Baseball in Community II

This list is the second installment of Baseball in Community, which will continue to look at MLB teams’ involvement in their respective communities. I will analyze three programs of each team in NL East.

Atlanta Braves

1. Braves Care
The Braves Care organization is an employee volunteer initiative, which pushes for Braves employees to get involved with charitable and community partners in the Atlanta area.  This outreach includes a variety of volunteer work in the metro Atlanta community.

2. Braves Wives Association
The Braves Wives Association hosts a series of events and programs to raise awareness and funds for community organizations aimed at supporting women and children in the metro Atlanta area.

3. Reach Out, Be Our Guest   
This Braves organization provides tickets to children and individuals who are unable to attend a professional baseball game normally because they do not have the means available for tickets.

All of these programs aim at making a connection between the metro Atlanta community and the Braves organization, which is what Experience Baseball aims to further in baseball communities. It is excellent that the Braves organization is volunteering in its community and is helping the women and children of metro Atlanta, but what are the Braves doing to get fans involved in helping other fans? The Reach Out, Be Our Guest is a great program in the sense that it is allowing underprivileged Braves fans the opportunity to see a game, but after that one game, then what? What are the Braves doing to help the infrastructure in their community?

Washington Nationals

1. The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy is a program that provides a safe environment for inner city youth to develop academically and in baseball. A large facility with three baseball fields and clubhouse will open later in 2013 to house this program.

2. The Neighborhood Initiative
Under the Nationals Dream Foundation, the Neighborhood Initiative offers grant and donations to local non-profit organizations dedicated to improving SW and SE neighborhoods in Washington D.C. surrounding Nationals Park.

3. Donations and Funding
The Nationals Donations and Funding program assists military and non-profit organizations seeking help with fundraising.

The Nationals Community section of their website seemed to be lacking a bit compared to other teams. Most of the work being done by the Nationals was under the Nationals Dream Foundation, including the Baseball Academy and the Neighborhood Initiative. The Baseball Academy is good to see because the Nationals, in partnership with the local government, are providing a place in the community for their underserved youth fans. Also, the Neighborhood Initiative, looks to mirror some of Experience Baseball’s goals, in the sense that the program is aimed specifically at the area surrounding Nationals Park. The Donations and Funding was a bit vague and does not exactly explain how it helps the community directly. Although, the Community section is a bit scarce, the two main programs that the Nationals are working on, are very good for the community.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Phillies Charities Grant Fund
The Phillies Charities Grant Fund raises money to award grants to charitable organizations who serve underprivileged and underserved groups in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and near Phillies spring training and minor league affiliates.

2. Phillies Family
Phillies Family encompasses numerous organizations of the Phillies, including players, coaches, wives. Under this program a variety of events and fundraisers are held to serve the surrounding community. Ticket programs are also under the Phillies Family program.

3. Jr. RBI and RBI League
Part of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program enacted by the MLB, the Phillies Jr. RBI and RBI program provide equipment for Philadelphia’s underprivileged youth.

Like the Nationals, the Phillies Community section was a bit lacking compared to other teams. The Phillies Charities Grant Fund is a good program, but how is directly developing the area around Citizens Bank Park? Most of the Phillies community programs are under the Phillies Family, but how is the organization as a whole improving the area? It looked as if the players’ charitable organizations were leading the way for the Phillies; instead the Phillies as a whole should be focused on the community nearest to their stadium. The RBI Program I think needs a personal touch. Each team should be more involved with its city.

New York Mets

1. Volunteer Challenge
In partnership with the New York Cares program, the Mets Volunteer Challenge pushes for fans to get involved in New York City volunteer projects. The Mets reward fans who complete a certain number of project with tickets and recognition.

2. Feeding the Big Apple
This is a season-long initiative for hunger relief in New York City to meet the demand of rising poverty. This includes food drives and working at local soup kitchens.

3. Community Ticket Program
The Mets Community Ticket program provides tickets for local non-profit and charitable organizations who help underprivileged or at-risk children, the medically dependent and disabled, and senior citizens.

The Mets focus on the local community in its work is a positive. I think the Volunteer Challenge is greta because it is using the medium of baseball to motivate fans to work in the community. Baseball then, becomes the organizing tool to help the local community in need.  Along the same line, is the Feeding the Big Apple program which calls for the Mets organization and Mets fans to help with their donations and time for those in NYC plagued by hunger. Like many other teams, the Community Ticket program is good for raising awareness about local non-profit organizations and allowing underprivileged people to attend games, but how are the tickets helping after that one game?

Miami Marlins

1. Marlins Ayudan
Meaning “help” in Spanish the Marlins Ayudan program is a front-office volunteer program which responds to a variety of needs in the MIami community.

2. Charity Partners
Under the Charity Partner Empowerment Fund, the Marlins team up with a select number of organizations for a year and award financial gifts and help to these selected non-profits with a deep involvement.

3. Funding with the Fish
THe Funding with the Fish program assists schools and non-profits to raise money by selling tickets to Marlins games.

 

The Marlins Community page was also scarce. The Ayudan program is good to have the organization involved in the community and responding to the needs of the community, but how do they become aware of these needs or decide what needs to focus on?The idea of selecting a few organizations to work with and help fund is a good idea because the Marlins involvement with these organizations can be more than just surface level help. They need to do more in the community around Marlins Park, especially with a new stadium and with the already dismal number of fans in attendance at their games. How can a team justify such an elaborate park with underserved people right on their doorstep?

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