SEATTLE -- The All-Star Week festivities are taking over the streets of downtown, but the impact MLB is leaving behind is being felt throughout the city.
Ten miles away from T-Mobile Park, MLB hosted its All-Star Beach Cleanup at Golden Gardens Park. Approximately 100 volunteers spent their Saturday morning walking around the popular North Seattle beach with a trash picker in one hand and a garbage bag in the other.
Even MLB mascots Mariner Moose, Dinger and Clark were on hand to do their parts in helping the community. By the end of the event, multiple trash bags were turned in and disposed of, and the beauty of the beach was restored as the sun started to peek through the gray skies of Seattle.
“Every time we have an All-Star Game in any community, we want to leave a legacy,” said April Brown, MLB vice president of social responsibility and community affairs. “It's MLB’s legacy off the field to uplift communities, to provide essential resources and we do it in a variety of ways that are authentic to the city that we're in.”
The Pacific Northwest is known for its beautiful coastline, green scenery and breathtaking mountain views, which made it an easy decision for MLB to have an environmental cleanup. MLB’s partners for the events were the Seattle Parks Foundation and Players for the Planet.
Players for the Planet, which was also present at last year's beach cleanup in Santa Monica, Calif., was founded in 2008 by former Major Leaguers Chris Dickerson and Jack Cassel with the goal to involve more players in a positive change for the environment. The organization started with 15 athletes and has grown to 250, with 150 of them being MLB players such as Nelson Cruz, Lucas Giolito and Brent Suter.
The group not only does work in the United States, but internationally too as Wander Franco, Willy Adames and Sandy Alcantara -- just to name a few -- have contributed in their homelands.
“When you have a platform, like sports, you can shine a spotlight on the great work that happens in these cities,” Dickerson said. “For MLB to step up, it's excellent. You have four days where you can mobilize people in the community to get involved and to support each other, because at the end of the day we're all going to the game, we're all going to these events and I think it's the perfect way to have that unification through big events like this.”
John Spoden was one of the volunteers at the event. He is a White Sox fan but lives in Seattle because of the great outdoor amenities that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Spoden participates in other beach cleanups himself, so when he heard that MLB was hosting its own, he jumped at the chance to help his community.
“I loved hearing what MLB had to say this morning kicking off this event,” Spoden said. “Getting involved and seeing all the people that are out here this morning doing this, it's great that MLB is doing that community outreach.”
The Seattle Parks Foundation played a crucial role in helping MLB set up the event. The organization’s mission is to be the bridge between the community and the civic leaders and to create thriving and equitable public spaces, while also helping build parks in partnership with the parks department.
“It was so exciting to see that MLB wants to get back to the communities that they come into,” said Rebecca Bear, president and CEO of the Seattle Parks Foundation. “They bring in a tremendous amount of resources and people to the city. Knowing that they're giving back to that city in a way that's going to make it a bit more beautiful place is really great.
“It's good to see that they care about the planet as much as they care about the sport.”