Hello! My name is Jessica Barr and I am officially taking over the reins of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund blog. As the new BTF intern, I have many duties, including updating the blog with helpful tips, event recaps, and some more fun surprises.
A little about me: I graduated from The University of Michigan in 2009 (Go Blue!) and am currently a Masters student at New York University studying Sports Business. For those years in between, I planned University ceremonial and development events for U-M and then skipped over to Chicago for a year to see what the Windy City had to offer. After an internship with Red Frog Events – the producers of Warrior Dash – I knew I wanted to go back to school. New York was the perfect place, not only to become completely immersed in the sports industry, but also to snag a really good bagel.
But enough about me – I hope through this blog, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages, I can “meet” all of you. Feel free to suggest topics you’d like to learn more about, ask any questions that come to mind, or add your insights through comments. BTF is here as an information source, but we also love to learn.
Great to meet you!
We are heading into the long Thanksgiving Day weekend and wanted to wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday.
It is often this time of year that we take time to reflect on what are grateful for and that which we want to give thanks for. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund has much to be grateful for, but that’s a whole other story.
We want to take this blogspace to thank the often unsung heroes of youth sports; volunteers. Volunteers can range from parents and coaches to those manning the concession stands, organizing carpool, directing tournaments and giving their time in any way needed. Regardless of their role, without these volunteers it would be difficult for most youth leagues to survive and thrive.
Below are a few pointers from our friends at the Girl Scouts of America on how to attract valuable volunteers:
- Be specific. Tell people what you want them to do before you recruit them.
- Be honest. Confirm the time and effort the role will entail.
- Define the situation. Provide information regarding any training, supervision and support.
- Identify the positives.
- Just ask – send out a blast email, reach out to your local college or high school, ask your neighbors, post fliers or call those in your address book.
Hopefully these tips will help you recruit volunteers as you prepare for the spring sports season.
Thank you for your continued support of youth baseball and softball and Happy Thanksgiving!
Photo Credits – BTF and Simon Breitwieser
In 2011, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded a $104,000 USD grant to the Austrian Baseball Federation (ABF) for the construction of a youth baseball field in Attnang-Puccheim, Austria.
The field now serves the local school and league programs offered by the Athletics Baseball Club, a member of the ABF.
Born: Vienna Austria 28.04.1959
Personal: Married to Erika, 2 Children: Benjamin 24 and Caroline 21
Education: High school for Chemical Industrie
Worked for 12 years as a food inspector for the city government of Vienna. After this for 15 Years as a district manager of the 7th district in Vienna. From 2006 til 2011 secretary of Sport for the Vienna Sportrooforganisation ASKOE. Currently, Chief Executive President of the Austrian Basball Federation.
1997 started as a volunteer in the Baseballclub Vienna Wanderers
2001 Elected as President of the Vienna Baseball Federation
2007 elected as president of the Austrian Baseball Federation
2010 elected as member at large on the board of CEB (European Baseball Federation)
BTF: How and when did you become interested in and get involved with baseball?
Rainer: I got interested when I was 14 years old, first time visiting the United states. But I really got involved when my son started playing in 1997. I started volunteering for Baseballclub Vienna Wanderers in the year 2001.
BTF: Which MLB stadiums have you watched a game? Do you have a favorite? Which would you love to visit?
Rainer: (I have watched games in) Cleveland, Chicago (Wrigley & US Cellular), Cincinnati and St.Louis. Favorite Stadium: Cleveland. I would like to visit Fenway Park (Boston).
BTF: What was the biggest challenge during the construction project in Attnang-Puchheim?
Rainer: The biggest challenge was to finish the whole project in this short time frame, especially fighting against the different weather conditions.
BTF: How has the completion of the project affected your program, locally and nationally?
Rainer: Locally it is a big infrastructural improvement for the youth program in this area. Combined with the Austrian Baseball Academy (Central), we expect an increase of youth players in this region. I will help raise the level of play for all participating players.
BTF: Other than the Athletics Baseball Sports Complex in Attnang-Puchheim, what other baseball facilities are available in Austria?
Rainer: There are baseball fields in the following cities, Donrbirn, Hard, Feldkirch (Voralrberg), Kustein, Schwaz (Tirol), Klagenfurt(Carinthia), Graz(Styria), Rohrbach(Burgenland), Grammastetten, Linz, Wels, (UpperAustria), Schrems, Stockerau,Wr.Neustadt, Schwechat, Traiskirchen, Tulln, St.Pölten,(Lower Austria), Spenadlwiese Vienna and Freudenau Vienna. All these fields are in different configurations. There are fields with flood lights (Spenadlwiese, Wr.Neustadt,) and extra youth fields (Spenadlwiese, Wr.Neustadt). Some are very simple implemented in other sport complexes.
