MLB, Angels open two new fields in Anaheim

MLB, Angels open two new fields in Anaheim

ANAHEIM -- Major League Baseball, the Angels and the City of Anaheim officially opened two newly reconstructed baseball fields at Anaheim's Pioneer Park on Monday as part of the festivities of 2010 MLB All-Star Week leading up to Tuesday's 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium.

Commissioner Bud Selig was on hand for the opening of the reconstructed youth baseball field at All-Star Field No. 1 and the new Miracle League field for special needs children at All-Star Field No. 2.

It was all part of MLB's "Going Beyond" initiative, which is expected to raise $5 million for local and national charities as part of MLB's All-Star Week in Anaheim and the surrounding areas.

"We've created two fields that will give youngsters years of fun, exercise and enjoyment," Selig said. "The Miracle Field will allow young people with physical challenges the opportunity to play baseball like other children their age. The combined efforts of everyone here have resulted in something we should be very proud of. It's two Fields of Dreams for the young people in this area."

Selig was joined at the special ceremony by Angels owner Arte Moreno, Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl, former Angels Wally Joyner and Rex Hudler, Angels Baseball Foundation chairman Mark Merhab, Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and The Scotts Company vice president Scott Bolle.

The ceremony, which was emceed by KOCE-TV news anchor Ed Arnold, began with local youngster Reo Kobayashi thanking all parties involved for creating the Miracle League Field, which is the first of its kind in Anaheim and will allow special needs children to play baseball through local Miracle Leagues and Little League Baseball Challenger Leagues.

It was a touching tribute from Kobayashi, who repeatedly thanked Moreno for his efforts in helping bring a Miracle League Field to Anaheim while renovating the existing baseball field at the park.

Moreno, who created the Angels Baseball Foundation in 2004, said it's all part of his mission as the owner of the Angels to help the local community around Orange County.

"From Day 1 we've always felt that kids and family are the most important things for the team," Moreno said. "Without the fans we don't have the business or the game, so one of our focuses has always been on family and our fans."

The four-month project also couldn't have been done without the support of Magical Builders, a non-profit organization dedicated to renovating and improving community facilities across the country to benefit underserved children, and The Scotts Company, MLB's official lawn care company. Scotts provided funding and materials for the complex's construction, as well as significant product donations for the ongoing care and maintenance of the fields, while also donating the scoreboard for the Miracle League field.

Pringle was certainly excited about the newly constructed fields at the park because it will have such a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on the City of Anaheim.

"It's going to be a lasting impact with this great week and the All-Star celebration," Pringle said. "Major League Baseball has chose not only to impact its players, but its local communities. So, it's a nice response. The fields are fantastic."

The fields were immediately put to use after a ribbon cutting by Hudler's son, Cade, as Kobayashi threw out the first pitch to Joyner before a Miracle League Game before local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) games were also played on the baseball field at All-Star Field No. 1.

"If you don't have facilities like these kids don't have a place to play," Kuhl said. "Many years ago we had sandlots, but to have this type of field to hone their skills they can feel the excitement and fun of actually playing baseball. It's our responsibility to give back to the community, so when you can give back something tangible and can be used for decades to come, it's just heartfelt."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.