04/13/2010 1:16 PM ET
Major League Baseball Clubs Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
MLB Becomes First Professional Sports League to Create League-Wide Environmental Data Collection Program
In recognition of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Major League Baseball Clubs will host a variety of greening events and incorporate environmental initiatives into their games to help raise awareness for environmental issues. In the lead up to April 22, on Earth Day, and throughout the remainder of the season, the Clubs will host special events at their parks, educate fans about environmentally responsible behavior, conduct green events in their cities and initiate a host of other activities designed to promote the importance of environmentally friendly practices.
In addition, as part of Major League Baseball's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, MLB is developing, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a comprehensive software system to collect and analyze stadium operations data to develop and distribute best practice information across the 30 Clubs. This is the first time a professional sports league will implement a software program throughout the league to collect data for the purpose of documenting environmental practices and for sharing information about environmental best practices at stadiums.
"Major League Baseball has responsibilities to our fans and society at large that go beyond the playing field," said Baseball Commissioner, Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Our Clubs have made a commitment to sustainability and are leaders in their communities raising awareness and educating fans not just on Earth Day, but everyday about environmental stewardship."
MLB Clubs have worked with the NRDC during the past few years to develop recycling programs, reduce their energy use, purchase renewable energy and educate fans about what they can do to reduce their impact on the planet. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, MLB Clubs will continue to use their unique visibility to encourage fans to become more eco-conscious through a variety of eco-themed activities, highlights include:
- Atlanta Braves: The Braves will showcase the green initiatives that the Club and their partners practice every day as part of their Field of Green night taking place Wednesday, May 19. Fans are encouraged to bring recyclables to the ballpark that evening in exchange for a discounted ticket to the game.
- Boston Red Sox: Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22 at Fenway Park during pregame ceremonies and throughout the game with scoreboard mentions, and all efforts will be presented by National Grid, the club's partner in implementing environmentally-friendly initiatives at the ballpark. The Poland Spring Green Team, an all-volunteer group now in its third year, will make seat visits throughout the game to collect recyclables from fans. The Red Sox also partner with Coca-Cola, Waste Management and Anheuser-Busch in recycling efforts in the ballpark and its Front Offices year-round. Fans will also see new water-efficient fixtures that were installed in new restrooms on the mezzanine level of Fenway Park, as well as the Visitor's Clubhouse and Grounds Crew Locker Room.
- Chicago White Sox: On Thursday, April 22 the White Sox will feature in-game videos providing conservation and recycling tips, along with White Sox "Green Initiative" facts on how fans can become more involved in helping protect the Earth.
- Cincinnati Reds: The Reds are partnering with outfielder Chris Dickerson's organization "Players for the Planet" to promote e-waste collection drives on April 22 and 24 at two local Kroger stores. The Reds will also purchase Renewable Energy Credits to off-set the carbon emissions for the Earth Day game. Representatives from Duke Energy and Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District will be at Great American Ball Park on Earth Day to provide fans with valuable information about how to save energy, increase recycling and reduce waste at home. During the 7th inning stretch of the Earth Day game, a "Green Team" comprised of 30-40 local volunteers will walk the aisles of the ballpark collecting recyclables from fans. At the April 25 game, the first 10,000 kids at the ballpark will receive a free eco-friendly kids water bottle. For the 2010 season, over 1,000 members of the ballpark staff are wearing polo shirts made from recycled PET plastic bottles. Each shirt contains yarn made from six to seven recycled plastic bottles.
- Cleveland Indians: All fans entering Progressive Field on Saturday, April 17 will receive an Indians Recycled Cap made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The cap will be green with white script "Indians" across the front. Indians players will also wear a special New Era Cap during the game made out of recycled material.
- Detroit Tigers: The first 10,000 fans will receive a "Going, Going, Green!" Tigers Coffee Clutch presented by DTE at the game on May 29. Throughout the season, excess food is packed and then distributed to homeless shelters throughout Metro Detroit. Large recycling containers resembling a bottle are used to recycle plastic bottles. In 2007, the Tigers installed the Tiger Den seats, which are composed of recycled plastic milk jugs.
- Houston Astros: The Astros Play Green program enters its third season with an April 22 launch event featuring Play Green ambassador Hunter Pence joining the Astros front office staff at the Westbury Community Garden project to construct the garden's learning pavilion which will educate children about organic foods, healthy eating, and nutrition. Later that evening at Minute Maid Park, the Astros will take the field in green caps and fans will receive information from a variety of Astros partners and environmental community groups on how they can Play Green at a green expo. The Astros will purchase renewable energy credits to ensure that the power supply at Minute Maid Park for the Earth Day game will be "green power". Throughout the season, Pence and Geoff Blum will visit "green" classrooms in the community to read a book encouraging kids to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
- Kansas City Royals: The Royals Green Team presented by Allied Waste is new for the 2010 season and is made up of volunteer groups and stadium staff that will walk the aisles collecting plastics and aluminum from fans during the "Green Stretch". An accompanying public address announcement will encourage fans to use one of the more than 150 recycle bins located around Kauffman Stadium.
- New York Mets: Inviting children from the community to Citi Field on April 28 for an education day to learn about Earth Day and ways they can be more environmentally friendly every day.
