NEW YORK -- The Mets kicked off their participation in this year's MLB Play Ball program with a parade around the warning track for youth baseball and softball players before Friday's game against the Brewers at Citi Field. Players donned uniforms of all colors, styles and allegiances, parading from Citi's left-field corner to the right-field line.
Though last weekend was MLB's official Play Ball Weekend, the Mets are celebrating now because they were on the road at the time. Reliever Addison Reed, outfielder Juan Lagares and third-base coach Tim Teufel will host a Play Ball clinic for over 100 children Saturday in Corona to highlight the Mets' participation in the program. The team will also donate baseballs and softballs to approximately 70 local youth leagues, and pair up with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to collect equipment for underserved communities.
• Complete Youth Baseball coverage
In sum, MLB's Play Ball initiative marks the league's most significant effort to reach out to youth players. MLB personnel wore Play Ball T-shirts during batting practice at ballparks around the country last weekend, and Play Ball patches on their uniforms. MLB also handed out more than 320,000 plastic bat and ball sets, in addition to free game tickets.
"Play Ball Weekend is a unified demonstration of the national pastime's commitment to engaging youth in all facets of our game," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "This special program is an elevated step of the Play Ball initiative, which has been a tremendous vehicle to strengthen the ties with young people all across the United States and Canada."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.