SEATTLE — With Seattle set to host the 2023 MLB All-Star Game this July, the Mariners have unveiled plans to commit to making the sport of baseball more equitable in western Washington.
MLB, the Seattle Mariners and the Mariners Care Foundation announced the 2023 All-Star Legacy Initiative on Monday, which seeks to invest money annually in the host city of the Midsummer Classic.
The joint effort will contribute more than $2 million toward four projects to address equity gaps in order to expand access to youth baseball and softball and support the needs of underserved community college students to help them complete their college programs.
“We’re proud to partner with Major League Baseball on the 2023 All-Star Legacy initiative," said Fred Rivera, Seattle Mariners executive vice president. "We are committed to long-term investment in a vision for barrier-free baseball and softball for youth in our community. We know that access to play baseball and softball helps deliver lifelong benefits and that providing resources for community members to pursue their dreams on and off the field helps support a vibrant and healthy hometown."
Rainier Playfield will be renovated with turf for its baseball and softball fields, allowing nearby high school softball varsity teams and youth leagues a higher-quality playing surface.
The Access Innovation Fund will be established to build capacity for organizations committed to youth baseball and softball equity. It also will support the launch of a local Baseball and Softball Play Equity Youth Council, which will review applications for local community league programs committed to providing barrier-free access to the sport.
The H9 league will be built and restored as a workout and intramural league engaging middle school students, and will be an extension of the Mariners' "Hometown Nine Program." The investment is designed to avoid the "middle school cliff," where there is a decline in youth participation in baseball and softball beginning between ages 9-12.
Shoreline College students will benefit from United Way of King County's "Bridge to Finish" program, as well as through a scholarship program through the Seattle Colleges Foundation.
MLB's All-Star Week will be in Seattle from July 7-11.