BTF: What agencies, organizations or companies are your biggest supporters?
Rainer: The national sport authority, Sport ministery of Austria.
BTF: What is the biggest challenge for the Austrian Baseball Federation?
Rainer: Improvement of the infrastructure all over the country, adapt the different standards. It demands big financial commitment.
BTF: What’s next for your organization?
Rainer: Organize and conduct televised games for the 1st Baseball league, National team games, and youth tournaments. This should help us generate interest for sponsors, to raise more money for clubs and the federation.
BTF: What message do you have for other baseball organizations in regions where baseball is not well-known?
Rainer: Consequent engagement in a youth program is the best way to make baseball known and generate interest and popularity.
BTF: What’s your prediction for next year’s World Baseball Classic?
Rainer: I hope a European country wins. It will help Europe’s baseball popularity.
The Major League Baseball postseason is in full swing!
But, weather conditions play a main factor in any game and nothing dampens the excitement more than a rain delay.
Such was the case in Yankees/Orioles ALDS Game 2 at Camden Yards. Rain was the culprit and, unfortunately, there’s no controlling mother nature.
BTF was curious as to how MLB grounds crews take lead in rain delays and the protocols they follow. We turned to Nicole Sherry, Head Groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, for some answers. See below for her Major League thoughts, protocols and methods to manage inclement weather and ensure player/fan safety:
– The Head Groundskeeper watches for any threatening weather that may impact the start of or play of the game and must be aware of any severe weather alerts
– Once an official weather alert is issued for the ballpark location, the head groundskeeper must alert club officials
– At this time, it is the groundskeeper’s decision to pull the tarp onto the field anytime he or she desires before a game
– The Head Groundskeeper must consistently watch the radar and alert the designated crew chief umpire of any potential threat, timing and duration of storms
– It is then up to the crew chief umpire to make the final call to delay the game by calling for the tarp to be pulled
– A crew chief umpire can also determine the field is still playable during rain, and the grounds crew will apply drying agent to the dirt areas of the field
– Once a game starts, it is crew chief umpire who controls the field of play and the groundskeeper is responsible for feeding the radar information to him
Keep dry and carry on!
Submitting a grant proposal is a thrilling and terrifying experience. The fear of rejection and the giddy anticipation of securing the grant co-exist throughout the process. One way grant proposals are rejected is because of small, common and easy to avoid mistakes, also known as “red flags.”
The Foundation Center is the worldwide leading source of philanthropy and philanthropic organization information. The Foundation Center interviewed three executives in the philanthropic sphere to identify top “red flags” that negatively affect the applicant in the grant proposal review.
Richard Brown, Vice President of Philanthropy – American Express
- Incorrectly addressed proposal. This indicates that an organization isn’t paying attention to detail and could be sending proposals in mass.
- It’s important to take the time and tailor each proposal to specific organizations and programs.
Amy Barger, Senior Program Officer – Tiger Foundation
- Finances. If an organization finances are not in order, the foundation will need further clarification.
John Colborn, Vice President of Operations – Ford Foundation
- Budget. If a grantee’s budget does not match up with the activities stated in the proposal
- Outcomes. If an organization has not clearly stated and outlined the expected outcomes of a project.
- Staffing. If there is a lack of clarity to the staffing and organizational capacity of the grantee to support the proposed program.
It is important, when submitting a grant for review, to consider the big picture, but also always take into account the small details. When composing your grant proposal remember the above common mistakes, or “red flags.” Carefully explaining details, finances, budgets and outcomes will ensure one doesn’t fall into the pitfalls of avoidable mistakes.
It’s hard to believe the summer is winding down and that Labor Day Weekend is upon us. We’re looking forward to celebrating it, not in the traditional summer weekend way, but in Austria, with grant recipient, the Austrian Baseball Federation.
On Saturday, September 1st, the Austrian Baseball Federation (ABF) will announce the completion of a new youth baseball field at Athletics Ballpark, home of the Attnang-Puchheim Athletic Club. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) awarded the organization a $104,456 grant to assist in the construction of the field, which was completed in less than six months. Below, Sebastian watches over the construction of the new youth field in Attnang-Puchheim!
The new youth field will support over 300 players from local youth programs and provide a host site for international youth tournaments. The Athletics Ballpark facility is now complete with one regulation baseball field, one youth baseball field, a clubhouse and batting cages, and is the official coaching center for Austria.
Rainer L. Krankl, Vice President Finances of the Austrian Baseball Federation, stated, “The completion of this project marks the realization of a dream for this organization and the community as a whole. Without the support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, construction of this youth field would not have been possible.”
