By Charlie McAtee
Dominique “DJ” Boggs vividly remembers one of his early days playing in the Indianapolis RBI program. It was a Spring day in 2013 at the first practice for his under-12 baseball team.
DJ had played baseball since he was three, and his dad had been his primary coach. But not everyone that day was ready for the season.
“I remember some kids showing up at practice and they didn’t know whether they were right-handed or left-handed,” explained DJ. “They had never been taught how to throw a baseball, so the coaches had them throw with both arms to see which one was better.”
From that moment, Boggs realized that he was fortunate to have so much when it came to the game of baseball, and life.
Boggs is one of 15 local players representing Indianapolis this weekend at the RBI Central Regional Tournament in the senior (16-18) division. The tournament gets underway Friday at Grand Park, Noblesville High School and Westfield High School, and runs through Monday morning with the championship games at Butler University.
The tournament will feature 28 teams from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. Winners will advance to the RBI World Series in Vero Beach, Florida in early August.
RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) is a program of Major League Baseball created in 1989. MLB has expanded the program to more than 200 cities throughout the U.S. and Caribbean with about 250,000 boys and girls participating each year.
Locally, almost 2,000 play in the Spring and Summer making Indy one of the largest programs in the country, and possibly the largest program in a non-Major League city.
“RBI is a great because it gives coaches and parents an opportunity to work with a lot of under-privileged kids,” said John Boggs, DJ’s father and coach of the Indy senior team playing this weekend. “RBI helps many kids see a different side of life, and many kids realize that not everybody has the things that you might have.”
The RBI Regional Tournament is divided into three divisions: Senior boys baseball (16-18), Junior boys baseball (13-15) and Girls softball (18U).
While DJ hopes to play baseball professionally in the future, he will attend Ohio Valley University this fall and pitch for the baseball team. He’s undecided on a major at this point but knows that he wants to do something that’s meaningful and makes an impact on the community.
Just like the RBI program.
“Ultimately I want to do something that I enjoy and allows me to care for my family,” DJ said. “I want to be able to give back to the community the way RBI has given back to my community.”
For more information about the RBI program, visit www.playballindiana.org
By Charlie McAtee