MLB, Mariners announce 2023 All-Star Legacy initiative

May 22nd, 2023

SEATTLE -- The Emerald City will soon shine even brighter, particularly on its diamonds.

Major League Baseball announced its 2023 All-Star Legacy plans on Monday in honor of Seattle hosting the 2023 All-Star Game on July 11 at T-Mobile Park, the home of the Mariners.

On Monday at a press conference in the stadium prior to the Mariners’ series opener against the A’s, MLB, the Mariners and the city of Seattle announced a commitment of more than $2 million toward field renovations, grants to local Nike RBI and other community baseball and softball league programs, building a workout and intramural league to connect middle-school students with the sport, and providing funding and a facility refurbishment to a nonprofit offering degree attainment aid to local community college students.

“Each year, when Major League Baseball has our All-Star Game, we’re very thoughtful with our hosts in terms of really making sure that we’re authentic and leaving a legacy,” said April Brown, MLB’s senior vice president of social responsibility.

“What is legacy? It means that when we leave here in July, you’ll have a legacy that is unique to your community. And that really makes a difference.”

Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton agreed, saying while the Mariners’ mission is to win championships and delight their fans, they are also here to serve their communities.

“Focusing on what we can do not only for this generation of fans, but for future generations of fans, is what the All-Star Game is all about,” Stanton said.

The various All-Star Legacy programs will be commemorated from July 7-11 leading up to the All-Star Game. Since 1997, MLB and host All-Star clubs have donated more than $100 million through the All-Star Legacy initiative.

“Baseball and softball teach you life lessons,” said Seattle senior deputy mayor Monisha Harrell, herself a former softball player. “And so when we talk about bringing this game to Seattle, it’s not just about the sport. It’s about the lessons. So these investments will help our community be able to deepen those lessons in the Seattle area.”

The Legacy programs include the following:

Field Renovation at Rainier Playfield

MLB, the Mariners and the Mariners Care Foundation will add turf to the infield of the baseball and softball fields to serve high school softball teams and local youth leagues while increasing access to youth from diverse and low-income backgrounds. The fields, which will serve as the home field for the Rainier District Little League, also will host skills clinics and middle school programming.

Access Innovation Fund

This fund will be established to focus on youth baseball and softball equity and will support the launch of a local Baseball and Softball Play Equity Youth Council, which will review and approve grant applications for local Nike RBI or community league programs. Partners will include the King County Play Equity Coalition and local Nike RBI or other community baseball and softball programs, and the initial funding year will include grants for Nike RBI affiliates Baseball Beyond Borders in Washington, Friends of Baseball in Oregon and Gamers Alaska.

H9 League

This workout and intramural league engages middle-school-age students to play ball in their “backyard” and addresses the “middle-school cliff,” where there is a decline in youth participation in baseball and softball from ages 9-12. As an extension of the Mariners’ “Hometown Nine Program,” the community investment will include uniform and gear grants to H9 pilot league operators plus a partnership agreement that includes branding and league structure.

Community College Degree Attainment Aid and Resource Hubs

The partnership will provide aid to community college students at nearby Shoreline College through United Way of King County’s “Bridge to Finish” program and a scholarship through Seattle Colleges Foundation. Bridge to Finish provides thousands of students with emergency aid funding, meals, transportation and/or housing assistance to remove barriers to degree attainment.

The All-Star Legacy initiative -- which also includes support of MLB national partners Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Stand Up To Cancer -- will complement a full scope of All-Star Week community, youth and diversity and inclusion-focused programs and events that will be announced at a later date. Additional efforts will be inclusive of supporting military families, celebrating children with special needs and environmental sustainability practices.

“I want to underline that these are legacy projects,” said Mariners executive vice president Fred Rivera.

“These are not one-time projects. This is something that will remain in our community for decades to come. So hopefully, when we host the next All-Star Game in 20-some years, folks will say, ‘I remember what they did in 2023.’”