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MLB announces Grant finalists in Scotts® Field refurbishment program


Blades of grass 2014 photo By LoggaWiggler - https, CC0, https

California, Indiana, Kansas and New Jersey community organizations vying for special field refurbishment in online vote


The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts) and Major League Baseball today launched an online vote to select one more community that will receive a special refurbished youth ball field this year as part of the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program, which is now in its third season. Communities from California, Indiana, Kansas and New Jersey were chosen by a special blue-ribbon panel from over 350 grant applications across 315 cities in 43 states seeking refurbishments for their youth fields. The four finalists that can now be voted on at are: Algin Sutton Recreation Center in South Los Angeles, CA; Austin Park field in Austin, IN; City Park field in Kansas City, KS; and Benson Court Baseball Facility in Passaic, NJ.

This online vote comes after four other fields around the U.S. from that same group of 350+ applications won refurbishment grants awarded by the blue-ribbon panel. Work on those fields has already begun. The blue-ribbon panel that chose the four finalists and previous four winners include two-time World Series champion & ESPN analyst David Ross, Olympic Gold Medalist & MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch, World Series champion & MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd, MLB Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Kim Ng, Scotts Vice President & General Manager Josh Peoples and additional executives from MLB and Scotts.

Below are details of the four finalist fields and communities in the running for a $50,000 refurbishment grant from Scotts and Major League Baseball. Fans can now vote at

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation works to significantly impact underserved youth in some of the most economically challenged neighborhoods of Los Angeles. With this grant, the LADF would partner with the City of Los Angeles to maintain a refurbished baseball/softball field at Algin Sutton Recreation Center in South Los Angeles. This field is in need of renovations due to being increasingly neglected in the middle of a large community with immense popularity of baseball and softball in the area.

The Austin Park in south central Indiana is home to three baseball fields and this grant would be used to refurbish one of the diamonds used by elementary school-aged children. Currently, the base of the infield is predominately made up of agricultural lime. Over time, this material has been prone to washouts and created an uneven surface that is less than ideal for youth players, especially those just starting to play baseball. With this refurbishment, the park board would put a plan of maintenance into place that includes personnel ranging from volunteer youth league coaches to high school baseball players, in addition to a part-time groundskeeper.

City Park in Kansas City is the oldest ball field in the state of Kansas. Despite being used for baseball, softball and kickball, no improvements have been made in the last two decades. Rain and flooding has caused massive deterioration and puddles all around the field. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County Parks and Recreation is requesting this grant in order to modernize City Park field for the current and future youth players in their community.

The City of Passaic, New Jersey, is the tenth most densely populated municipality in the nation, home to over 22,000 residents per square mile. The City has extremely limited space to accommodate the 3,000+ children who annually participate in its recreation baseball and softball leagues. In fact, Passaic currently only has eight fields, including Benson Court, which is rife with holes that create tripping hazards for players. With a grant to improve Benson Court field, Passaic will maximize its open space, creating a safe and vibrant new field for its T-ball and 7-9-year-old leagues.

In addition to the winner of this online vote and the four previously announced grant recipients, this summer Scotts and MLB will refurbish a Washington, D.C. area youth field as part of MLB’s All-Star Legacy Initiative. Scotts and MLB also plan to renovate a field in Tallahassee, FL, which will be in partnership with David Ross and the city of Tallahassee’s Parks & Recreation Department.

MLB and Scotts, a long-time league sponsor, began the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program prior to the 2016 championship season to provide kids with modern, playable ball fields in communities around the U.S. This program is part of Scotts’ efforts as an official partner of the ‘PLAY BALL’ initiative, MLB’s 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. In its first two seasons, the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program renovated a dozen fields — at the conclusion of the 2018 season, that total will surpass 20 fields.