D-backs plant trees for broken bats

D-backs plant trees for broken bats

If only D-backs legend Luis Gonzalez had had a tree planted for every bat he broke during his career. Parks in Phoenix received such a bounty on Friday through the D-backs and Arizona Lottery's "Break A Bat, Plant A Tree" program.

"This program is a great concept and if it existed when I was here, there would be a lot more trees around the city because I sure broke plenty of bats in my career," Gonzalez said with a laugh. "I grew up in the inner city and a nice park like this provides a place of opportunity and a safe place for these kids to play and have a good time."

At the beginning of the 2014 season, the D-backs and Arizona Lottery teamed up to form the program which falls in line with both organization's sustainability efforts. For every two opponent bats that a D-backs pitcher broke, the D-backs and Arizona Lottery donated a tree to City of Phoenix parks. With nearly 200 opponent bats broken in 2014, three City of Phoenix parks will receive a total of 100 trees to provide much needed shade for community residents.

"This is a very special day for Arizona Lottery," said Karen Bach, Arizona Lottery director of budget, products and communications. "I can really envision how the kids will gather here and can be life changing for them. We are honored to partner with the D-backs on this first-time program that touches on the environment and health and public welfare, two areas of focus for the Arizona Lottery that look to enrich the lives of those who live here."

D-backs employees joined together with several City of Phoenix employees to plant 21 trees at University Park, where the dedication ceremony took place. City of Phoenix arborist Richard Adkins pointed out three types of trees that were planted, including Red Push Pistache, which will change to a red color in the fall and will provide a great canopy of shade in the spring and summer months. The other trees planted are Indian Rosewood, a type of evergreen tree, and Bonita Ash, which is lush and drought tolerant.

The trees stand just outside the outfield wall of Justin Upton Field, a field dedicated in 2012 as part of the Diamonds Back Field Building program.

"This is something that is really needed for our community," said Michael Nowakowski, Phoenix City councilman. "A few days ago there were some kids messing around with one of the fences at the park and a few kids from the surrounding community told the kids that 'this is our park and our field,' so there is a sense of ownership and pride here."

Katie Krause is the D-backs' manager of corporate communications. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.