The 83rd All-Star Game took place this past Tuesday evening at the Royals Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Although the National League beat the American League 8-0 the overall, the event was anything but a shutout. This All-Star Game is being touted as one of the most successful due to the outpouring of fan attendance and social media involvement. But a lesser known, yet equally successful branch of All-Star week, were the numerous community based events and improvements that happened.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) was thrilled, excited and proud to be a part of it. We made our way out to Kansas City late last Thursday to kick off All-Star week with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Cleveland Park, the diamond of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City (BGCKC) which serves the Kansas City branch of RBI. BTF awarded BGCKC a $50,000 grant to further renovate the fields which had been built in 2004. In a partnership that had never happened before, the MO-KAN chapter of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) evaluated the facility, pointed out the areas that needed to be renovated and dedicated volunteers and numerous hours to the renovation. The ribbon cutting event, in which our new oversized (and I mean oversized) BTF scissors were put to good use, took place during the Jr. RBI Classic, a youth baseball and softball tournament.
As Friday afternoon comes to an end and MLB returns to a post All-Star Game calm, we are proud to look back on such a successful event. Perhaps some of you feel proud of your National League for whooping the American League, or maybe some of you are reliving a great play made by your favorite player, but for us we are proud of the lasting legacy that the All Star Game will have on Kansas City. This pride, unlike the streamers at Kauffman Stadium, will take much longer than a week to dissipate.
It was yet another busy BTF weekend, including media events and Equipment Day collections!
On Friday evening, Executive Director Cathy Bradley was at Marlins Park to present Equipment Day checks to the Marlins grant recipients, City of Miami Parks & Recreation and Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation and a third to past BTF grant recipient, Miramar PAL. It was also BTF’s first trip to the new ballpark!
Also that Friday evening, at another field lighting ceremony at Jaycee Park in Owatonna, MN, BTF Senior Grant Coordinator, Meghan Chisholm, was attending a celebration. The Owatonna Huskies Bullpen was awarded a more than $45,000 BTF grant for the installation of Musco Lights on its youth baseball facility. The newly installed lights will increase player participation and availability to more than 500 players in the area. BTF’s Executive Director, Cathy Bradley stated, “field availability is often a challenge for many youth baseball and softball programs, and we believe that the lights will provide additional opportunities for play.”
It was another celebration filled with community supporters, sponsors and donors and clearly lots of smiles.
Happy 4th of July!
Happy summer! The first official day of summer was last Wednesday. Temperatures here in New York City reached a scorching 97 degrees and as the heat wave blazed on, BTF thought it may be a good idea to review some key tricks and tips for remaining cool and safe while playing in the heat.
Hopefully everyone knows that playing sports or even simply being active in excessive heat can be very dangerous. In extreme heat, dehydration, heat exhaustion and electrolyte imbalances are more likely to occur. Here are a few tips and guidelines for enjoying the sports you love in the heat that can make it challenging.
- Drink the right amount of fluids – on a hot day be sure to drink more H2O than usual: before, during and after your activity.
- Replace lost electrolytes – these are salts and minerals of your body that sweat often removes. It’s essential to replace them either with salty foods or sports drinks like Gatorade.
- Wear the right kind of clothing – be sure to dress yourself in lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
- Always wear sunscreen – simple as that. Make sure it’s of 30 SPF or higher and sweat proof.
- Listen to your body – if you notice headaches, fatigue or nausea, take a breather, drink some water and cool down.
As the school year comes to an end and sports games and outdoor activities pick up, be sure to play heat and sun smart!
Besides all those baseball and softball games coming your way, so are more BTF/MLB Equipment Days! This past Friday, the Boston Red Sox collection happened at Fenway Park and lasted throughout the weekend. The Miami Marlins will host their collection drive this Saturday 6/30 and the Atlanta Braves will close out the month with their collection on Saturday 6/30 and Sunday 7/1. The BTF Facebook and Twitter pages are chock full of updates, pictures, and further details so be sure to check them out.
The success of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund is due, in large part, to the MLB Clubs’ support and promotion of the Fund and its initiatives. To recognize those Clubs that demonstrate exceptional support of the fund each year, the Board of Directors created the BTF Award of Appreciation.
