SAN JOSE, Puerto Rico -- While the Puerto Rico series between the Twins and the Indians is the main event on the island, Major League Baseball has been active in the local community, including hosting a charity event at the Boys & Girls Club in Rio Piedras, San Jose on
SAN JOSE, Puerto Rico -- While the Puerto Rico series between the Twins and the Indians is the main event on the island, Major League Baseball has been active in the local community, including hosting a charity event at the Boys & Girls Club in Rio Piedras, San Jose on Tuesday.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred took part in a special ceremony at the grand reopening of the Boys & Girls Club, which was fully renovated after Hurricane Maria. Manfred was joined by former Major Leaguer and Puerto Rico native Carlos Delgado and Boys & Girls Clubs of America president and CEO Jim Clark.
"I think this is great," Delgado said. "Boys & Girls Club gives kids a great opportunity, especially in a place like this in an inner-city community. It gives the kids a chance to go on to better things. We're so happy to have this in Puerto Rico with all the buzz surrounding the Puerto Rico series. I've been a friend to Boys & Girls for a while, and I have worked with them on the island and in New York when I was on the Mets. At the end of the day, the people who benefit are the kids."
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Major League Baseball has had a long history with the Boys & Girls Club, as it's been an official partner since 1997. The renovated club in Rio Piedras now has a full basketball court and several activity rooms for the children to use.
"We're always happy to give back, and certainly with the Boys & Girls Club, which has been our official charity for 22 years," said Tom Brasuell, vice president of community affairs for MLB. "We give back in times of disaster. We were here a few years ago when there was a little calamity, and we did charity work after the hurricane during the World Series. We're always supporting Boys & Girls Club, but when times are bad, we're always happy to reach out even further."
MLB has also always had strong relationship with Puerto Rico, as several former stars have come from the island, such as Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Ivan Rodriguez, Roberto Alomar, Bernie Williams, Carlos Beltran and Delgado. MLB also awards the Roberto Clemente Award annually to a player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team."
"It's an honor to have Carlos Delgado here as a former Roberto Clemente Award winner," Brasuell said. "He's been tremendous in the community when he was player and since then. He's been involved with charities wherever he's played and here in Puerto Rico."
MLB has been hosting several charity events since Monday, including Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario going back to his former high school in Guayama and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor visiting his school in Gurabo. Twins right-hander Jose Berrios also visited a local hospital on Monday.
"We're showcasing the best players in the world over the next two days," Brasuell said. "But many past and present players are here on the island where there's a huge passion for baseball. It's important to give back to this region, which has supported baseball for so many years."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.