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4 youth groups win grants to upgrade fields

@alysonfooter
July 16, 2020

Four youth baseball and softball fields will undergo dramatic makeovers this year, as recipients of grants awarded by the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program and Major League Baseball. Four communities of need within the United States will soon enjoy modern, playable youth baseball and softball fields after they receive $200,000 worth

Four youth baseball and softball fields will undergo dramatic makeovers this year, as recipients of grants awarded by the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program and Major League Baseball.

Four communities of need within the United States will soon enjoy modern, playable youth baseball and softball fields after they receive $200,000 worth of repairs and upgrades at their facilities. The grant recipients are: Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana (Gary, Ind.), city of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods (Memphis, Tenn.), Ferguson Parks & Recreation (Ferguson, Mo.), and the Oakland Athletics Community Fund (Oakland).

Upgrades will be made by the end of the year and facilities will open to the public at the recommendation of local health officials.

"We are pleased to once again partner with Scotts to improve field conditions in these four communities," said Tony Reagins, MLB executive vice president of baseball & softball development. "In these difficult times, we hope that one day soon youth baseball and softball can be a unifying force in communities all across our nation. For now, we believe these renovated ballfields can offer some optimism for the future in light of many not being able to play organized baseball and softball yet this year. We look forward to continuing to provide access to quality fields so youth across the nation can continue to play our great game."

MLB and Scotts received nearly 500 grant applications across more than 400 cities in 48 states and Washington, D.C., for the 2020 installment of the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program. The winning organizations were chosen by a special blue-ribbon panel, which included three-time MLB All-Star and 2008 World Series champion Ryan Howard, Olympic gold medalist and MLB youth softball ambassador Jennie Finch, 1997 World Series champion and MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd, and additional executive leadership from MLB and Scotts.

"We'd like to congratulate this year's grant recipients for being selected for a field refurbishment for their local communities," said Josh Peoples, SVP, chief brand officer, Scotts Miracle-Gro. "This year we received a record number of applications and the selection process was difficult, to say the least. Preserving greenspaces in our local communities is at the core of our Gro More Good initiative and our hope is that by refurbishing these fields, children will be able to live a healthier and more active lifestyle for years to come."

MLB and Scotts, a long-time league sponsor, began the field refurbishment program in 2016 with the goal to provide kids with modern, playable ball fields in communities around the U.S. The program is part of Scotts' Gro More Good initiative to improve children's health and well-being through increased connection to greenspaces.

Scotts is also an official partner of the Play Ball initiative, the sport's largest collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, events and casual forms of play.

Through 2020, the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program will have renovated two dozen fields with nearly $1.75 million of support.

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