The Seattle Mariners will join clubs around Major League Baseball to celebrate the Second Annual PLAY BALL WEEKEND at Safeco Field June 3-4, when the Tampa Bay Rays come to town. PLAY BALL WEEKEND is a league-wide effort by MLB, all 30 MLB Clubs and Minor League Baseball to engage
The Seattle Mariners will join clubs around Major League Baseball to celebrate the Second Annual PLAY BALL WEEKEND at Safeco Field June 3-4, when the Tampa Bay Rays come to town. PLAY BALL WEEKEND is a league-wide effort by MLB, all 30 MLB Clubs and Minor League Baseball to engage young baseball and softball fans and support youth participation in the game.
Mariners players, coaches and manager Scott Servais will wear PLAY BALL WEEKEND patches on their uniforms during this weekend's games. They'll also wear custom T-shirts during batting practice that reflect fun jargon specific to either hitting or pitching. The official MLB PLAY BALL WEEKEND logo will be stenciled on the field.
Sunday is Little League Day at Safeco Field. All kids 14 and under will receive a plastic bat and ball set, and will be invited down on field pregame for a parade around the warning track.
Fans are urged to bring new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to the ballpark on Sunday for the annual Baseball Tomorrow Fund equipment drive. All donations, and a $5,000 grant, will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, which administers the Reviving Baseball in Innercities program that makes baseball and softball available to kids at no cost.
A video of the Mariners take-over of a Rainier Playfield Little League game between the Royals and Orange Bombers on May 20 will be shown on the MarinersVision HD videoboard. The Mariners treated the teams to a "Safeco Field experience" with public address announcer Tom Hutyler introducing batters, Rick Rizzs providing play-by-play, a low-tech hydro race and other Big League touches. Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura, Edwin Diaz and Taylor Motter took turns coaching the kids, and signed autographs.
During PLAY BALL WEEKEND, a national television and online advertising campaign will debut, developed by Anomaly, MLB's creative agency, and supported by Chevrolet, an active sponsor of the PLAY BALL initiative. The spot highlights kids having fun playing catch in various settings. The spot will be distributed on MLB Advanced Media's digital/social media platforms and air during national broadcasts on ESPN, MLB Network, TBS, FOX Sports and FS1.
PLAY BALL WEEKEND is part of the 'PLAY BALL' initiative, launched by MLB in 2015 to encourage young people to participate in baseball or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, special events and casual play. PLAY BALL events have become MLB's signature youth engagement activity stretching from Spring Training through the World Series.
PLAY BALL highlights the fun and community-focused nature of the game at the Major League, professional, amateur and youth levels. In addition to flagship partnerships with USA Baseball and USA Softball, PLAY BALL is also supported by all 30 MLB Clubs, Minor League Baseball, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and MLB Corporate Partners Chevrolet, Scotts and Nathan's Famous.
On May 18, MLB announced that baseball and softball combined to rank as the most participated team sports in the United States in 2016 (25 million participants), according to the annual Topline Participation Report produced by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). Overall baseball participation increased by 7.7 percent and slow-pitch softball participation increased by 8.1 percent in 2016. Casual participation in both baseball and slow-pitch softball showed the highest growth, increasing 18.1 percent for baseball, and 12.4 percent for slow-pitch softball. Over the last five years, casual participation in baseball and slow-pitch softball is up a combined 34 percent. All told, baseball and softball (fast-and slow-pitch) have more casual participants than any other sport (10.25 million total casual participants).