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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has big dreams for Baltimore City youth baseball program

Manny Machado talks about giving back to the community during the Manny Machado BaseBOWL Tournament charity event benefiting the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Play Ball baseball program. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun video)

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado's annual BaseBowl Tournament charity event, which took place Sunday at Mustang Alley's, is in its fourth year benefitting the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Play Baseball Program.

Machado said he hopes to see a player from the program join him in the major leagues one day.

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"That's why we're grateful for it," Machado said Sunday about the platform he has to help build youth  baseball programs in Baltimore City. "We're blessed to be in the situation to help out others. We're going to do anything possible to do it, and hopefully one of these little kids will be playing against me one day."

Machado has time to see that. He's just 24 years old and the program his event benefits has grown rapidly over the years.

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The Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Play Baseball Program allows kids ages 12 and under uniforms, equipment and transportation at no cost through city rec centers. The program began in 2013 with 200 kids participating at 14 rec centers, and this season could help 1,000 players at 51 rec centers.

This summer, the program also will renovate two fields and assist community volunteers in starting up youth baseball programs in the Park Heights and Carroll Park neighborhoods.

The event raised $90,000 last year and this year's event raised a rough estimate of $80,000, though final figure won't be known until silent auction events are added up.

Machado, who hosts the BaseBowl even annually with his wife, Yainee, said he hopes to continue to see the program grow, especially since he said he didn't see the help it provides when he was growing up in Miami.

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"I'm going to continue to do it," Machado said. "It's one of the grateful things we have as baseball players. You know, we have the opportunity to do these types of things. Any time you can help kids out, just by a single word or a simple donation, it goes a long way and they remember it forever, so we're just trying to do our best to give back to the community, something that I never had growing up. Whenever you can do that, it's unbelievable."

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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