Happy Friday from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund! (My very last Friday here in the office, I might add, but I’ll get to that in a second). The past week has been absolutely packed with BTF events, as Cathy and Meghan have traveled to a combined four different cities (including three in the past three days) for Equipment Day check presentations.
Last Saturday, the Texas Rangers hosted an equipment drive, with all donations and a BTF check benefitting the City of Dallas and the Arlington Boys and Girls Club. The following Tuesday, Meghan was in Philadelphia as the Phillies hosted a drive to benefit Heritage Youth League. On Wednesday, Cathy visited Boston as the Red Sox paired up with Kids Gear for Baseball in another collection drive. The Milwaukee Brewers rounded out BTF’s Equipment Day road trip, with Meghan presenting a check to Riverside University High School at Miller Park on Thursday night. Whew!
We’ve got a bit of a break before the next equipment drive, which takes place on Friday, August 5th in Pittsburgh. Let’s hope the Pirates’ success on the field this season will transfer over to success on Equipment Day!
Now, on a more personal note – it looks like my time in New York City is coming to a close more quickly than I had originally planned. I found out on Wednesday that I was selected to travel to Minnesota for the remainder of my MLB internship, where I’ll be helping out with the RBI World Series! While I’m sad to leave the city, I am so excited for this amazing opportunity.
On Sunday morning, I’ll be saying goodbye to the Big Apple for good as I hop on a plane to Minneapolis for the two-week tournament. There, I’ll be assisting with scorekeeping and game operations, first for the RBI softball tournament and the following week for baseball. One cool side note: some of the games will be played at Dunning Park—back in 2009, a BTF grant funded construction for one of the park’s youth fields!
Having worked on baseball/softball tournaments throughout college, I’m excited to get back to that fast-paced, high energy atmosphere that I’ve become accustomed to. Although the tournament schedule I received yesterday is packed full of games and events, I’ll be sure to squeeze in some free time for one thing: my beloved Red Sox will be in town for a three-game series with the Twins while I’m there! It’s fate, I swear.
Despite being out of the office, I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to you all just yet. I’ll continue to blog and tweet about my World Series experience throughout the next two weeks, so be on the lookout for new content. Those of you on Twitter can follow me at @jessi888, where I’ll be posting photos and updates from my trip. Stay tuned!
Now that we’re back in the office and all caught up from All-Star week, BTF would like to provide a quick recap of last weeks’ news and events:
2011 All-Star Futures Game
Last Sunday, BTF made an on-field appearance at the 2011 All-Star Futures Game for a $150,000 check presentation prior to the game. The check, presented to members of the Arizona Diamondbacks RBI program, represented the total number of Equipment Day grants awarded to each of the 30 MLB Clubs throughout the season. The game itself saw the US team make an eighth inning comeback to grab a 6-4 victory over the World team. Oakland A’s prospect Grant Green was named MVP, going 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and the game-tying run in the eighth inning.
Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix
On Monday, July 11th, BTF was at the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix to watch MLB unveil over $2 million in renovations to the club as part of the All-Star Week community initiatives. With help from Magical Builders, MLB and the Arizona Diamondbacks revealed comprehensive renovations including a new games room, teen center, main entry, multi-use outdoor sports field, restrooms and others. Additionally, a new turf field and backstop was added to the club’s youth baseball field. The club, which was officially renamed the MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch A Kieckhefer Family Legacy, serves an at-risk youth population of over 1,500 young people in South Phoenix.
City of Cedar Rapids Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
In 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was leveled with monster floods that devastated the area. In 2009, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded the city with a $75,000 grant for reconstruction of its baseball/softball fields. Last Friday, Cedar Rapids celebrated the completion of the project with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jones Park.
Ron Corbett, Mayor of Cedar Rapids, welcomed everyone to the ceremony as Julie Sina, Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department Director recognized the project contributors and Tom Barbee, president of the Cedar Rapids Kernels Foundation, briefly addressed the crowd. Jack Roeder, former Kernels General Manager, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Al Smith, Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame member, before the ribbon cutting took place.
