ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball announced Thursday that the Grand Junction Rockies are the winners of the first John Henry Moss Community Service Award for their ongoing commitment to charitable service and their support and leadership within the Grand Junction community and the baseball industry.
The Rockies are committed to make an ongoing annual gift to the NJCAA World Series played annually each year in Grand Junction, Colo., with a substantial monetary contribution per year that is earmarked for the capital building and remodel plan for Suplizio Field, "Home of the JUCO World Series" and the Pioneer League club. Colorado Mesa University (CMU), local high schools and many other groups also use the facility on a regular basis throughout the year. The Rockies have also made a multi-year commitment to the Mesa County School District #51 athletic program to pay for varsity uniforms for all four local high school baseball and softball teams.
The Rockies also partner with the CMU Sports Management/Marketing and Mass Communication departments to provide on-the-job training for students during the season. Each year, six students receive class credit for working as paid interns with the club. This season, another half dozen students gained valuable experience by being responsible for the entire production and video streaming of all 38 home games that were seen on MiLB.com.
Grand Junction principal owners Dick and Charlie Monfort's monetary contribution to CMU was a key component to the construction of a performance lab built on campus. General manager Tim Ray is a member of the Community Hospital Foundation Board and the NJCAA World Series Baseball Committee. Other Grand Junction staff members serve on the committees of civic organizations as well.
The Rockies conduct an indoor baseball camp in January for local youths with professional coaches and players from the Colorado Rockies organization serving as instructors. All net monetary proceeds from the camp benefit the CMU baseball scholarship program.
Numerous other charities benefited from Grand Junction's support in 2013 as well, including Special Olympics Colorado, Ed Randall's Fans for the Cure, Riverside Education Center, A.C. Foundation, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, City of Grand Junction Audubon Society, Mesa County Firefighters and the Community Hospital Foundation.
"The Rockies have fully immersed themselves into their community since relocating to Grand Junction just two seasons ago," Pat O'Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, said. "Their numerous philanthropic endeavors with civic organizations, local high schools and Colorado Mesa University are examples of their strong commitment to give back to their community and contribute to its quality of life."
"This honor is a reflection of the community commitment by our ownership" said Ray. "The opportunity to partner with a community that has such a rich history of baseball and has already shown such enthusiasm for Minor League Baseball is exciting."
The John Henry Moss Community Service Award is named after the former South Atlantic League president, who founded the circuit and presided over it for a half-century from 1959-2008.
Grand Junction will receive their award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, Dec. 12.