Wednesday evening in East York, Toronto is one that will not soon be forgotten.
BTF grant recipient East York Baseball Association celebrated the completion of the field renovation and field lighting installation at Stan Wadlow Park. BTF Executive Director, Cathy Bradley, Blue Jays pitchers Ricky Romero and Drew Hutchison, along with Blue Jays alumni and staff were on hand for the official unveiling. Romero noted, “It would mean a lot, (having field lights) especially for me. I never wanted to leave the baseball diamond. I could be there 24/7, and to this day it’s something that I don’t take for granted. Two extra hours means a lot more work.”
East York Baseball Association received a $42,270 grant from BTF and an additional $150,000 investment from the Jays Care Foundation toward the installation of field lights. The facility has served as the primary location for the Blue Jays Academy Rookie League. The program provides a summer baseball camp that operates in 40 neighborhoods and serves more than 900 children. The lights will allow for two additional hours of play each night, increasing the participation of kids throughout the summer. As summarized by Hutchinson, “It’s awesome; you don’t have to go home early. You just stay and keep playing.”
As highlighted in the video, the ceremony included speeches to the enthusiastic crowd, followed by an on-field clinic hosted by Blue Jays instructors, former broadcasters and current Blue Jays players. Our very own, Cathy Bradley, stated “I go to a lot of these events all over the U.S. and throughout the world, and I’ll say this is one of the most enthusiastic crowds. We’re so happy that you all came to support youth baseball in your community.”
It was a night to remember. Once the lights clicked off and signaled the end of the day, anticipation was sure to remain for the many games to be played this summer, and beyond.
I became the official Baseball Tomorrow Fund intern on March 15, 2012. After three months, I thought it may be fun to share all that I’ve been up to and all that is on the way. We’ll consider it a brief rundown of a day in the life of a BTF intern.
Each day I update our social media portals, including Facebook and Twitter with posts regarding BTF grant recipients, media events and Equipment Days. I love uploading photos from the recipient media events, newly renovated or constructed fields, happy past grant recipients or Equipment Day collection sites. By managing the BTF social media outlets I get to directly interact with supporters and share all of the exciting things we are doing here in, and out, of the office. Social media: check.
Administrative tasks, although not the most glamorous aspect of my internship, are crucial to the functionally of BTF. Due to BTF’s extensive application and evaluation process there may be some days I make copies or file an application, but administrative tasks have also included much more. I’ve assisted with orders for check posters larger than the average human to present at MLB games, I’ve run over to the MLB Players Association to drop off memos, shipped neon wristbands and posters to ballparks for Equipment Day, helped prepare for quarterly board meetings, assisted with our upcoming BTF website redesign and printed applicant Letters of Inquiry and grant applications. Administrative duties: check.
Being a member of the BTF team has exposed me to many different facets of the working world, but above all, I’ve learned that you truly can turn a passion into a career. That may be the greatest lesson of all.
Much to look forward to: attending the Phillies Equipment Day check presentation on July 24th, hearing MLB’s top executives speak at intern lunch sessions and continuing to hone my skills for the betterment of our team. Keep checking the blog for weekly thoughts, tips and recaps and, as always, head to the BTF Facebook and Twitter pages for the daily updates I love to share with you all.
This past weekend the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals both hosted their BTF/MLB Equipment Days in beautiful weather. The Giants collection was in conjunction with the Junior Giants glove drive, which in 2011 raised $140,000 and collected more than 2,300 gloves to ensure that every child in the program had a glove of their own. On June 2, 2012, BTF Executive Director, Cathy Bradley, was on the Giants field to present a $5,000 check to the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club at Hunter’s Point which will enable the club to purchase new equipment for its Junior Giants program.
The Washington Nationals hosted their collection on Sunday June 3rd at Nationals Park. The equipment will be donated to the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DCDPR) which provides baseball and softball programming to DC youths. Nationals’ shortstop and ESPN top 500 player, Ian Desmond, joined on-field to present the $5,000 check to DCDPR.
Equipment Day Tally: The Houston Astros reported incredible Equipment Day results from their drive on May 20, 2012. This year the Astros collected more than 750 items, more than THREE TIMES the amount of equipment they collected in 2011! They also raised close to $150 dollars in cash donations from fans. The collected equipment and cash will benefit the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and their youth baseball and softball programs.
