07/06/11 1:13 PM ET
All-Star activities to benefit host of charities
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Today, there is a positive and lasting legacy for any All-Star host community.
Major League Baseball and the host D-backs will be host to charitable initiatives and activities in the Greater Phoenix area, starting Friday and leading up to Tuesday's 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field. The All-Star Week community effort, with financial and volunteer support from some of the game's major sponsors, will support children, veterans, cancer research and awareness organizations, and will highlight the importance of environmental consciousness.
MLB and the D-backs will donate more than $5 million from a portion of the proceeds from Monday's Gatorade All-Star Workout Day toward a variety of local and national charities, including Stand Up To Cancer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Arizona State Veteran Home and the Foundation for Blind Children. Since 1997, more than $45 million has been donated to non-profit organizations from Gatorade All-Star Workout Day proceeds.
"Leaving a lasting legacy for the communities that host the Midsummer Classic each year is an important tradition for Major League Baseball," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "I am proud that we can have a positive impact on young people, veterans and those in need with contributions made by MLB, the D-backs and our partners."
Here is a schedule of community activities during All-Star Week:
Challenger-Champions Game. Special needs children from Little League's Challenger and PONY Baseball/Softball Champions divisions will play a one-inning game on the outfield grass of Chase Field. Bank of America will provide 35 volunteers for the event, representative of the 300 bank employees who are delivering more than 1,000 hours of service to community projects throughout Phoenix during All-Star Week.
Jr. RBI Classic Opening Ceremonies. This is the official start of the third annual friendly round-robin tournament, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. It consists of nine baseball and four softball teams of 11-12 year olds from around the country, including Joplin (Mo.) South Little League, whose players were impacted by the devastating tornados back home. The field also includes the players from Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community RBI, featuring the first team in Jr. RBI Classic history whose entire roster is of Native American descent.
Tournament games will be held at Chaparral Park (softball) and Salt River Fields (baseball) -- the shared Spring Training site of the D-backs and Rockies, and the first MLB Spring Training facility built on Native American land. RBI playing divisions are a part of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), the MLB youth initiative designed for young people from underserved communities that provides opportunities to play baseball and softball, teaches the value of teamwork and encourages academic success. The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will support the 2011 Jr. RBI Classic with skills clinics in baseball and softball.
Starlight Fun Center Dedication. MLB and the D-backs, in partnership with Starlight Children's Foundation, will unveil a Fun Center mobile entertainment unit for young patients at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. The unit features a Nintendo Wii, DVD player and a Sharp AQUOS LCD TV, and it can be easily rolled up to the side of a young patient's bed or anywhere in a hospital setting -- making them perfect for hospitalized children in numerous situations. Since 2005, MLB and Starlight have placed about 50 Fun Centers in hospitals across America, including during the last World Series at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas.
MLB All-Star Project with Rebuilding Together. As an extension of MLB's commitment to Welcome Back Veterans, renovations will be made to the Arizona State Veteran Home, including the remodeling of the entry area and patio, in addition to the construction of shade covers for patient vans. A greenhouse will be constructed for the therapeutic gardening program, as well as for use by the facility's culinary staff and local horticultural clubs to demonstrate and teach about sustainable food practices.
Additional renovations include those to a recreation room for veterans, and various exterior landscaping upgrades. The Arizona State Veteran Home is a 200-bed Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility located two miles north of Chase Field, and is a state-owned-and-operated facility located adjacent to the Veterans Administration Medical Center. ASVH serves the long-term care and rehabilitative needs of the veterans of Arizona.
This project is supported by MLB and the D-backs with a $100,000 donation, and Bank of America, which is making a $75,000 donation and providing nearly 100 employee volunteers toward the project. Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, is donating Miracle-Gro materials for the greenhouse project.
Prior to the XM Futures All-Star Game at Chase Field, Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and Futures Game managers Luis Gonzalez and Mike Piazza will present a ceremonial check to the Diamondbacks RBI program, which is one of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities programs.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a joint initiative of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to provide grants to youth baseball and softball programs across the country.
Each year the fund teams up with MLB clubs to organize equipment collection drives to support the growth of youth baseball and softball programs. In conjunction with this year's equipment days, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will award $150,000 to organizations in need of equipment.
MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch A Kieckhefer Family Legacy. That will become the new official name of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix. With assistance from Magical Builders, MLB and the D-backs will reveal comprehensive renovations -- value at $2 million -- to the club, including a new game room, teen center, main entry, multi-use outdoor sports field, restrooms, cafeteria, kitchen, youth media center, youth computer lab, building façade and security gate.
Environmentally sensitive materials and elements have been incorporated into the renovation process. Additionally, a new turf field and backstop will be added to the youth baseball field. The club serves an at-risk youth population in South Phoenix and is an important destination for young people in the community. A fixture in the southwest Phoenix community for more than 50 years, the club serves more than 1,500 young people, many of whom live at or below the poverty level.
MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Vision Center for Innovation at the Foundation for Blind Children. A $1 million check will be presented to this foundation in Phoenix, targeted for a new lab and learning center that will provide state-of-the-art vision technology, training on use of smartphone devices as well as special Braille note takers, laptops, closed circuit television, magnifiers and translation software. Additionally, the donation will provide service technology, upgrades when needed, evaluations and assessments of blind and visually-impaired students. The center will provide resources to nearly 2,000 Arizona children, including hundreds of rural children who do not have access to advanced assistive vision technology.
American Legion Post 41 Viewing Party. A portion of the proceeds from Gatorade All-Star Workout Day will be donated to this Legion post in Phoenix, to assist in rebuilding the roof structure of the organization's 63-year-old building near Chase Field. MLB and the D-backs will host an All-Star Game viewing party there for veterans and their families. The post was opened in 1948 by a group of Mexican-American veterans returning from World War II with a mission to challenge discrimination, better the lives of their community, and provide health care services to families in the community through a well-baby clinic. The Post 41 family consists of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Sons of American Legion and the American Legion Riders. Post 41 also hosts other veterans organizations, including the Marine Corps League and the Airborne Division Association.
In other All-Star Week community news, MLB also will:
Host the 2011 Breaking Barriers Essay Contest grand prize winner, Meggie Zahneis from West Chester Township, Ohio. Her winning essay was chosen from more than thousands of entries from across the country.
Host six young people with life-threatening medical conditions from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Their wish is to attend the All-Star Game.
Partner with TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) to promote responsible alcohol education through FanFest attraction and designated driver recognition during the All-Star Game.