Play Ball Again, Puerto Rico


Marc Anthony at the December 14 Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in Loaíza. Photo courtesy of Anna Hurt, Rural LISC

What do singer Marc Anthony, reggaeton star Bad Bunny, and Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Báez have in common? A passion for baseball in Puerto Rico – and last week they celebrated the restoration of community baseball fields so kids in Puerto Rico can have a chance to play again.

Two years ago, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, destroying community baseball programs in the process. More than 300 ball fields were no longer playable in the aftermath of the storms. In September 2019, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) launched the “Play Ball Again” program to rebuild some of those fields and bring baseball back to more than 17,000 Puerto Rican youth. Partnering with LISC are Marc Anthony’s Maestro Cares Foundation and Bad Bunny’s Good Bunny Foundation. Financial support was also provided by UNICEF and Cubs Charities.

Bad Bunny in 2018 (photo via Wikipedia)

“Baseball … helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.” – Marc Anthony

“In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.” – Bad Bunny

“This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.” – Javier Báez

The “Play Ball Again” initiative expects to provide more than $1.6 million in renovations to baseball fields in Puerto Rico, with much of the initial funding provided by Anthony, Bad Bunny, and the Cubs. On December 14, LISC celebrated the opening of newly restored ball fields at Parque de la Comunidad in Loaíza, Puerto Rico. Marc Anthony and Javy Báez were there for the celebration, along with LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones, and representatives from Little League Latin America, UNICEF, LISC, the Good Bunny Foundation, the Maestro Foundation, and the local community.

What an awesome example of different groups uniting to bring about change in the community!

~ baseballrebecca



The Latest on MLB-MiLB Negotiations

Pitcher Sean Doolittle is among those who disagree with the proposal to eliminate 42 Minor League Baseball Teams

In October, MLB released the details of its plans to contract Minor League Baseball and by November people began to understand the potential impact of MLB’s proposal for eliminating 42 minor league teams – 25 percent of the current teams. Since then, various MLB players, MiLB owners, and politicians have commented on the issue. Most agree that contraction is not what is needed to increase the fan base and address issues such as aging facilities. Over the weekend, MLB and MiLB each took swipes at each other, with MLB threatening to find other partners. Here’s a brief timeline of what has transpired since mid-November:

CBS Los Angeles ran this piece on the latest just yesterday:


MLB and MiLB have all of next year to fight this out, as the Professional Baseball Agreement between the two is set to expire at the end of 2020.

~ baseballrebecca













The Aberdeen Legacy

67472272_10158652084277067_7514303712534200320_oThis past Saturday, the Aberdeen IronBirds became the Aberdeen Legacy for one night only as the team celebrated the legacy of the Ripken family. According to the team’s website, Legacy night celebrated “the Ripken family, Bill and Cal’s respective on-field legacies and the legacy of the family in Harford County – we can’t celebrate the evening without learning more about what led Cal and Bill to bring Minor League and youth baseball to Aberdeen and Harford County and to continue working to develop the youth baseball game around the world.”

The Aberdeen IronBirds are a short-season A team in the New York-Penn League owned by Cal and Bill Ripken. In fact, the team plays at Ripken Stadium in Cal and Bill’s home town of Aberdeen, Maryland. Ripken Baseball has several baseball fields around the stadium that host youth baseball camps and tournaments.

Cal and Bill were at the game, made a few speeches, and each threw out a baseball before the game. They spoke to little leaguers on the field and interviews with the IronBirds GM appeared on the scoreboard throughout the game. It was a great way to honor the family’s contributions to baseball in Aberdeen and the rest of the state.

~ baseballrebecca


2019 Heritage Nights at the Ballpark, Part 2

17991985_10210450229270161_7373124005593779385_nLast week I posted the first half of the my annual celebrations of our many national, ethnic, and religious heritages. I’ve posted the second half below. So get out there and celebrate your heritage and the heritage of your friends and neighbors!