We’re plugging through some amazing 2012 Equipment Days but there are still many more to come including; the Boston Red Sox June 22nd-24th, the Atlanta Braves, June 30th and the Miami Marlins, June 30th. Check our website to see when your favorite team is hosting theirs and our Facebook and Twitter pages to get more ED2012 updates, stats and photos!
To kick off the holiday weekend, here are the Top 10 Things You May (or May Not) Know about BTF:
1. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) is a JOINT initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
2. A joint initiative like BTF doesn’t exist in any of the other major leagues.
4. BTF receives over 400 applications EVERY year.
5. BTF has awarded over 600 grants totaling more than $22 million to recipients all over the globe since 1999.
6. Any tax-exempt organizations and 501(c)(3) organizations involved in youth baseball and/or softball may apply for a BTF grant.
7. The BTF selection process is as follows:
– Letter of inquiry review
– Application review and evaluation
– Site visit
– Final selection by the BTF Board of Directors
8. The first step in the BTF application process, is to submit a Letter of Inquiry that describes your organization and outlines your project. Click here for a more detailed description and instructions.
9. BTF grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.
10. All correspondence (including Letters of Inquiry and Applications) should be sent to: Baseball Tomorrow Fund, 31st Floor, 245 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10167.
Have a great weekend and here’s to a wonderful Summer 2012!
It’s a May weekend full of BTF Equipment Days!
Last year, the Astros collected more than 250 baseball and softball items which ranged from balls and bats to cleats and uniforms. The Blue Jays collected nearly 200 items and $4,000 in cash donations. Once complete, items and cash were given to a grant recipient of each club’s choice. The Blue Jays chose the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the largest social housing provider in Canada with nearly 164,000 low and moderate-income tenants in 58,500 households throughout Toronto. The Astros collected items for Houston RB,I a nonprofit organization that provides Houston youths the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball.
Let’s see if they can out-do themselves from the previous year and supply this year’s Equipment Day grant recipients, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, The Toronto Rookie League and, once again, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation with more gear.
This year marks the eighth season that the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has collaborated with Major League Baseball to bring the league wide Equipment Day initiative. Since 2005, the BTF/MLB Equipment Day initiative has collected nearly 100,000 pieces of equipment and approximately $1,250,000 in cash donations has benefited organizations in need.
Thus far, the Kansas City Royals and the San Diego Padres have completed their Equipment Days. We’ll be tallying the results and sharing each club’s figures soon on our Facebook and Twitter pages. May is the kick-off month meaning it’s just the beginning for the BTF/MLB Equipment Day initiative. Go to our website to see when your favorite MLB team is hosting their Equipment Day.
A “Five-Tool” baseball player is described as a “got it all player”; a well-rounded, consistent player. A “Five-Tool” player excels at five main tools and below, is Kurcab’s take on becoming a “five tool” sports field manager:
- Equipment, applications and treatment: simply having the skills to use the equipment, understand application, and apply proper treatments.
- Field preparation: the “heart and soul of the profession.” Preparation is combining the necessary skills and talents to prepare a quality field. Kurcab encourages those interested in sports field maintenance to apprentice for three-five years to gain experience and hone skills.
- Turfgrass science/turfgrass management: being formally educated in the science and physics of the ins and outs of sports field maintenance. Kurcab recommends a four- year degree, but points to the availability of many two-year programs and the explosion of available internet programs.
- Event management/turfgrass interactions: get involved in meetings and plans for several local events. Jump in, provide your expertise and make sure everything is done correctly to protect the field from unnecessary damage.
- Business skills: Kurcab serves up his list of the necessary business skills for a field sports manager to have: communication skills, the ability to manage a budget, human relations skills, the ability to be a good planner and the ability to be an exceptional project manager.
According to Kurcab’s former professor at Colorado State University, “There are no grass problems, only people problems.”
To read the entire article in Sports Field Management Magazine click here. Check out the photo below from BTF’s Field Maintenance Clinic with the Detroit Tigers grounds crew, and as always, check the Baseball Tomorrow Fund website, Facebook and Twitter pages for daily tips, articles and field maintenance resources.