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MLB, Indians giving back to youth, community

July 2, 2019

In 1997, Major League Baseball and the host team for the All-Star Game introduced a new Legacy Project initiative designed to pour $5 million back into the city in the form of refurbished ballparks and youth programming. That host team was the Cleveland Indians, and this year, they will celebrate

In 1997, Major League Baseball and the host team for the All-Star Game introduced a new Legacy Project initiative designed to pour $5 million back into the city in the form of refurbished ballparks and youth programming.

That host team was the Cleveland Indians, and this year, they will celebrate their second go-around, with a new round of Legacy Projects that will be rolled out over the week prior to the 90th Midsummer Classic, set for July 9 at Progressive Field.

Since 1997, MLB and host All-Star clubs have donated more than $90 million through the All-Star Legacy initiative.

In addition to the Legacy initiatives, MLB will also hold a full slate of youth activities at Play Ball Park, a new fan-friendly, interactive festival that will be open from Friday through Tuesday inside and outside the Huntington Convention Center.

The opening ceremony of Play Ball Park will take place on Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the event will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Monday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The outdoor component will close a little earlier Friday and Saturday, prior to the All-Star concerts, but the indoor activities will operate the full 10 hours.

Another unique All-Star activity titled “The Bridge,” presented by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, will take place on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, and running all day at Red Space in downtown Cleveland.

“The Bridge” is designed to bridge baseball to different lifestyle elements, such as fashion, art, music and technology. The special event will feature art exhibits, sneaker customization, a gaming lounge, and panelists, including MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, artist Glen Infante, FLOH Vodka owner Jacques Evans, Michelin Star Cleveland chef Jill Vedaa and more.

Several former Tribe players will participate in the various All-Star Legacy and community projects as well as youth events.

A full rundown of all fan-friendly activities, youth initiatives and Legacy Projects can be found here (all times ET):

Wednesday, July 3:

Larry Doby All-Star Playground (Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland King Kennedy Club), 3 p.m.:

MLB and the Indians will refurbish Larry Doby All-Star Playground as part of their general community outreach during All-Star Week. Originally constructed during the inaugural year of the All-Star Legacy effort in 1997, the playground will be renovated to include updated equipment and refurbished flooring. Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland - King Kennedy Club and youth in the nearby community will be able to use the Playground as a daily recreational outlet.

Thursday, July 4:

Opening Ceremonies of All-Star Commissioner’s Cup & Jennie Finch All-Star Classic Presented by ARM & HAMMER (League Park), 6:30 p.m. ET:

The All-Star Commissioner’s Cup and Jennie Finch All-Star Classic presented by ARM & HAMMER, youth-oriented tournaments featuring members of the MLB Youth Academy network, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs and other groups, will begin on Friday and continue until Monday, when the champions for both tournaments will be recognized on the field prior to the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. Thursday’s ceremony will serve as a kickoff to these two signature events.

Friday, July 5:

Opening Ceremonies of PLAY BALL Park (Huntington Convention Center), 9:30 a.m.

All-Star Student Veterans Center at Baldwin Wallace University (Berea, Ohio), 10 a.m.:

MLB and the Indians have transformed both levels of a university-owned, single-family home into a new Student Veterans Center, which will provide support to veterans of U.S. Military Service currently studying at Baldwin Wallace University.

All-Star Green Team Volunteer Event -- Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, 1:00 p.m.:

More than 100 volunteers will participate in a neighborhood sustainability project in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood of Cleveland. The event will allow for hands-on activities (e.g., landscaping, waste removal, tree planting, etc.) and will also incorporate environmental education in the form of All-Star Green Team college students working with youth to increase knowledge around environmental issues and best practices.

Miracle League Game (Progressive Field), 3:00 p.m.:

MLB and the Indians will host the Miracle League Game at Progressive Field to provide an opportunity for children with disabilities to play baseball on a Major League field, the same one the All-Stars will play on.

