07/09/2004 8:42 PM ET
MLB hits a homer with FanFest
Events show baseball's community involvement
By Christie Cowles / MLB.com
|MLB.com kid reporter Michael McHugh makes a Kindervision child safety video. (Christie Cowles/MLB.com)
HOUSTON -- Kids and adults at the John Hancock All-Star FanFest can stop by Major League Baseball's Baseball Cares booth to participate in fun activities and learn how baseball is working to assist communities throughout the country. Throughout the week, MLB's Community Affairs and Educational Programming department has organized events, contests, baseball clinics and a variety of activities for kids.
"We want to let people know that we have a deep-rooted concern in the community, that we do things that will benefit the community," said Barbra Silva, Senior Coordinator of Community Affairs for Major League Baseball. "So we highlight certain initiatives at our booth."
Fans are invited to watch the Century 21 Mascot Home Run Derby on Saturday, July 10 at 10 a.m. at the "Diamond" at FanFest. Eight baseball team mascots will be paired with eight children from the Houston area Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the official charity of MLB, to participate in the derby. The mascot who wins the home derby title will also win his Boys & Girls Club partner a Century 21 Dream Clubhouse.
Astros pitcher Roger Clemens will host a baseball clinic for kids from the local Boys & Girls Clubs as well as children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation at FanFest's "Diamond" on Sunday, July 11 at 3:30 p.m. Fans will have a chance to sit in on the clinic in the Diamond's bleachers and listen to Clemens give pitching tips.
Make-A-Wish children will have an opportunity to create stuffed animals at the Build-A-Bear workshop at FanFest, and kids from the local Boys & Girls Club will have a chance to meet the Build-A-Bear mascot.
"Bearemy from the Build-A-Bear Workshop will be visiting with Boys & Girls Club kids here on Monday," said Jana Perry, Manager of Community Affairs and Educational Programming for MLB. "We have the Make-A-Wish children who will make bears on Sunday morning. So we're excited, there's a lot of different things going on for the kids."
At the Baseball Cares booth, fans will have an opportunity to meet Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, during a signing event for her new book "Promises to Keep," on Monday, July 12 from 1-2 p.m. Fans in attendance will receive a free copy of the book during the event.
Kids will have the opportunity to enter contests and play games at the booth to win prizes from MLB and its charitable partners.
Fans can enter MLB's Join the Major Leagues at your library (JTML) trivia contest for a chance to win tickets to a 2004 World Series game. Fans who can correctly answer the four baseball trivia questions will win a prize and be entered into the ticket drawing.
"You can come in, look through the playbook, answer questions and win some fun stuff," said Silva.
JTML was developed by MLB, the MLB Players Association and the American Library Association to promote 21st century literacy among kids and adults.
Also at the booth, kids can participate in a strike zone game sponsored by VERB/American Heart Association for a chance to win hackeysacks and frisbees. Parents can answer VERB's "Learn and Live Quiz" to receive a "100 Years of the World Series" DVD. VERB promotes healthy lifestyles and works to displace unhealthy, risky behavior among children.
"[VERB's] catch phrase is 'Just Do' -- so basically it's making sure kids get out there and do stuff, whether they play, whether they go biking, running -- just to get out there and be active," said Silva.
Young fans can receive a baseball card of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter with a drug-free pledge on the back. Jeter is one of the national spokespersons for the pledge program, run by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Children will receive a free Jeter poster when they sign the pledge to remain drug free.
Kids can create a free child safety video from KinderVision, a community service organization in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that works to protect families with the personalized video program. Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers is the national spokesperson for KinderVision.
The TEAM Coalition, Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management, will be promoting its "Responsibity Has Its Rewards" initiative. Posters of MLB ballparks, TEAM pencils and pens will be given away at the booth, along with cards explaining the program.
"It's a reponsible-driver program -- have a designated driver when you go to the ballpark," said Silva. "You can have fun, but it's important to not drink and drive."
People who sign up for the designated driver programs at their local ballparks will have a chance to win World Series tickets. One fan particating at each club is selected to enter TEAM's drawing. The American and National League champion teams' selected participants receive tickets to the first game of the World Series played in their home city. One TEAM program participant from the remaining 28 teams will win 2005 All-Star Game tickets.
Information will be available at the Baseball Cares booth regarding National Kids Day, an initiative of the Boys & Girls Clubs, encouraging parents to spend meaningful time with their children. Kids Day is the first Sunday in August each year. Copies of the "Making Memories Guide" will be available to give parents some ideas of fun ways to spend the day with their kids. Many baseball teams have special events planned for Kids Day, which is August 1st this year.
A display at the booth will honor Roberto Clemente with children's drawings about the player who was known not only for his baseball skills, but also for his great humanitarian efforts. The display will give history and information regarding the John Hancock Roberto Clemente Award and Roberto Clemente Day.
MLB's Baseball Cares booth will be open at FanFest from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Tuesday, July 13.
"So far it's been very good. We're having our stream of kids come in," Silva said. "We're just looking forward to meeting our goal of having 80,000 people come through FanFest between now and Tuesday."
Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.