Oates Field presented by Papa John's dedicated at Rangers MLB Youth Academy

Renovation of field scheduled to be completed by spring of 2017

The dedication of Oates Field presented by Papa John's took place this afternoon at the new Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex in West Dallas.
 
Construction of the new Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex is currently ongoing. As part of the project, the Johnny Oates Youth Ballpark, which opened on the site in 1999, is being renovated and reconfigured as a professional-size field with seating for approximately 750. It will be renamed Oates Field in honor of the late Rangers manager who guided the club to its first three postseason appearances in 1996, 1998, and 1999. The facility is expected to host signature local baseball events once it opens in the spring of 2017.
 
Participating in Tuesday's announcement and dedication are Johnny Oates' wife, Gloria Oates and two standouts from the Rangers' first playoff team in 1996, first baseman Will Clark and catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Johnny Oates, who was selected as the 1996 BBWAA co-American League Manager of the Year, was an inaugural selection in the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. He passed away in December 2004. The dedication is being held in conjunction with the honoring of the 1996 Texas Rangers team prior to tonight's game at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Papa John's, the Official Pizza of the Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball, is contributing $150,000 to build and maintain Oates Field. Papa John's is also a Supporting Sponsor of the MLB's Play Ball initiative, the league's program to encourage widespread participation in both formal and informal baseball activities particularly among youth.

Throughout the 2016 season, Papa John's will match fan donations directed to the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex up to $50,000. Every month will feature a new way to motivate fans to give. Donations can be made at texasrangers.com/donate.

"The Oates Field is more than just a baseball field; it is a classroom for teaching responsibility, discipline, perseverance and teamwork. At-risk youth will be born into leaders on this field," said Steve McNeil, vice president of operations at Papa John's. "Papa John's whole-heartedly supports the work of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the mission of the MLB Youth Academy."

The Rangers, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Dallas-based Mercy St. are partnering to build the new state-of-the-art facility, which will provide free (or reduced cost) and year-round opportunities for North Texas youth, on the 17-acre site at the intersection of Hampton and Bickers.
 
When totally completed, the facility will include five fields and an Academy building. The Clayton Kershaw Field is named for the Los Angeles Dodgers standout and North Texas native, who made a personal financial donation to the project. The indoor building will feature a full turf professional-sized infield, six batting/pitching cages, classrooms, and a weight and nutrition room. Rangers players Adrian Beltre, Ian Desmond, Prince Fielder, and Cole Hamels have all made financial contributions to the project.
 
The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy will be available to children throughout North Texas, especially the more than 8,000 kids who live within the West Dallas neighborhood and youth from the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. In addition to providing year-round baseball and softball instruction and play, including hosting tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps, the Academy will provide youth with access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics, and MLB industry alternative career workshops.
 
Youth also will have opportunities to be involved in drug resistance and gang-prevention programs and healthy lifestyle classes. Additionally, all Academy members and other community youth benefit from Academy facilities and programs through baseball vocational programming, such as umpiring seminars, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports information training, and athletic sports training.
 
The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation will employ staff to oversee the Academy, and will work with Mercy Street and their existing programming. Mercy Street participates in the Rangers RBI program with 400 young people, and they, along with the nearly 1,500 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) participants throughout the Metroplex area, will have access to the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy. The Operations of the Academy will be covered entirely by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, which also will provide equipment, supplies, utilities and other operating costs.