Verizon SuperPages Steps Up to the Plate with $25,000 Donation to Tri-City ValleyCats Reading Program

Albany -- The Joseph L. Bruno Stadium became a "field of dreams" at 1:00 p.m. today when renowned actor and Verizon spokesperson James Earl Jones read "Casey at the Bat" to young baseball fans. Jones also helped Verizon SuperPages present a $25,000 check to the Tri-City ValleyCats Reading Program, which teams up books and baseball to promote literacy among children throughout the Capital Region.

The audience of 80 boys and girls enrolled in the Tri-City ValleyCats Summer Baseball Clinic were encouraged by Jones to register for their local library reading programs which foster reading beyond the school year. To kick off the Tri-City ValleyCats Reading Program, 50,000 educational newspaper tabloids were distributed to elementary schools and libraries in May throughout Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady. During the school year Tri-City ValleyCats players visited area elementary schools to promote the reading program.

"Verizon SuperPages, the Tri-City Valley Cats and James Earl Jones all share the belief that reading is the most important way to prepare children for successful lives, wherever their paths may lead them," said ValleyCats General Manager Rick Murphy. "We encourage all fans -- even those who see themselves playing for the Tri-City ValleyCats someday -- to read whatever interests them, because they may grow up to be all-star catchers, teachers or doctors.

"The summer reading program includes three Verizon SuperPages Educational Nights at baseball games on July 16, July 24 and August 11. Children who join the summer reading program at their local library receive a free ticket to a Tri-City ValleyCats baseball game and have the opportunity to participate in a book donation program, which rewards them with a free soda.

"Verizon SuperPages wants to show children that reading can be fun, just like baseball," said Pat Marshall, vice president, marketing of Verizon Information Services. "Whether they are learning about yesterday's heroes or following today's players in the newspaper, reading is key."

Verizon Information Services supports community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy of both children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate. These programs are part of Verizon's commitment to leading the effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Recently, Verizon SuperPages.com added two new community and literacy sections to its website: Enlighten Me for families and the Internet Learning Tutor for adults. Enlighten Me features SuperThinkers, a children's section featuring games and challenges designed to develop critical thinking skills in a fun setting.

For a list of participating libraries participating with the Tri-City ValleyCats Reading Program call 518-629-2287.

About the Tri-City ValleyCats

The Tri-City ValleyCats, a Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros and a member of the New York-Penn League, play at the new Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. Alumnus of the New York-Penn League include Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Andy Pettite and Wade Boggs, to name a few. Last year alone, over 170 players from the New York-Penn League were playing at the Major League level. The Tri-City ValleyCats play a 76-game schedule that commenced on June 21. See the stars of tomorrow... today. Come out to "The Joe" and catch 'em on the way up!

About Verizon Information Services and SuperPages.com

Verizon Information Services is the world's leading print and online directory publisher, a content provider for communications products and services, and the largest publisher of Hispanic directories in the U.S. With operations in 16 countries and annual revenues of more than $4.3 billion, Verizon Information Services publishes nearly 1,200 U.S. Verizon SuperPages directories and 400 international directories with a total circulation of approximately 150 million copies worldwide.

Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services produces and markets SuperPages.com, the Internet's #1 online directory and shopping resource. SuperPages.com receives as many as 13 million visits and 9 million unique visitors a month and powers directory services on MSN, InfoSpace, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, BigFoot, Tripod and Angelfire as well as more than 2,500 affiliate Web sites.

The company supports computer literacy with philanthropic programs and through the Enlighten Me and Internet Learning Tutor sites on SuperPages.com. Enlighten Me is a fun site where children and their caregivers go to read, learn and explore. The Internet Learning Tutor is specifically designed for adults who are just learning their way around the Internet.

Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon is leading the fight to increase U.S. literacy levels by creating community and corporate awareness, raising funds, encouraging collaboration among literacy providers and engaging employees in supporting literacy programs.

About James Earl Jones -- Verizon Spokesperson

Mr. Jones first became the voice of Bell Atlantic in 1989 when he was featured in a commercial campaign for Bell Atlantic Directory Services. He proved to be so popular that he was adopted as a corporate-wide spokesperson in 1995. And, when GTE and Bell Atlantic merged in June 2000 to become Verizon Communications, that partnership was extended. Mr. Jones' current activities as corporate spokesperson for Verizon include participation in many literacy and educational events such as today's program with the Tri-City ValleyCats at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

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