MLB Groundskeepers and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund Team Up for Day of Service on MLK Day
Each year, the Major League Baseball (MLB) Groundskeepers assemble in January to discuss best practices and industry issues. The conference, sponsored by the Toro Company, Covermaster, Inc. and Turface Athletics, includes a field day during which the groundskeepers renovate a youth field in the surrounding community. This unique “day of service” on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has been a tradition for the MLB groundskeepers for more than 10 years.
This year, Pinellas Park High School in Largo, Florida was selected as the site of a major field renovation as part of the 2010 MLB Groundskeepers Conference in Clearwater Beach, which took place from January 16-18. Groundskeepers from 22 MLB Clubs were in attendance.
The renovation of the baseball field was funded by a $40,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, $15,000 grants from Phillies Charities and the Rays Baseball Foundation, and through equipment, material and labor donations from the MLB Groundskeepers, the Toro Company, Covermaster Inc., Turface Athletics and other local companies.
Beginning in April 2009 and culminating with final touches by the MLB Groundskeepers on January 18, the field renovation involved re-grading the entire field, installing warning tracks, irrigation, wind screen, adding foul poles and a flag pole for installation, re-building home plate and pitchers mounds and building double bullpen mounds. In addition, Pinellas County Schools recently completed the installation of a safety netting system and a Musco Lighting system at the field. The selection of Pinellas Park High School was based on field conditions, use and on-going field maintenance considerations.
The day concluded with a dedication ceremony that included Mike Boekholder, head groundskeeper for the Philadelphia Phillies who spearheaded the renovation, officials from the Pinellas County School District, representatives from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, the Rays Baseball Foundation, conference sponsors and Field Day contributors.
“We deeply appreciate the support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the MLB Groundskeepers,” said John Johnston, Pinellas Park High School principal. “Pinellas Park High School has a strong passion and love for the game of baseball. This renovation will make a lasting positive impact on not just our own players, but on players from our community and local little league organizations. We are delighted to team up with Major League Baseball for this field renovation, and we commend them for their commitment to making baseball accessible to everyone.”
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund sends a special thanks to all of the MLB Groundskeepers, Phillies Charities, the Rays Baseball Foundation, conference sponsors and Field Day contributors for supporting youth baseball!