As I entered my new office at 245 Park Avenue for the first day of my internship, I paused to consider the opportunity in front of me. I was surrounded by a mix of nostalgic memorabilia that gave a nod to baseball’s glorious past and an enthusiastic group of co-workers who are defining what the future of baseball and softball looks like for our youth. And so went my first reaction to working for the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF), a joint initiative of Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to promote the growth of youth participation in baseball and softball.
As a second year MBA student at New York University’s Stern school, I’ve had the chance to interact with executives at a number of top class organizations in the sports industry including Nike, the NBA, and the NFL. I can assure you that the philanthropic efforts at each of these companies, and most certainly MLB, impact hundreds of thousands of children around the world every year. The charitable work of each of the companies is doubly important because sports have the unique ability to help our youth develop all important interpersonal skills like teamwork, leadership and fair play in an engaging and fast-paced environment. Only after mastering these skills can an individual be successful both on and off the field.
The opportunity to work with the BTF particularly appealed to me because it combines many of my passions – volunteering, sports and marketing. Some of my past travels have taken me to an orphanage in Jamaica to run a soccer camp and to youth rehabilitation centers in London to connect troubled teenagers and professional athletes. In each case, the influence of sports was able to transcend barriers and deliver a positive impact to those who were in need. The BTF shares this same ethos by funding programs, fields, coaches’ training, and the purchase of uniforms and equipment to encourage and maintain youth participation in the game.
In my three months at MLB I’ll be working on several projects such as planning for 2011 Equipment Day, developing social media strategy and maintaining social media properties, and increasing the effectiveness of our website. I look forward to working with a group of people who shares my passions and to making a positive social impact in a tangible way.
A partner of BTF, the Toro Company announces three special winners this week!
Casey Dallas has been announced as the recipient of the annual Toro Super Bowl Sports Turf Training Program. Dallas will be on-site during Super Bowl XLV to help the grounds crew prepare the field for the biggest football game of the year. For over 40 years, Toro equipment and representatives have been involved with the preparation of the stadium and practice fields for the NFL’s Super Bowl. Learn more here.
Chase Straw and Tom Serensits will be honored at the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Annual Awards Banquest as the recipients of the 13th annual James R. Watson Scholarship. Estbalished in 1998, the scholarship is given in honor of Dr. James R. Watson, a long-time agronomist at The Toro Company. Learn more here.
In 2007, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the Toro Company reached an agreement to make field maintenance equipment and knowledge more accessible to youth baseball and softball organizations. The agreement makes Toro a “Preferred Supplier of Irrigation Systems and Turfgrass Maintenance Equipment” to the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.
Baby, it’s cold outside!
How do you keep kids moving when the temperature outside drops? The City of Grand Island had a bright idea–bring the kids indoor! In 2010, the city constructed a 70,000 square-foot Community Fieldhouse in order to provide year-round training opportunities. The building now serves as a multi-sport facility, including baseball, softball, basketball and soccer.
Over the winter break, the Community Fieldhouse provided a baseball clinic for over 60 youth participants.Nebraska-Kearney head baseball coach Damon Day and a former/present UNK players were on-hand to assist the young players.
A Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant provided funding for the purchase of batting cages, pitching machines, portable pitching mounds and pitching tunnels.
Check out the full story here.
Contributed by Josh Cole, head baseball coach.
Despite the mid-40′s temperatures and consistent rainfall this past Saturday morning, over 30 players from ages 8-16 were able to receive batting instruction and repetitions at the high school campus on the 18th. Youth players were rotated around the new indoor cages, participating in 14 different hitting drills and stations to improve their overall hitting abilities. Josh Cole, head baseball coach at Tattnall County High, Sherry Richards, head softball coach at Tattnall County High, and Brandon Peterson, head baseball coach at Southeast Bulloch High, headed up a team of the high school baseball and softball players that instructed the youth participants and engaged them in the drills and philosophies that are executed at the high school level.
The camp was a big success despite the conditions outside, which is a tribute to the new facility that has been provided for the community by local businesses, personal donations, and the generous grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. The coaches involved were excited to get to see, for the first time, the youth of the community benefiting from the facility. This is the first of many camps and clinics that will be hosted at the facility for the Tattnall County youth players, as the coaches hope to see the number of participants in the camps grow as time goes on.
“We hope to see a situation where the participation in youth sports increases over time, said Cole. “I think that if we put stock in teaching the young players how to play the game the right way and give them knowledge and power to perform better, it will spark a higher interest and appreciation for the game. The new indoor facility, on its inaugural run, was our savior today. I know that there are a lot of people who are proud to know that. So many people in the community and even outside the community put so much time and effort into this facility. Today, we were really able to see the benefit from having such a place to workout with the young players.”