~ baseballrebecca

African American Heritage Celebrations and Negro Leagues Tributes

Date Team Details
16-Apr Nationals Jackie Robinson and Black Heritage Day
1-Jun Pirates Heritage Night/Negro Leagues Uniforms
7-Jun Brewers Negro Leagues Tribute Game
19-Jun Cardinals African American Heritage Night
19-Jun Dodgers African American Heritage Night
20-Jun A’s African American Heritage Night
23-Jun Royals Salute to the Negro Leagues Day
28-Jun Reds African American Community Night
23-Jul Giants African American Heritage Night
10-Aug Tigers 100th Anniversary Detroit Stars Replica Jersey


Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebrations

8-Apr Giants Chinese Heritage Night
21-Apr Marlins Japanese Heritage Celebration
21-May Giants Filipino Heritage Night 1
24-May Giants Japanese Heritage Night
21-Jun Dodgers Filipino Night
23-Jun Mariners Japanese Heritage Day
19-Jul Giants Polynesian Heritage Night
Jul-19 Dodgers Japan Night
26-Jul A’s Pacific Islander Heritage Night
29-Jul Padres Japanese Community Night
1-Aug Dodgers Korea Night
2-Aug Dodgers Hawaiian Night
6-Aug Mariners Korean Heritage Night
10-Aug Padres Filipino Heritage Night
15-Aug Rangers Hawaiian Heritage Night
16-Aug A’s Korean Heritage Night
20-Aug A’s Chinese Heritage Night
23-Aug Mariners Filipino Heritage Night
7-Sep Padres Pacific Islander Heritage Night


Native American Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
14-May Giants Native American Heritage Night
1-Jun D’backs Native American Recognition Day
30-Jul A’s Native American Heritage Night
12-Sep Mariners Salute to Native American Night


Heritage Celebrations for Other Folks

Date Team Details
29-May Phillies Greek Heritage Night
31-May A’s Greek Heritage Night
11-Jun Giants Portuguese Heritage Night
18-Jun Padres Scottish Heritage Night
24-Jun Red Sox Catholic Night
26-Jul Padres Catholic Night
27-Jul A’s Portuguese Heritage Night
6-Aug Tigers Arab American Night
10-Aug Tigers Armenian Tigers Fan Night
15-Aug A’s Indian Heritage Night
27-Aug Padres Portuguese Heritage Night
14-Sep Nationals Taste of the World International Food Festival
27-Sep Giants Greek Heritage Night




2019 Heritage Nights at the Ballpark, Part 1

Image result for internationalAs a Baseball Sociologist, some of my favorite ballpark promotions are heritage nights. Even if you aren’t from a particular community, you can still celebrate with your neighbors, learn something about their heritage, watch some cool dances or presentations, and eat food you don’t normally get to taste.

This year, the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants are doing the most heritage nights – 14 each.  The Padres and Marlins are right behind them with 11 and 10, respectively. In addition, the Marlins introduced “Comunidad 305” this year. They have a dedicated area in the ballpark where they “celebrate culture every game.” According to their website: “No matter where you are from, you are part of what makes Miami great. We are fusing our pride for our Heritage, our city, our diversity and our team to represent every night. Musical instruments, flags and more will be welcomed and encouraged.”

However, 19 teams – that’s NINETEEN teams – have two or fewer heritage days scheduled. At least from my count. Granted, sometimes it’s hard to find where they have the list on their websites. But then again, if it’s not advertised that well, does it really count?

Below are the first groupings I’m posting: Jewish Heritage Nights, Irish/Italian/German/ Polish Heritage Nights, and Latin American Heritage Nights. I decided to group Irish, Italian, German, and Polish heritage nights together because they are European heritage groups that are frequently celebrated at the ballpark. I chose these three groupings simply because they have celebration nights this coming up this weekend. Finally, I’ve included past dates just so you can see if you’re team or group were celebrated and when.

Keep in mind that several of these events include a giveaway item with a special ticket – so be sure to check the team websites for more information. Next week I’ll post additional heritage nights, so stay tuned!

~ baseballrebecca


 Jewish Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
19-May Tigers Jewish Heritage Day
19-May Marlins Jewish Heritage Celebration
28-May Reds Jewish Community Night
13-Jun Red Sox Jewish Pride Night
22-Jul Mariners Jewish Community Night
21-Aug A’s Jewish Heritage Night
26-Aug Phillies Jewish Heritage Celebration
27-Aug Giants Jewish Heritage Night
15-Sep Nationals Jewish Community Day
20-Sep Tigers Jewish Heritage Night


Irish/Italian/German/Polish Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
11-Apr Giants Irish Heritage Night
17-May Tigers Polish American Night
8-Jun Padres Irish Heritage Night
12-Jun Phillies Irish Heritage Night
13-Jun White Sox Polish Heritage Night
14-Jun Marlins Italian Heritage Celebration
20-Jun Mariners Italian Heritage Night
16-Jul Phillies Italian Heritage Night
25-Jul Mariners Irish Heritage Night
3-Aug A’s Italian Heritage Night
9-Aug Padres Italian Heritage Night
15-Aug Reds Irish Community Night
27-Aug Tigers Italian Heritage Night
30-Aug Giants Italian Heritage Night
14-Sep Nationals Oktoberfest
17-Sep A’s Irish Heritage Night
20-Sep Orioles O’stoberfest
21-Sep Reds German Community Night
24-Sep Giants Oktoberfest
28-Sep Mariners Oktoberfest


