Local Communities Awarded Field Refurbishments by Blue Ribbon Panel, Which Included Ryan Howard, Jennie Finch & Cliff Floyd
Submitted by: Major League Baseball
Posted: Jul 16, 2020 – 12:27 PM EST
MARYSVILLE, Ohio and NEW YORK, Jul. 16 /CSRwire/ - The Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program will once again award modern, playable youth baseball and softball field refurbishments to four communities of need within the United States, The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts) and Major League Baseball announced today. In total, more than $200,000 in repairs and upgrades will be made by the end of the year and facilities will open to the public at the recommendation of local health officials.
The organizations receiving grants in 2020 include Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana (Gary, Ind.), City of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods (Memphis, Tenn.), Ferguson Parks & Recreation (Ferguson, Mo.), and the Oakland Athletics Community Fund (Oakland, Calif.).
MLB and Scotts received nearly 500 grant applications across more than 400 cities in 48 states and Washington, D.C. for the 2020 installment of the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program. The winning organizations were chosen by a special blue-ribbon panel which included three-time MLB All-Star & 2008 World Series Champion Ryan Howard, Olympic Gold Medalist & MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch, 1997 World Series Champion & MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd, and additional executive leadership from MLB and Scotts.
“We are pleased to once again partner with Scotts to improve field conditions in these four communities,” said Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development, MLB. “In these difficult times, we hope that one day soon youth baseball and softball can be a unifying force in communities all across our nation. For now, we believe these renovated ballfields can offer some optimism for the future in light of many not being able to play organized baseball and softball yet this year. We look forward to continuing to provide access to quality fields so youth across the nation can continue to play our great game.”
“We’d like to congratulate this year’s grant recipients for being selected for a field refurbishment for their local communities,” said Josh Peoples, SVP, Chief Brand Officer, Scotts Miracle-Gro. “This year we received a record number of applications and the selection process was difficult, to say the least. Preserving greenspaces in our local communities is at the core of our Gro More Good initiative and our hope is that by refurbishing these fields, children will be able to live a healthier and more active lifestyle for years to come.”
MLB and Scotts, a long-time league sponsor, began the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program prior to the 2016 season to provide kids with modern, playable ball fields in communities around the U.S. The Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program is part of Scotts’ Gro More Good initiative to improve children’s health and well-being through increased connection to greenspaces. Scotts is also an official partner of the ‘PLAY BALL’ initiative, the sport’s largest collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, events and casual forms of play. Through 2020, the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program will have renovated two dozen fields with nearly $1.75 million of support.
Ferguson Parks & Recreation is seeking to launch its baseball and softball leagues and provide a safe and high-quality field for area youth to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. With the newly renovated field and partner support, the organization endeavors to inspire youth and increase engagement through free, noncompetitive youth baseball and softball programs. Six years following unrest in the city, Ferguson Parks & Recreation will build upon their commitment to contribute to a greater sense of community and support Ferguson’s future through this effort.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana will award the renovations to the John Will Anderson Club, the first Boys & Girls Club established in Northwest Indiana. Current field conditions at the Club have limited player programming and oftentimes, baseball activities were held inside a gymnasium. Through the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program, the renovated field will create an ideal space to safely gather – a catalyst for the John Will Anderson Club to re-establish itself as the cornerstone of the city.
The city is one of the most diverse, and historically and culturally significant cities in the southern United States. At Willow Park, field deterioration has forced youth baseball programs out of the park. Renovations made through the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program will increase participation and provide the resources needed to achieve a high-quality field experience for local youth.
Raimondi Park is the home field for McClymonds High School, the third-oldest high school in Oakland. Named after the former Minor League Baseball player who was fatally wounded in World War II Ernest “Ernie” Raimondi, the park needed maintenance and facility renovations, with access to quality fields and parks limited throughout the city. With a dearth of playable fields for older age groups and high costs associated with field rentals, the newly renovated field will create a safe and local environment for youth baseball and softball players. The diamond will be renovated in honor of Oakland native and Oakland A’s legend Dave Stewart.
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