To view the complete release, click here.
Rockies Equipment Day
BTF Executive Director Cathy Bradley was at Coors Field on Saturday night as the Colorado Rockies took on the Milwaukee Brewers. Before the game, Bradley presented pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and the Rockies organization with a $5,000 Equipment Day check, which will go to the Denver Public Schools Foundation. Our next Equipment Day will take place this Saturday, July 23 in Arlington at Texas Rangers Ballpark. As always, fans are encouraged to bring new or used equipment to the game for donation to a youth organization in need.
Today marks the end of my fifth week of work with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, meaning my internship is now halfway over—Wow! Now that I’ve reached the halfway point, I thought it would be a good time to look back on my experience so far and make a list of my Top Ten MLB Moments since beginning my internship:
- My first day of work at MLB. I still remember the sense of awe I experienced when I walked into this office for the first time as an employee. Seeing the faces of the interns around me reminded me how lucky we all were to be here, and what an amazing opportunity we had in front of us this summer. From the tour of the MLB office to the orientation reminders, that first day made the experience feel real for the first time.
- Going to Citi Field for my first Mets game. Though I’ve been to a number of major league games before, I’ll definitely remember this one. The Mets were playing the Oakland A’s, and just before game time, the sky opened up and it started to pour. I was one of few fans who stayed, and ended up witnessing an intense 13-inning game from a seat right behind the visitors’ dugout. The Mets won, on a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the 13th.
- Working on Equipment Day tallies. One of my projects this summer is to receive results after each MLB Club hosts an Equipment Day. I record specifics about the items collected in a spreadsheet, which is used to describe how well the Clubs do and how the results compare to past years. This project is a really rewarding one, because it lets me see how a little bit of passion by a player or a fan can have huge results (like 1,000 gloves donated in one night!).
- Seeing the gigantic, blown-up image of David Ortiz every time I visit the 30th floor. The Office of the Commissioner has some pretty neat decorations, but this is definitely one of my favorites. The image portrays Ortiz in a classic pose, pointing towards the sky after crushing a homer. As a Red Sox fan, seeing this photo never fails to brighten my day!
- Getting to know the other interns. One of the great aspects of being a summer intern here is the fact that I’m not alone: there are over 50 other interns working in the office, and certain events bring us all together. This week, the interns made short presentations about what they’ve been working on all summer. Hearing these presentations gave me a lot of insight into how different MLB departments and their employees work together to help the organization run smoothly.
- The Red Sox taking back first place from the Yankees just before the All-Star break. No explanation necessary here!
- Mailing out Equipment Day plaques. Spending hours in the mailroom may seem like a mediocre task, but I tried to make the most of it and it actually ended up being pretty cool. BTF recognizes certain Clubs and partners for their participation in Equipment Day each season with a plaque and letter of appreciation. When I saw that one of the shipments I mailed out was going to Nolan Ryan, I realized it was actually a pretty cool/important job I had.
- Watching Heath Bell’s slide into the pitcher’s mound at the All-Star game. Ok, this one is actually tied with seeing Brian Wilson’s spandex tuxedo at the ESPY’s. Gotta give credit to the players for knowing how to entertain fans!
- Becoming a social media expert. Like most college kids, I thought I knew a lot about using Facebook and Twitter before I got here. This summer, though, I learned to use these tools to promote BTF news and events. With its ever-growing reach, using social media in this manner is a skill I’ll likely continue to use throughout my career.
- Sitting in on the BTF quarterly board meeting and seeing new grant recipients selected. This has to be #1 on my list of highlights. Throughout the summer, I’ve gotten to know a lot about the grant process and everything that goes into it. To see this final step in the process really ties everything together. Just thinking of the sense of excitement and gratitude the newest grant recipients will feel when they learn they will be receiving a BTF grant, makes my work feel worthwhile and special.
