MLB dedicates field in Robinson's honor

MLB dedicates field in Robinson's honor

SAN DIEGO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, introduced San Diego's newest ballpark Monday morning, the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA All-Star Complex.

The all-turf field, dedicated by Major League Baseball and the Padres to the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in southeast San Diego, is the fifth field that has opened in San Diego in conjunction with the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. Manfred said the dedication of this field was especially important because it supports an underserved community.

"All of us at Major League Baseball are thrilled to be here in San Diego for a week full of festivities surrounding the All-Star Game," Manfred said. "The backbone of our youth effort is really building places to play. Over the last five years, we've left behind 27 fields in All-Star Game cities."

The building of the field has been supported by the All-Star Legacy Initiative, which will leave behind $5 million in baseball complexes this All-Star Week. The initiative has built $75 million worth of fields in All-Star Game cities since being created in 1997.

"It was hard to imagine [the field] could exceed our expectations, because all of our expectations were so high," Faulconer said. "But to be here today and see the kids, it represents the best of our city."

Padres play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg was the master of ceremonies as he and others addressed a crowd of community members who were sitting on the infield of the new complex that displays a giant No. 42 in center field.

Along with baseball, the complex will be used for softball, soccer and lacrosse, and it will accompany a gymnasium structure that is expected to be completed in 2017.

"I'm very proud of what the YMCA has done for this community, and now with the dedication of this gorgeous new facility and ball field, it will continue to make a difference," Robinson said.

The field was built on the site of the first Little Padres Park, dedicated to the YMCA in January 1997. Former Padres lefty and Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones played a big part in the field's first dedication, and he was in attendance Monday.

"There's life values when you play baseball. There's the teamwork, there's the communication, the skills and more importantly for a lot of kids, it teaches them how to handle failure," Jones said. "One thing you're going to see on this field for the next three decades is a lot of fun."

Jackie Robinson, who died Oct. 24, 1972, at the age of 53, instilled a lot of life values to the community during his career, and it was fitting the last of the field-opening ceremonies this All-Star Week was dedicated to a complex that bears his name.

"All of us in baseball believe that Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier was one of the greatest moments in the history of the game," Manfred said.

Manfred credited the Baseball of Tomorrow fund, a joint initiative with the MLB Players Association and Musco Sports Lighting for their part in the building of complex.

On Tuesday, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

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