want to provide local kids with a clean and safe baseball field to learn the game. On Thursday, they kicked off their first "Fields for the Future" project in one of Cleveland's neighborhoods.
The club will complete the project in partnership with Baseball Tomorrow Fund, The Motz Group, city of Cleveland, Fox Sports Ohio and Crain's Cleveland Business. BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence is assisting with the coordination of volunteer projects, including painting, bleacher construction and more at the park.
The initiative begins in Cleveland's Luke Easter Park, where thousands of dollars are being invested for upgrades and renovations. BTF is providing a $10,000 grant to help pay for the supplies associated with the project, while The Motz Group has donated the field regrading and pitcher's mound construction.
Located in the Kinsman neighborhood, the park is named in honor of Luke Easter, one of the first African-American players in Major League Baseball. The former Indians player was gunned down in 1979.
The significance of Easter's legacy being preserved for future generations was not lost on Wesley Black, a senior baseball player at John Adams High School.
"It means a lot because for years to come, people who want to play baseball, they can," said Black.
Devona McDaniel, a senior softball player at John Adams, also appreciates the effort.
"Like our school, we barely have books. So this means a lot for them to come out on a weekday," she said.
The project is the latest in the club's long-term vision to improve the quality of youth baseball in Cleveland.
"One of our organization's guiding commitments is to positively impact the community in which we work and play, and this project will help us meet that commitment," said Rebecca Kodysh, executive director of community impact for the Cleveland Indians. "Our partners' help on this project is vital to making the biggest impact."
Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by pitchers from nearby John Adams and Benedictine high schools.