The Cleveland Indians will host the second annual Fields for the Future project on Thursday, May 12, at Cleveland's Gunning Park. In partnership with Cleveland Indians Community partners (MCPc, Victory Park Ohio, Minutemen and Mo Vaughn Enterprises), the Motz Group, the City of Cleveland, Fox Sports Ohio, WKYC, and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, the Indians and community members will renovate a baseball field at Gunning.
The Motz group will regrade the field and build a pitcher's mound, while the Baseball Tomorrow fund provided a $10,000 donation. BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence helped coordinate and scope projects for this program. Volunteers will assemble new bleachers, paint worn seating, install new dugout benches and assist with landscaping projects. Subway is donating lunch for the volunteers.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes and his wife, Jenna - who made a financial donation to support the project and serve as the spokespersons for the program -- and Ken Silliman, Mayor Frank G. Jackson's chief of staff, will also be in attendance. The newly renovated field will be unveiled at approximately 3:30PM, with Gomes catching the first pitch.
"Our Fields for the Future program is a key piece of our long-term goal to improve the quality of youth baseball in Cleveland," said Indians Executive Director of Community Outreach Rebecca Kodysh. "We work with a number of valued partners on the project, which could not happen without their support."
To help maintain the quality of the renovated field, Indians head groundskeeper Brandon Koehnke will perform a field maintenance clinic with city workers and additional maintenance days are planned for the future.
This program kicks off Play Ball Weekend, which was launched by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball as the sport's largest effort to encourage widespread participation in both formal and informal baseball activities.
The Fields for the Future program began in 2015 at Luke Easter Park on Cleveland's East Side. According to the City of Cleveland, field usage improved tremendously after the renovations, with the number of games played at the field growing four-fold.