Fields of Dreams
The Scotts Field Refurbishment Program supports safe greenspaces for communities across America, one ballpark at a time.
Whether you were daydreaming in the outfield or more the type to come home covered in stains, if you played ball growing up, grass was part of the package. For some kids, baseball or softball is their first connection to nature: They’re out there in the elements, having fun. Because the memories made on the field can inspire great things, Scotts and Major League Baseball teamed up in 2016 to create the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program, a continued commitment to provide first-class fields for communities in need.
As of 2020, that adds up to 24 fields, or more than 3,200 square yards. That’s a lot of grass! It’s also a lot of big-league dreams in the making: Clear base paths, a professional home plate, and modern batter’s boxes set kids up for success. They have a safe environment to play in, whether they win or lose. And, a good game can bring out the whole neighborhood. By coming together to cheer for their team, parents and friends find common ground that can help build a real sense of community.
The excitement a brand new field can bring is clear in our video highlighting the 2020 Field Refurbishment Program recipients, who are all smiles as they think about opening day. Because now that this year’s renovations are complete, they’re ready to put this grand slam of opportunity, inspiration, and participation to good use. Here’s what these 4 organizations have on deck.
- After a school closing left the adjacent ball field in such poor condition, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana had to hold baseball practice inside a gym. The Field Refurbishment grant has allowed them to turn that field into an almost-professional ballpark for teams around Gary, Indiana, to score on for many seasons to come.
- Field deterioration forced youth baseball programs out of Memphis parks, too. The City of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods used their $50,000 Field Refurbishment grant to overhaul their fields and buy new equipment, which has helped increase interest and involvement in the sport with local youth.
- Ferguson Parks & Recreation gave their county’s rundown ball field an infield makeover, complete with a new pitcher’s mound for the launch of its baseball and softball leagues. The state-of-the-art greenspace is designed to encourage kids from all backgrounds across Ferguson, Missouri, to join their peers for an organized season at bat.
- The Oakland Athletics Community Fund found a lack of playable fields for older age groups left eager participants without a place to play. The grant has helped them transform Raimondi Park at McClymonds High in Oakland, California, into a winner for kids and adults.
This year’s recipients were selected by an esteemed panel of judges—including Olympic Gold Medalist and MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch and the 3-time MLB All-Star and 2008 World Series Champion Ryan Howard. From among 500 applicants, the 2020 Field Refurbishment winners were chosen not only because they proved they needed the help, but also because they proposed potentially life-changing ways to put the grants to work in their communities.
These refurbished fields are more than a place for baseball, softball, kickball, wiffle ball, or any other games kids might think up. They represent a commitment to help them achieve their dreams, on and off the grass—and that’s a homerun for everyone.