There’s definitely an All-Star buzz in the air today! By now, many MLB employees have left the office for a week of hard work, fun and festivities in Phoenix. BTF is headed out there too, but with a few quick stops along the way.
Last night, BTF Executive Director Cathy Bradley was in Chicago for a check presentation with the Chicago White Sox. All donations from the White Sox equipment drive, along with a $5,000 BTF grant, will go to Inner City Youth Baseball League (ICYB), an affiliate of MLB’s Jr. RBI program. ICYB provides youth 9-12 years of age a free and safe environment to participate in summer baseball when they are off from school.
Also yesterday, BTF Grant Coordinator Meghan Chisholm travelled to Irvington, NJ for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for grant recipient Irvington Department of Parks & Recreation. Accompanying Meghan was Steve Rogers from the MLB Players Association. Rogers, a former pitcher for the Montreal Expos and five-time MLB All-Star, was a great presence at the ceremony, helping make it even more special. We’d like to extend a special thank you to Steve for attending!
Tonight, BTF will be present at one more Equipment Day—this one for the Florida Marlins—before heading out to Phoenix. Fans at tonight’s game vs. the Astros can drop off new and used equipment outside the gates prior to game time. In addition to collected equipment, a BTF grant to benefit the Marlins’ selected youth organization will be presented on-field before the game.
Once we land in Arizona, our next appearance will be at the 13th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, featuring many of the top Minor League prospects in baseball. Prior to the game, which begins at 6pm (ET), BTF will be on the field for a $150,000 check presentation; the amount is representative of the total number of Equipment Day grants awarded to each of the 30 MLB Clubs throughout the season. Bradley, along with Futures Game managers Luis Gonzales and Mike Piazza, will present the ceremonial check to members of the Diamondbacks RBI program.
As with all of our events, be sure to keep an eye out on our website and on Facebook for photos, video and other coverage. We’ll be posting content periodically from Phoenix so that you’re able to experience and enjoy All-Star Week right along with us.
Have a great All-Star weekend!
Today marks the start of Fourth of July Weekend! I’ve always loved this holiday; it’s the perfect time to relax, enjoy the warm weather (which we hardly get enough of in the Northeast), and celebrate with friends and family. My sister is making a trip down to the city to visit me for this long weekend, so I’m super excited to visit with her and hopefully be a good tour guide! What are you all doing for the Fourth?
Like other MLB employees, the folks at BTF will be taking the long weekend off to celebrate. Before we do, we want to remind everyone that today (July 1st) is also the deadline for grant applicants to submit applications for the July-September review cycle. So be sure to get your applications to us by end of day today! Also, as a reminder, only those who have already submitted a Letter of Inquiry and been invited to apply may do so.
Additionally, we want to make you aware of some upcoming efforts we’ll be jumping right into after the holiday. On Thursday, July 7th, we’ve got two important events going on. BTF Executive Director Cathy Bradley will be in Chicago for an Equipment Day check presentation with the Chicago White Sox. All donations from the White Sox equipment drive, along with a $5,000 BTF grant, will go to Inner City Youth Baseball League (ICYB), an affiliate of MLB’s Jr. RBI program. ICYB provides youth 9-12 years of age a free and safe environment to participate in summer baseball when they are off from school.
On the same day, BTF Grant Coordinator Meghan Chisholm will be in Irvington, NJ for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for grant recipient Irvington Department of Parks and Recreation. A BTF grant provided funding for the renovation of the organization’s Little League field, including grading and sodding of the infield, installation of infield clay, pitching mound and home plate area. Funding also included the purchase of equipment and uniforms to support the youth league. Our congrats go out to Irvington as they celebrate this special day!
The following day, July 8th, Meghan will be at Sun Life Stadium for a check presentation for the Florida Marlins Equipment Day. And after that, BTF will be heading out to Phoenix for All-Star Weekend! More details on that next week.
For now, I hope you all have a great Fourth of July holiday. Have fun and be safe!