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MLB to focus on community outreach during WS

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The 113th World Series presented by YouTube TV gets underway tonight when the Astros visit the Dodgers, and in keeping with tradition, Major League Baseball and the two participating clubs will begin using this massive platform to do important work for people who need help and recognition in the community.

Somehow it just seems to carry a little more meaning in 2017.

LOS ANGELES -- The 113th World Series presented by YouTube TV gets underway tonight when the Astros visit the Dodgers, and in keeping with tradition, Major League Baseball and the two participating clubs will begin using this massive platform to do important work for people who need help and recognition in the community.

Somehow it just seems to carry a little more meaning in 2017.

:: World Series schedule and coverage ::

This baseball season has played out in lockstep with so many natural disasters that the word "devastating" has, unfortunately, been heard far too often. During the first four games in both Los Angeles and Houston, the MLB family will be packing supply kits for victims of wildfires in California, helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey, feeding the hungry, bringing a Play Ball event to underserved children, taking a stand against cancer, honoring military vets and more.

"I think it's awesome that, with America's Pastime, they push things that should be pushed," said Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who closed out the Astros' Game 7 win in the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World. "With the world now, so much is negative. It seems every news station is competing on who can have the most negative storylines. For us, for MLB to be pushing positive things to do good things is cool and different now in the world."

Here are highlights of the community activities coming during this Fall Classic:

Game 1

Two special young fans battling life-altering illnesses will be treated to an experience of a lifetime by MLB and the Dodgers at Game 1 through Make-A-Wish. The young men will be VIP guests, meet with the players during batting practice and get to spend some time with Commissioner Rob Manfred. Since 2000, MLB has granted more than 100 wishes to attend the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard and World Series games.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, and earlier this season, the Dodgers unveiled his statue at Dodger Stadium. Pregame ceremonies will also feature a TEAM recognition, as the National League Designated Driver for the season will be introduced, culminating a year-long campaign.

Game 2

On Wednesday morning, representatives from MLB and the Dodgers will be joined by kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, Challengers Clubhouse, as well as Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars & Alumni to pack supplies and comfort kits for individuals and families affected by the Northern California fires.

Supply kits will be distributed by Rebuilding Together (Petaluma) to those in need, while comfort kits will be donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Santa Rosa and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County. Manfred will greet the volunteers.

As part of an ongoing Vietnam War Commemoration, baseball will recognize local Vietnam Veterans during pregame ceremonies. Roy Gleason, who played briefly with the 1963 World Series champion Dodgers and is flying in from Illinois, will attend and be recognized. He was drafted by the Army into combat duty in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart.

Tank Wright, an eighth-grader from Sylacauga, Ala., will be recognized alongside Sharon Robinson prior to the game for being a grand prize winner of the 2017 Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life essay contest.

Thursday (travel day)

As the World Series moves to Texas, Major League Baseball will be helping the Stafford Boys & Girls Club in Fort Bend County following damage there as part of the overall devastation inflicted upon the Houston area by Hurricane Harvey. The storm displaced 200 kids who attend that club daily, temporarily moving them to a building next door. The club took on 18 to 24 feet of water and sustained roof damage, and experienced mold and furniture problems. From the MLB and Astros' donations and Fort Bend County assistance, the club is 75 percent back to what it was before Harvey.

Game 3

After a travel day on Thursday, MLB, the Astros and the family of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente will join together to serve free meals to the local community in partnership with the Houston Food Bank/Keegan's Kitchen on Portwall Street. The effort is in honor of the 15-time All-Star and great humanitarian who died on Dec. 31, 1972, during a mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

The prestigious Roberto Clemente Award will be presented in a ceremony before Friday night's game. Clemente's wife, Vera, will attend the food-kitchen event and award ceremony.

Game 4

MLB and the Astros will host a Play Ball event at the Astros' MLB Youth Academy from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT on Saturday. About 500 children ages 14 and under will participate in the clinic, attended by Manfred, Astros management and former Astros players, MLB Youth Ambassador Jennie Finch, Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, local college players, members of RBI Softball and Jr. RBI World Series champions and many others. The event also will showcase MLB's new partnership with ESPN for the Shred Hate anti-bullying initiative.

Fans attending Saturday's game will receive special Stand Up To Cancer placards on their way into Minute Maid Park, and per tradition, there will be a special in-game moment following the fifth inning as everyone stands up in the ongoing fight to end cancer. This has been done at every World Series and All-Star Game since the 2009 Fall Classic in Philadelphia.

Visit MLBCommunity.org for more information.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros