SAN DIEGO -- Since being hired as president and CEO of the Padres in 2013, Mike Dee has often talked about the significance of reengaging fans in Tijuana and northern Baja California.The Padres took a notable step forward in that initiative Wednesday, when they announced their commitment to expand outreach
SAN DIEGO -- Since being hired as president and CEO of the Padres in 2013, Mike Dee has often talked about the significance of reengaging fans in Tijuana and northern Baja California.
The Padres took a notable step forward in that initiative Wednesday, when they announced their commitment to expand outreach and access to fans in Mexico.
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"Today's announcements are a continuation of the Padres' renewed commitment to fans in Tijuana and throughout northern Baja California," Dee said during the announcement at the Boys and Girls Club in Tijuana.
"We know we have passionate baseball fans in this region, and it's a priority for our ownership group to be more consistent in our outreach and to create more access and opportunities to connect with fans here."
During Wednesday's event, the team unveiled the first cross-border Major League Baseball All-Star Community Legacy project, a multi-year extension of the Padres' partnership with Spanish media company, Uniradio, to create opportunities for fans in the region to connect with the team.
Dee was joined on Wednesday by Tom Seidler, the Padres' senior vice president of community and military affairs, Dr. Jorge Astiazarán, Mayor of Tijuana, Enrique Gamboa, president and founder of the Boys & Girls Club in Tijuana, and Ricardo Astiazaran, vice president and general manager of Uniradio.
The cross-border project will include the creation of an All-Star Complex at the Club de Niños y Niñas de Mexico (Boys & Girls Club of Mexico) in Tijuana, Baja California. Renovations at the facility most notably include the conversion of a nearly 16,000-square foot basketball court into a multi-use recreation area featuring a kickball/Wiffle ball field.
The All-Star complex project also will upgrade two batting cages by installing new netting and safety infrastructure, as well as a pitching machine.
"As the host of the 2016 All-Star Game and a longstanding supporter of baseball in Mexico, the San Diego Padres are uniquely positioned to promote baseball around the world," said Chris Park, Major League Baseball senior vice president of growth, strategy and international, in a release.
"It has become an All-Star tradition to give back not only to the host city, but also to its surrounding communities. We are delighted to extend that tradition outside the United States by partnering with the Padres to renovate the Boys & Girls Club in Tijuana."
The project is the first of several initiatives, which will comprise the MLB All-Star Community Legacy efforts in 2016.
In 2015, in partnership with the Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball provided millions of dollars in funding to improve neighborhoods, community centers and baseball and softball fields throughout the Cincinnati region.
A similar investment will be made into a number of projects designed to positively impact underserved youth and veterans, and leave a lasting legacy throughout the San Diego region.
The remaining Community Legacy projects for San Diego will be announced at a later date, ahead of MLB's All-Star Week, which leads up to the All-Star Game at Petco Park on July 12.
The Padres also announced that they have agreed to a multi-year extension with the club's longtime Spanish radio partner, Uniradio, which will continue to broadcast all regular-season Padres games in Spanish throughout the San Diego and Baja region. Games will be heard live on La Poderosa 860 AM, which is entering its 14th season as the club's Spanish flagship station.
The team announced that it will expand its international "Ve a los Padres con los Padres" bus program in 2016, which will offer fans in Mexico the opportunity to purchase a ticket to a game at Petco Park that will also include bus transportation.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.