Latin American Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
20-Apr Marlins Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration
8-May Dodgers Mexican Heritage Night
17-May Marlins Cuban Heritage Celebration
11-Jun White Sox Greek Heritage Night
15-Jun Marlins Nicaraguan Heritage Celebration
21-Jun Royals Viva Los Reales
30-Jun Marlins Venezuelan Heritage Celebration
12-Jul Marlins Colombian Heritage Celebration
24-Aug Marlins Dominican Heritage Celebration
6-Sep White Sox Hispanic Heritage Night
7-Sep Marlins Mexican Heritage Celebration
8-Sep A’s Latinx Heritage Day
12-Sep Phillies German Heritage Celebration
13-Sep Giants Fiesta Gigantes Night
14-Sep D’backs Hispanic Heritage Day
15-Sep Cardinals Fiesta Cardenales
15-Sep Cubs Hispanic Heritage Night
15-Sep Mariners Salute to Latin American Beisbol Day
16-Sep A’s Mexican Heritage Night
16-Sep Brewers Hispanic Heritage Night
20-Sep Dodgers Dia de Los Dodgers
20-Sep Padres Hispanic Heritage Weekend
21-Sep Astros Hispanic Heritage Street Festival
21-Sep Astros Hispanic Heritage Street Festival
21-Sep Padres Hispanic Heritage Weekend
22-Sep Padres Hispanic Heritage Weekend
26-Sep Nationals Roberto Clemente and Hispanic Heritage Day




All-Star Festivities


New Mobile Dental Unit for Washington, DC (photo courtesy of the office of the Washington, DC, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services)

The All-Star Week schedule is posted below, but there seems to be a whole lot more going on than just what’s on the official MLB schedule. MLB’s All-Star Legacy Initiative, along with the Washington Nationals and the Nationals Dream Foundation, has funded several projects throughout the city, and, as a result there have been several grand openings, ribbon cuttings, and other celebrations throughout the area. The All-Star Legacy projects funded around the area include:

  • All-Star Pavilion at Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Washington
  • Nationals All-Star Field at Walker Mill Regional Park in Prince George’s County, Maryland
  • Youth Baseball Complex at Fred Crabtree Park in Fairfax County, Virginia
  • USO-Metro All-Star Depot at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington — All-Star Teen Room at Richard England Clubhouse #14 in Washington
  • Mobile Dental Unit with Children’s National Hospital in Washington

In addition, on Thursday, MLB unveiled a mural outside of Ben’s Chili Bowl, an historic restaurant in Washington, DC. The mural honors Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Josh Gibson, two Negro League stars. On Saturday, MLB held its first “Culture + Code” event at the Blind Whino Arts Club Saturday.

Tonight, of course, is the Home Run Derby. But before that, at 3 pm, the annual Town Hall Meeting with the Commissioner of Baseball will be held at PLAY BALL Park, located at First and M Streets, SE, just down the road from Nationals Park. Today is also the final day of MLB Assembly at District Pier at The Wharf in DC. According to the website, this event “celebrates baseball at the intersection of art, fashion, and music.”

Whether you’re out and about in DC or watching this all from the comfort of home, enjoy All-Star Week!

~ baseballrebecca


7/13 – 7/17 Fri-Mon—
10:00am – 7:00pm
PLAY BALL Park: a 56,000-square-foot venue featuring a youth-sized turf diamond and daily programming for fans of all ages, is free and open to the public PLAY BALL Park (First and M Streets SE)
7/13 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. All-Star Armed Forces Classic Nationals Park
7/14 8:00 a.m. MLB All-Star Color 5K Fun Run Anacostia Park/ Play Ball Park
7/15 4:00 p.m.

7:30 p.m.

All-Star Futures Game

Legends/Celebrity Softball Game

Nationals Park
7/16 3:00 p.m. Town Hall Meeting with the Commissioner of Baseball PLAY BALL Park
7/16 8:00 p.m. Home Run Derby Nationals Park
7/17 2:00 p.m. All-Star Game Red Carpet Show Nationals Park
7/17 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. All-Star Pre-Game Celebration Navy Yard
7/17 7:45 p.m. 89th MLB All-Star Game Nationals Park