Saturday, July 6:

Home Run Derby and Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals (Progressive Field), 7:30 a.m.:

The list of 24 finalists for the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals competition includes the top three baseball and softball participants from four age divisions (7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14). The fourth annual MLB Jr. Home Run Derby National Finals will feature 20 young sluggers who have advanced from over 1,800 local competitions across the U.S. and Canada.

All-Star Field at Luke Easter Park, 10:00 a.m.:

In association with and with financial support from the City of Cleveland, MLB and the Indians will renovate Field #7 at Luke Easter Park. Refurbishments will include installation of turf, which will ensure safe play despite poor weather, as well as the installation of new dugouts and bleachers, both of which will include new shade structures.

The Bridge (Red Space), 11 a.m.

All-Star High School All-Star Game (Progressive Field), 1:00 p.m.:

Players from the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP), a newly launched premier development and showcase experience for dozens of high school baseball prospects based in the United States, will compete in the All-Star High School All-Star Game.

Make-A-Wish Welcome Reception (Cleveland Hilton Downtown), 5:30 p.m.:

Through Make-A-Wish, MLB is hosting four young people battling life-threatening illnesses and their families as honored guests during All-Star Week. Since 2000, MLB has granted more than 100 wishes to attend the All-Star Game and World Series games.

Sunday, July 7:

All-Star High School Home Run Derby (Progressive Field), 12:15 p.m.:

Major League Baseball will host eight high school players from various communities in the United States for the “All-Star High School Home Run Derby,” their version of the annual home-run hitting contest.

Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game (Progressive Field), 7:00 p.m.

Monday, July 8:

Talty Field at Cleveland Metroparks Brookside Reservation (Brookside Reservation), 11:00 a.m.:

In association with and with financial support from the City of Cleveland and Cleveland Metroparks, MLB and the Indians will completely renovate Talty Field in the Brookside Reservation. This project will include a new, artificially-turfed field, which will be utilized by the Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI teams and become a premier site to host Play Ball, Pitch, Hit & Run and Jr. Home Run Derby events, in addition to other special baseball or softball events and clinics.

Tuesday, July 9:

All-Star Digital Arts Suite at Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland's East Tech Teen Center, 10:30 a.m.

This project will fully renovate the digital arts suite at the Boys & Girls Club location out of East Technical High School, installing a sound recording studio with brand-new equipment, a collaborative workspace stocked with Mac desktop computers, and a vibrant lounge area. The site, which will be utilized by students at East Technical High School and members of local Boys and Girls Clubs, will be instrumental in helping retention rates.

Additional Cause-Related, Youth & Cultural Activities include:

* Stand Up To Cancer Moment: Players, coaches, managers, umpires and fans in attendance at Progressive Field will experience a live moment to stand together with Stand Up To Cancer.

* Breaking Barriers Grand Prize Winner: Sharon Robinson will accompany Asma Kaukab -- a rising sixth grader from Valley Stream, N.Y. -- as an honored guest at Progressive Field prior to the Home Run Derby. Asma wrote about maintaining her integrity while facing discrimination and bullying for wearing a hijab.

* Make-A-Wish: Four young fans will be a part of All-Star Week festivities, including all events at Progressive Park, as special guests of Major League Baseball. They include: Jonathan, 12, from Beverly Hills, Mich.; Zachary, 10, from Ruskin, Fla.; Sawyer, 17, from Graniteville, S.C.; and Cannon, 15, from Camas, Wash.

* Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year: Carlos Polanco, 19, from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Clifton, New Jersey, will be a part of the All-Star pregame ceremonies. Carlos is a student at Dartmouth College.

* KultureCity at PLAY BALL Park: MLB and KultureCity will partner to include a sensory-friendly vehicle at PLAY BALL Park to provide sensory bags to those in need. The bags will contain tools to provide comfort to fans who may be autistic, including noise-cancelling headphones, fidget spinners and more.

* MLB Environmental Efforts: As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, MLB has ensured that all activities during All-Star Week, including the All-Star Game, will incorporate environmentally friendly features and activities.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.