of those days. It's a great opportunity to bring kids from diverse backgrounds together, to join in a cooperative spirit."

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