MLB, Marlins announce efforts that focus on youth, military
By Mark Newman
MIAMI -- It starts on the southeastern shore of Lake Okeechobee with the unveiling of a refurbished Boys & Girls Clubs of America teen center in Belle Glade, Fla., and culminates with the final play of the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard before a full house at Marlins Park on Tuesday night.
"The All-Star Game is not just a game," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "It's a weeklong celebration of the great game of baseball, filled with fun community activities that everyone in Miami can be involved with."
Major League Baseball's first All-Star Week in Florida is about to begin, and it will leave a sunny imprint that lasts long after the best players in the game come and go. MLB and the Marlins released the 2017 All-Star Week youth and community initiatives schedule on Wednesday, including All-Star Legacy projects that will be unveiled throughout the week, starting from Thursday and lasting through Tuesday night.
As a complement to the midsummer celebration of baseball and the Marlins, the various All-Star Week events and project renovations seek to impact the lives of underserved and special needs youth, as well as demonstrate the game's respect for the military. The legacy efforts will include four youth playing surfaces, three Boys & Girls Clubs in three South Florida counties, a mobile eye unit accessible to children throughout South Florida and a military hospitality lounge at Miami International Airport.
Manfred will join Marlins ownership in unveiling several of the projects, as he did in a whirlwind fashion last year in Greater San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. A variety of Marlins legends will also participate in the All-Star community projects and youth events.
Youth will continue to be a major focus at this All-Star Week, amid the game's overall Play Ball initiative. MLB and host clubs have built and restored 32 fields in the past six years during All-Star events, and "we're very proud of that accomplishment," Manfred said.
More unveilings are on the way. Play Ball Park and the Jr. Home Run Derby finals are part of that youth fun for the second year in a row, and the national finals of Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run are back as well.
MLB and the Marlins announced specific plans regarding MLB's environmental programs; a special Stand Up To Cancer moment at Marlins Park (after the fifth inning Tuesday); as well as visits by special young fans that are receiving an All-Star experience through Make-A-Wish, the Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life program and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
MLB Charities, the Marlins and the Marlins Foundation have donated about $5 million, a significant portion of which has gone toward the All-Star Legacy initiative. The donation also will support national charitable partners of MLB, including Boys & Girls Clubs, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and SU2C, among others. Funds will be raised from Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday at Marlins Park. Since 1997, MLB and host All-Star clubs have donated approximately $80 million through the All-Star Legacy initiative.
Activities begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday with the MLB-Marlins All-Star Teen Center Renovation at the Glades Teen Center in Belle Glade, in Palm Beach County. The 13 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Palm Beach County serve more than 8,000 children ages 6-18.
At 1 p.m. ET that day, the tour continues to North Lauderdale, Fla., for the MLB-Marlins All-Star Teen Center Renovation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County (Leo Goodwin Foundation Teen Center). At 6 p.m., there will be Opening Ceremonies of the Play Ball Park and All-Star Youth Classic at Bayfront Park in Miami.
That All-Star Youth Classic will include a team with a familiar ring to it: Mattingly Charities RBI of Evansville, Ind. It was founded by Marlins manager and Evansville native Don Mattingly, as part of MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.
MLB's Green Teams will appear at ballpark and community events throughout the week. In partnership with several universities -- including the University of Minnesota, University of Miami and DePaul University -- the program incorporates a college course around sustainability, the collection of recyclables at multiple All-Star Week events, and the education of fans in Marlins Park and the Miami community on positive environmental practices. That is just the start of an extensive commitment by MLB and the Marlins to environmental stewardship over the next week -- and beyond.
MLB.com will have full coverage of every event through All-Star Week. More details on All-Star Legacy events will be available at MLBCommunity.org.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, 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.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.