The Cleveland Indians played host to the fourth annual Fields for the Future project on Thursday, May 10 at Thurgood Marshall Recreation on Cleveland’s East Side.
Volunteers from the Cleveland Indians renovated two fields at the site — Johnny Roscoe Field and Fred Drake Field — and worked in collaboration with the City of Cleveland, the Motz Group and Cleveland Indians Community Partners Minutemen, Pepco/Victory Park Ohio, Electronic Merchant Systems, Car Parts Warehouse and McDonald Hopkins.
Volunteers completed a variety of clean-up and painting projects to help beautify the fields.
In addition to the field renovations, The Shelly Company has donated new concrete slabs for the dugouts and The Davey Tree Expert Company donated 10 trees, which were planted throughout the surrounding park with the help of volunteers from Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Davey Tree. The trees planted were Bur Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Red Oak and Shingle Oak.
BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence also helped to coordinate volunteers from the Cleveland Indians, McDonald Hopkins and Pepco to conduct several clean up and painting projects around the park. With support from MLB’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a field maintenance clinic will also be provided to City of Cleveland staff who maintain the field to ensure the renovations will be maintained.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes and his wife Jenna, who made a financial donation to support the project, City of Cleveland Director of Public Works Michael Cox, City of Cleveland Councilman Basheer Jones, State Representative Stephanie Howse, and staff from U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge’s office were on hand to unveil renovations at approximately later in the afternoon.
Local youth then played a game on the newly renovated field. Councilman Jones threw the ceremonial first pitch, which Gomes caught.
“Our Fields for the Future program is a key piece of our long-term goal to improve the quality of youth baseball in Cleveland,” said Indians Executive Director of Community Impact Rebecca Kodysh. “We work with a number of valued partners on the project, which could not happen without their support.”
This program served as a precursor to Play Ball Weekend taking place May 26–27, which was launched by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball as the sport’s largest effort to encourage widespread participation in both formal and informal baseball activities.
The Fields for the Future program began in 2015 at Luke Easter Park on Cleveland’s East Side. In 2016, a field was renovated at Gunning Park and in 2017, a field was renovated at Halloran Park. According to the City of Cleveland, field usage improved tremendously after the renovations, with the number of games played at the field growing four-fold.
— TribeVibe Contributor Hanna Moore; Photos by Courtney Culbreath
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