DURHAM, N.C. -- Major League Baseball and USA Baseball announced that the fifth annual Breakthrough Series will be held in the Triangle-area of North Carolina from July 22-26, 2012.
Held at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., from 2008-2009, the Breakthrough Series is designed to showcase a diverse group of rising high school players representing urban areas throughout the United States. Invited athletes typically have not participated in other travel and high-end tournaments prior to the Breakthrough Series, providing them with an opportunity for exposure. The event will consist of instruction and a round-robin series highlighted by a Tuesday morning showcase game held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park that will be aired on the MLB Network.
"Major League Baseball is excited to showcase the Breakthrough Series at USA Baseball's state-of-the art National Training Complex and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park as an important part of our continuing efforts to strengthen amateur baseball," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, Executive Vice President, Baseball Development, Major League Baseball. "Expanding the academic and athletic opportunities available to our game's promising young players through the exposure of the Breakthrough Series remains a priority of Major League Baseball."
Games will be played both at the USA Baseball National Training Complex (NTC) in Cary, N.C., and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), located in downtown Durham, N.C. A tentative is as follows:
Sunday, July 22 -- Arrival day, welcome dinner, MLB and Major League Scouting Bureau symposium
Monday, July 23 -- Player testing day (morning at NTC), evening games/workouts at the NTC
Tuesday, July 24 -- Televised showcase game (morning at DBAP)/workouts at the NTC, evening game/workouts at the NTC
Wednesday, July 25 -- Morning games/workouts at the NTC, evening games/workouts at the NTC
Thursday, July 26 -- Departure day
"We're happy to assist our friends at USA Baseball and MLB in hosting the Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park," Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said. "This is a great event for these kids and it is a privilege for us to participate."
Many college coaches are expected to attend the event to recruit players who demonstrate outstanding potential but who may not have had the opportunity for exposure through other summer events. The tournament will consist of eighty players selected by the Major League Scouting Bureau, the MLB Urban Youth Academy, the Atlanta-based organization Mentoring Viable Prospects (MVP), the Chicago White Sox and USA Baseball. USA Baseball will work with the athletes to facilitate communication between players and college recruiters.
"In its short history, the Breakthrough Series has proven to be an excellent avenue for Major League scouts and college recruiters to see some of the nation's best amateur players from urban areas," said Frank Marcos, Director of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. "The MLB Scouting Bureau is looking forward to identifying and scouting these players on behalf of Major League Baseball."
This 2012 Breakthrough Series will feature athletes from across the U.S., making it a truly national showcase event. USA Baseball pays for each player's expenses and works closely with all of the selected participants leading up to the event, distributing information to both players and parents.
The USA Baseball National Training Complex opened in the summer of 2007. Since then the four-field, world class facility has hosted a variety of USA Baseball events and teams, including the bronze medal-winning 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team and the gold medal-winning 2009 World Cup Team. The complex was also the home of the 2008 UNC Chapel Hill Tar Heels baseball team, whose on-field success that season also earned them to right to host a regional and super-regional in Cary.
The Durham Bulls Athletic Park was designed by HOK Sport + Venue + Event, architects of Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Coors Field in Colorado along with many other stadiums opened in the past 10 years. The $16-million brick ballpark opened in 1995 and was expanded to a 10,000-seat capacity for the 1998 season, the year the Bulls began playing in the Triple-A International League.
For more information on the Breakthrough Series, please contact Jeff Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 474-8721 x227.