Baseball in Community

If you go onto any MLB team’s website, there will be a tab which takes you to page explaining how the team is involved in the community. It is Experience Baseball’s job to see what each team is doing and then work with these groups in order to improve the urban areas around the ballparks. Experience Baseball can help strengthen, improve, and solidify a team’s place in its surrounding communities because it is our job to educate. With education comes change.

In order for this to happen people need to be aware of what their team is doing in the community; so over the summer I will highlight three community programs of each team and comment on what they can do to improve. I will begin with the AL EAST. The teams are in order based upon their record at the moment. After every division is analyzed, I will rank the teams on how actively and effectively they are involved in their community and well they incorporate their fans in their community works.

New York Yankees

1. Healthy Home Plate Program
The Healthy Home Plate Program focuses on youths, ages 12-15, incorporating healthy foods into their everyday lives. The program teaches them how to cook cheap, healthy meals and promote these meals in their environments.

2. New York Yankees High School Blood Donor Championship
The New York Yankee High School Blood Donor Championship calls for local metropolitan high school students over 16, teachers, and staff to donate blood and offers incentives to the school with the highest number of donations at the end of the academic school year.

3. New York Public Library Summer Reading Program
The Yankees, in league with the New York City Public Library, promote reading in NYC by recognizing two students from each of the five boroughs who read the most books during the summer.

As you can see the Yankees are very involved with the youth of their community, from healthy living, to blood donations, to education, but the Yankees could do more to work around the place they call home: Yankees Stadium. The Yankees promote youth to be healthy active citizens, however there is no development improving the immediate area around the stadium in the Bronx. There are 79,134 people who receive income support – Cash Assistance (TANF), Supplementary Social Income, and Medicaid (US Census 2010) – which is 61.7 percent of the population. Of the 1,385,108 people who live in the Bronx, 28.4% are in poverty (US Census 2010). This is what Experience Baseball wants to focus on. The schism between the wealth of in the stadium and the poverty right outside its doors.

Boston Red Sox

1. Mentoring Challenge
The Boston Red Sox teamed up with Mass Mentoring Partnership to create the Red Sox Mentoring Challenge to help recruit and push for more caring adults as mentors in the state of Massachusetts.

2. Community Home-Stand Program     The Boston Community Home-Stand Program helps raise awareness about local non-profit organizations by hosting these groups and allowing them to spread their cause to Red Sox Fans.

3. Lindos Sueños      The Boston Red Sox “Beautiful Dream” program aims at bringing together teens of different backgrounds through baseball and community service. The Red Sox, along with Jet Blue, sends 10 teens to the Dominican Republic to team up with Dominican teens and do community service projects in the morning and play baseball in the afternoon.

The Boston Red Sox ideas overall are great. Their attempt to help a variety of groups and causes in the immediate community is what we at Experience Baseball aim for. The mentoring challenge is good because it involves adults and their role in shaping the youth and the community. The community home-stand program is good because it allows for non-profit organizations to connect directly with the fans.Also, it is groups like these that Experience Baseball hopes to work with. Lindos Sueños is an extremely good idea, but why not try to have the program in Boston?

Baltimore Orioles

1. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI)
The Orioles are part of the MLB wide program at promoting baseball to youth in the inner cities. The Orioles specifically focus on the Baltimore area through monetary resources, clinics, and mentoring programs.

2. Orioles REACH Holiday Party
The Orioles host under-privileged first through fifth grade students at their Orioles REACH Holiday Party, where they serve lunch sign autographs, and provide gifts to the children.

3. T. Rowe Price Summer Reading Program     In partnership with T. Rowe Price and the 180 Maryland public libraries, the Orioles promote summer reading for 180,00 kids by offering 7,000 tickets as an incentive to read the most books.

Like many other teams the Orioles focus most of their community work on the youth. The Orioles REACH Holiday Party is in its 33rd year and is a good idea because it brings the Orioles organization together with kids who are in the near community. Also, the RBI program for the entire MLB is a good idea because of the growing popularity of other sports, but what is each team doing for their specific city? The Orioles should focus on developing the areas around Camden Yards, which will in turn bring it closer to the community and allow for a large unified development.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. Community Corner     The Rays community corner hosts local non-profit organizations to allow the organizations to spread their causes and share their stories during Rays games.

2. In-Kind Donations Request
     The Rays In-Kind Donations Request program is a way to donate either money or memorabilia to the Rays who then give it to community organizations.

3. The Rays Employee Community Outreach (ECOT)
The Employee Community Outreach is the Rays organization, including players and staff, giving their time and work to local community projects.

Like the Red Sox, the Rays have a great focus on their relationship with the community, through programs like the Community Corner and ECOT. By first hosting non-profit organizations in the stadium and second by working in the community on projects the Rays are trying to bridge the gap between themselves and the area near the stadium as much as possible. As for the In-Kind Donations Request it is a good idea, but does the money go to the immediate community, so that all people in the area can experience baseball.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Home Run Scholars
In partnership with Pathways to Education, the Blue Jays Home Run Scholars supports students in under-resourced neighborhoods across Canada with mentoring, tutoring, and financial support to pursue their educational and career aspirations.

2. Grand Slam Grants
The Blue Jays Grand Slam Grants supports charity and community organizations that seek to help youth in school and live healthy lives.

3. Field of Dreams
The Blue Jays Field of Dreams foundation promotes baseball and education to youth by building safe baseball fields in under-resourced areas of Canada.

Like the Red Sox, Toronto does a good job recognizing the need to support under-resourced areas and charity and community organizations. And like the Yankees, the Jays are very involved with the youth. However, the Blue Jays do not focus on the immediate area around the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Why not focus on those living in poverty so near to the stadium who cheer for the team, yet will never be able to be part of the baseball community.

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