In conjunction with the two-game "Legend Series" between the New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins to be played March 15th-16th at Panama City's Rod Carew Stadium, a youth clinic will be conducted for 50 young ballplayers from across Panama on Saturday, March 15th. The clinic is being held with the support of the American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama (AMCHAM).
The clinic will feature members of the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins interacting with and providing tips to the young ballplayers. The 50 children taking part in the clinic are between the ages of eight and twelve and will each receive tickets to the game on Sunday afternoon. Panamanian former Major Leaguer Omar Moreno, a member of the 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates and National League stolen base leader in 1978 and 1979, will also assist in the clinic and sign autographs for the participants. The clinic will take place at Leon Motta Stadium, located behind Rod Carew Stadium, and will feature local coaches working with the children on improving their baseball skills.
The "Legend Series" marks the return of Major League Baseball to Panama for the first time since 1947 and will honor the legacy of newly retired Yankees great Mariano Rivera, the game's all-time saves leader. Tickets for the two-game set, part of the 2014 MLB Spring Training Schedule, can be purchased at www.ticketplus.com.pa.
The Legend Series will mark a new chapter in Major League Baseball's history in Panama. Members of the Yankees, under Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy, trained in Panama in February of 1946 and played against an all-star team from the Panamanian professional league before an estimated crowd of 10,000 fans on February 21st. In the spring of 1947, the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers played several exhibition games in Panama during a trip that also included stops in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
The Marlins-Yankees match-up is a renewal of the 2003 World Series. Both Clubs have participated in previous international events. Most recently, the Marlins squared off against the New York Mets in regular season games held at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2010. The team also traveled to Puerto Rico in 2003 and 2004 for regular season games against the Montreal Expos, who played a portion of their home schedule on the island. In addition, the Marlins played a pair of Spring Training exhibition games against the Houston Astros in Mexico City in 2004. The Yankees opened the 2004 Championship Season at the Tokyo Dome in Japan against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Overall, Panama will become the seventh country to host a contest between two Major League Clubs. MLB and the MLBPA have staged regular season contests in Mexico (1996, 1999), Japan (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012) and Puerto Rico (2001, 2003-2004, 2010) in addition to Spring Training matchups in the Dominican Republic (1999-2000), Mexico (1999-2004, 2008-2010), Venezuela (2000-2001) and China (2008).
There are currently four Panamanian players on 40-Man Major League rosters, including Atlanta catcher Christian Bethancourt; Arizona pitcher Randall Delgado; Philadelphia All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz; and infielder Ruben Tejada of the New York Mets. Panama has produced 50 Major League players all-time, including Rivera; Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who was an 18-time All-Star and the winner of seven career batting titles; and Carlos Lee, a three-time All-Star who finished his 14-year Major League career with the Marlins in 2012.
Rod Carew Stadium, the most prominent baseball facility in Panama, opened in October 1999 and most recently played host to the Qualifier for the 2013 World Baseball Classic in November 2012. Team Brazil advanced to the 2013 World Baseball Classic after winning the Qualifier, which also featured the national teams of Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama.