A group of touring baseball professionals will visit Extra Innings-Baltimore North on Friday, April 8 as part of a 12 day visit to the United States to learn from the American baseball community.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State under the auspices of the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission, the Russians are hoping to gain knowledge which will allow them to raise their level of play to American standards.

“This program aims to provide opportunities for the Russian participants to meet with U.S. groups and organizations that may have an interest in helping to facilitate the  
growth of baseball in Russia,” said Aaron Mitich of the Institute of International Education in Washington, who arranged the visit to Extra Innings.

During their visit to Extra-Innings the group will tour the facility, practice  
in professional batting tunnels and purchase top-quality baseball equipment.  They will also seek advice from strength and conditioning coaches to learn techniques which will allow athletes in Russia to get to the next level.

The group arrived in the U.S. on April 5 and began its tour in Washington, D.C.  During their visit, the Russians will meet with professional and youth baseball groups in Baltimore, Aberdeen, where they will tour the Cal Ripken Academy, Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series, and New York to visit the headquarters of Major League Baseball International.

The history of baseball in Russia dates back to 1911 when the crews of the visiting USS Kansas and USS North Carolina played the first baseball game in St. Petersburg in demonstration of the sport. Today, around eleven teams participate in the annual Russian Baseball Championship. Major obstacles facing the development of baseball in Russia include a lack of financial support, limited experience among Russian baseball trainers, inconsistent access to professional baseball equipment, and a scarcity of baseball stadiums.

The participants in this Helping Baseball Take Root in Russia program hope to learn how the baseball community functions in the United States and return home to use this knowledge and experience in implementing their short-term goal of developing baseball in St. Petersburg and the longer-term goal of developing the infrastructure for a baseball organization that will serve the whole of Russia.

Extra Innings-Baltimore North is the proud sponsor of the VSN/Extra Innings Baseball and Softball Player of the Week awards.  Click here to see all of this year’s winners and access our nomination form.