MLB employees give back to community with cleanup event at Corona Park

April 29th, 2024

NEW YORK -- The green thumbs were on full display on April 20 during MLB’s Earth Day Volunteer Event at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York.

Over a dozen MLB employees gathered at the historic park to aid in a mass cleanup effort of its baseball fields.

The event was a collaboration between Major League Baseball’s MLB Together team, the organization Partnership for Parks and featured volunteers from the MLB League office in New York and MLB Network studios in Secaucus, NJ.

Partnerships for Parks is a joint public-private program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Parks Department with a focus on providing local community organizers and volunteers with tools and resources to support and care for local green spaces.

The baseball fields at Corona Park -- which resides less than three miles from Citi Field, home of the New York Mets -- do not have the same maintenance support as their big league neighbor. Volunteers for the event were greeted by a dilapidated infield and overgrown outfield, exactly what they came for.

Jennifer Cucchiarella, the corporate engagement manager for Partnership for Parks, helped facilitate the event, instructing volunteers on the areas to tend to and sharing tips for identifying invasive weeds and plants.

“I'm particularly excited about today's project since we're going to be beautifying some of the baseball fields at Flushing Meadows that are incredibly utilized starting now,” said Cucchiarella.

Volunteers spread clay on the infield and weeded gardens at Corona Park. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos)

Working and traveling across all five boroughs for Partnerships for Parks, Cucchiarella is aware of the important role green spaces like Corona Park play in the communities they are part of.

“Every single year we are going to a park that doesn't get the volunteer support it deserves, and the community really utilizes that space,” said Cucchiarella. “Our main mission is to support local New Yorkers who want to get involved in their parks and playgrounds.”

Volunteers took part in restoring two separate baseball fields through activities such as spreading clay in the infield, weeding the gardens, clearing the backstops, removing litter and adding soil to the outfield.

Cleaning up Corona Park was an initiative with a personal element for many volunteers. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos)

Among the volunteers was April Brown, senior vice president of social responsibility for Major League Baseball. As part of MLB Together, she organized the day of cleanup at the park.

“We are honoring Earth Month by rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands a little bit dirty to make this baseball field and Flushing Meadow Park much cleaner and better,” Brown said.

Brown is a local of the area, so the cleanup effort hit a personal note for her. She’s an avid runner, and the park is a part of one her favorite places to run in.

“There's nothing better than when you can help the community you live in,” said Brown. “And that is part of our MLB Together pillars. Volunteerism is incredibly important for us.”

Prior to the cleanup event, many volunteers had visited Corona Park to run or attend family events. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos)

Brown was not the only volunteer who uses the park as a running location, nor was she the only one with a personal connection to it.

“Flushing Meadow Park … is my backyard,” said Sandy Chung, manager of facilities and space planning for MLB. “I run here twice a week and saw this great opportunity to give back. I think it's great that MLB can do that for us and provide these opportunities in our own backyards.”

Added John Schwarz, MLB’s community affairs manager: “This is amazing because I came to this park as a kid -- family picnics, barbecues -- growing up.”

Cleaning up Corona Park allowed MLB employees to give back to their community. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos)

Schwarz commended MLB for what the volunteer event, and others like it, represents in regards to the league’s community engagement and outreach efforts.

“It makes me proud to be an MLB employee,” Schwarz said. “I think it's a testament to our core values to give back to the community, take care of the communities where we live, work and play.”

The annual volunteer park cleanup event was held as part of MLB’s broader Earth Day celebration, which was officially on Monday, April 22. To learn more about MLB’s sustainability initiatives visit