- Philadelphia Phillies: Members of the Phillies front office, players' wives and ballgirls will assist with a maintenance project at FDR Park in South Philadelphia in partnership with the Fairmount Park Commission on April 22. Fans are also invited to donate used cell phones inside the First Base Gate at Citizens Bank Park on April 17 and 18 to be donated to the Philadelphia Zoo's "Return the Call of the Wild" program. Funds raised through the program go to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, a nonprofit organization working to conserve endangered primates in Vietnam, home of the douc langur monkey, one of the most-endangered primates in the world. To offset the carbon footprint created by the team's utility power usage at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have purchased 20 million kilowatt-hours of Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). 2010 is the third consecutive year that the Phillies have committed to purchasing 100% renewable energy for the calendar year.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates will begin Earth Day by hosting a litter pick up in the North Shore, the neighborhood of their ballpark. Renewable energy credits have been purchased to offset the afternoon game which will include a pre-game ceremony to honor local environmental leaders. Pirates hats will be given away to all fans, which have been made out of recycled plastic bottles. Finally, as part of the Pirates year-round "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green" program, a "green team" will walk through the park during and after the game to collect recyclables left behind.
- St. Louis Cardinals: Hosting Green Week, April 26 through May 1 to raise awareness for sustainability efforts. These include reducing carbon emissions, energy and water consumption, reusing donated athletic equipment, and recycling plastic and aluminum beverage containers, electronic waste, and phone books. The week will conclude with Bike to Busch, an event focused on promoting environmentally-friendly methods of transportation, in an effort to minimize the carbon emissions created from transportation to and from games. In addition, the Cardinals will offset their energy consumption by purchasing renewable energy credits for the duration of the week.
- San Diego Padres: The Padres will celebrate their green initiative later on in the season with Go Green Night when the Park at the Park will be turned into a green village with environmentally friendly exhibits and displays. Additionally, aluminum water bottles produced from recycled materials will be distributed to the first 25,000 fans attending the September 4 game against the Colorado Rockies.
- San Francisco Giants: Leading up to Earth Day, the Giants, PG&E and the California Academy of Sciences will launch a Green Classroom Challenge, engaging K-8th graders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to make their classroom the "greenest" classroom in the Bay Area. The winning class will be honored in a home plate ceremony on the field. On Sunday, April 25, the Giants will distribute information cards and have videos highlighting environmental messages by their players. The first 20,000 fans will receive a reusable bag. The Giants players plan to wear a patch on their jerseys of the Giants "green" logo which represents the sustainable efforts throughout AT&T Park.
- Seattle Mariners: Earth Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 21. The Mariners are partnering with Cedar Grove Compost for their Second Annual Zero Waste Game. All food service items used at Safeco Field this season including cups, plates, utensils, are compostable. Combined with a comprehensive recycling program and composting all food waste from restaurants and concession stands, the Mariners will significantly reduce the amount of garbage going into the waste stream after each game. In addition, the Mariners are purchasing renewable energy credits to offset carbon emissions from staging the game.
- Texas Rangers: The Rangers will give the first 15,000 fans, 14 and older a reusable shopping bag on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 9. New for 2010, Customer Service Supervisors will be wearing shirts made out of recycled materials.
- Washington Nationals: On Thursday, April 22, the Earth Day Network will be on hand to talk to fans about the impact they have on the environment and distribute information on lessening carbon footprints. In addition, the Nationals will offer two special Earth Day Ticket Promotions for the game: Fans who present their metro farecard or SmarTrip card at the Nationals Park Box Offices will receive $3 off any ticket priced at $10 or more, while those who bring a recyclable item will receive a ticket voucher (printed on recyclable paper) for half price discounts on select tickets for any Mon - Thurs home game in May or June.
In addition to the work by the Clubs, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball has taken steps to coordinate and share environmental data related to operations conducted throughout the League. Data collecting software has been developed by MLB with the guidance of the NRDC that will quantify ballpark operations data from the areas of energy consumption, waste management and recycling, water consumption and paper usage. Clubs will be able to input their monthly numbers in a variety of subcategories within each area, which will then be analyzed in order to share best practices across the League.
The commitment by our national pastime to enhance its ecological profile in a meaningful and public way marks a watershed in the history of the environmental movement," said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council. "No other sporting institution has influenced American culture as much as baseball and MLB is once again putting that influence to very good use. Baseball is a game of statistics and the League's commitment to systematically document and measure environmental practices of all Clubs at all stadiums underscores the leadership and commitment of MLB to make environmental progress. All professional leagues should follow this important example."
Major League Baseball began an alliance with the NRDC in 2006 to identify and promote better environmental practices. Since 2008, MLB has incorporated environmentally intelligent features in All-Star Summer activities including the MLB All-Star Game as well as the World Series. The efforts have included purchasing renewable energy credits, fan education, recycling with MLB Green Teams, building playgrounds from recycled materials, eco-friendly community activities and prioritizing environmental attributes when selecting paper and hospitality items. This relationship also led to the creation of the Team Greening Program featuring NRDC Team Greening Advisors for Major League Baseball, web-based software tools tailored to each MLB Club featuring advice and resources for every aspect of a Club's operations. This unprecedented program was more than two years in development and offers specific local advice concerning such topics as energy use, purchasing, concession operations, water use, recycling and transportation.