SEATTLE -- The Mariners, as a part of Major League Baseball's Play Ball Weekend, are hosting an equipment drive before Sunday's home game at Safeco Field that will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County.Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently-used baseball and softball equipment, as well
SEATTLE -- The Mariners, as a part of Major League Baseball's Play Ball Weekend, are hosting an equipment drive before Sunday's home game at Safeco Field that will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County.
Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently-used baseball and softball equipment, as well as cash contributions, to volunteers, who will be outside Safeco Field starting 11 a.m. before the game against the Rays. A $5,000 cash grant will also be made by the team to the Boys and Girls Club of King County.
The equipment drive precedes Little League Day at Safeco Field, where all kids 14 and younger will receive a playground bat and ball set and will be invited down to the field pregame.
Mariners players and coaches will wear Play Ball Weekend patches on their uniforms during both Saturday's and Sunday's games, as well as custom T-shirts during batting practice with playful vernacular specific to batting and pitching. The official Play Ball logo will be stenciled on the field.
Video of a Mariners take-over at a Little League game at Rainer Playfield from May 20 will be shown on MarinersVision HD videoboard. The Little League players were treated with the Safeco Field experience, with public address announcer Tom Hutyler introducing batters, broadcaster Rick Rizzs doing play-by-play, a makeshift hydro race and Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura, Edwin Diaz and Taylor Motter coaching and signing autographs.
The second annual Play Ball Weekend features a variety of youth engagement activities by nearly 200 Major League and Minor League clubs to highlight the fun of youth baseball and softball. It is a complementary program of the PlayBall initiative, designed by MLB to celebrate youth baseball and softball participation. MLB has provided clubs with more than 300,000 youth plastic bat and ball sets to distribute in both ballparks and at community events.
Many MLB clubs are hosting skills and physical fitness clinics as well as surprise "takeovers" of youth baseball and softball games or practices featuring appearances by Major League players, alumni, mascots, public address announcers and more. Activities will include kids participating in special news conferences, pregame meet-and-greets and catches withplayers, ceremonial first pitches, public address duties, lineup card exchanges, taking the field with players, postgame running the bases and more. Major League players, coaches and managers will wear Play Ball Weekend patches during the weekend's games, and players on home clubs will wear custom T-shirts during batting practice on the date of their club's activations.
Teams that are on the road Saturday and Sunday will host their Play Ball Weekend activities during another homestand.
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.