The Austrian Baseball Federation is the fifth European organization to receive a Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant.
Monday September 3 – Wednesday September 5: Tampa Bay Rays Equipment Collection at Tropicana Field. Donate new or gently used baseball and softball equipment before the games to benefit local Tampa youth leagues.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!
The Mariners hosted a Field Maintenance Clinic yesterday, August 23rd, at Safeco Field. It was the fifth MLB/BTF field maintenance clinic this season and it was a wonderful success. Over eighty participants attended the clinic with representatives coming from Seattle City Parks & Recreation and the Kennewick American Youth Baseball. The clinic focused on providing attendees with practical tips and tricks that they could take back and implement to maintain safe playing fields in the Seattle area.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund’s Executive Director, Cathy Bradley, was on hand for the clinic and snapped some great photos of the attendees and the pros:
Friday August 24th: Pittsburgh Pirates – BTF Equipment Day check presentation
Saturday August 25th: New York Mets – 2012 Equipment Day Collection at Citi Field
Last Saturday, August 11th, marked the fourth BTF/MLB Field Maintenance Education Clinic. This one was a group effort. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, SNY and the New York Mets partnered to make it a wonderfully successful event.
Youth baseball and softball organizations from the Tri-State area were invited to attend the private clinic lead by Mets head groundskeeper, Bill Deacon, and his entire crew. They arrived in small groups, the excitement radiating. Photos were snapped behind the microphone in the Mets media room, baseball hats were tried on and adjusted and pens hit notepads to ensure they worked before the clinic began. Just over 30 attendees participated in the clinic, taking part in 4 rotating stations that addressed topics such as; infield maintenance, mound and home plate management, game day preparation and turf management. It was a day dedicated to providing practical, easy to install tips and techniques that would aid in the long term maintenance of fields and provide the highest level of safety. BTF Executive Director, Cathy Bradley, stated, “We hope that this clinic, along with the grants awarded, will support the sustainability of safe and playable youth baseball and softball facilities in the area.”
BTF, along with SNY and their Play Ball initiative, awarded two $5,000 grants to the Dyker Heights Athletic Association and Elmjack Community Little League, to be used for field upkeep and the purcahse of needed field maintenance equipment.
There’s one remaining Field Maintenance Education Program scheduled for this season, and it’s taking place August 23rd in partnership with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Saturday August 11th:
- Chicago Cubs Equipment Day Collection at Wrigley Field
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Equipment Day Collection and Check Presentation at Angel Stadium
- Private Mets Field Maintenance Education Clinic at Citi Field
Sunday August 12th:
- Philadelphia Phillies Equipment Day Collection at Citizens Bank Park
- Tampa Bay Rays Equipment Day Collection at Tropicana Drive
All you Cubs, Angels and Phillies fans bring your gently used baseball and softball equipment to the ballparks this weekend to benefit local programs in your area!
Once in a lifetime. That is the simplest way to describe my Tuesday afternoon.
This past Tuesday I accompanied BTF’s Senior Grant Coordinator, Meghan Chisholm, to Philadelphia, PA to help the Phillies present their 2012 Equipment Day checks to Tioga United Youth Baseball and Oak Lane Wildcats.
As our rental car picked up speed on the New Jersey Turnpike and we made our way into downtown Philly, the anticipation accelerated. We had a few moments to spare before having to be at the Phillies Administrative offices so we killed it by driving by the Liberty Bell and grabbing a quick bite to eat at historic Reading Market.
At 6:00 pm we pulled into lot P of Citizens Bank Park and put the Chevy in park. Meghan and I walked over to the offices, met our community relations contact and entered the Phillies media room, where, of course, a photo was necessary.
It was here that we got to personally meet the Equipment Day grant recipients. The excitement and gratitude they exuded was contagious. We did a run through of the pre-game ceremony: the presentation of awards to local RBI coaches of the year, the honorary award presented to Chase Utley, and the check presentation by BTF. As the lineup was completed, we made our way through the underbelly of the stadium and out onto the field. Take a breath. Take a moment. Take it all in.
I stood back and snapped pictures of the excited and nervous grant recipients and laughed to myself as they each appeared on the big screen looking over the park. As they smiled from ear to ear, accepted their awards and shook hands over the checks, the feelings were electric. It was a moment that will be difficult to forget.
It was truly special to see something go full circle. I witnessed the initial selection of the recipients, ordered the oversized checks, helped coordinate with the Phillies, and saw the acceptance of the checks that symbolized new equipment or uniforms or field equipment. Being able to see the entire cycle gave me a refreshed perspective, one that made it all mean so much more.