AUSTIN, Texas - RBI Austin announced Wednesday that the unveiling of an artificial turf playing field at East Austin's Mabson Field (2812 E. 12th St.) will take place on May 5 at 6:30pm. The entire community is encouraged to attend.
Softball Olympian Cat Osterman and Cathy Bradley, the Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, will be in attendance. To kick off the ceremony, the band Reckless Kelly will be singing the national anthem. A Jr. RBI baseball/softball clinic will take place immediately following the ceremony.
Mabson Field is located in the heart of one of the most under-resourced neighborhoods in Austin. The field will serve boys & girls ages 4 -12 as RBI Austin and Greater East Austin Youth Association (GEAYA) partner to use the field for Little League spring baseball/softball, the Jr. RBI Summer League, and year-round Jr. RBI clinics.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF), a joint initiative of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association awarded a grant in the amount of $110,000 to aid in the project. The funding assisted with the purchase and installation of the first ever AstroTurf youth baseball field in Austin. The field will be a true gem and bring interest back to the game in East Austin like it hasn't seen in decades - possibly since the time Jackie Robinson played at the adjacent college baseball field, Downs Field.
"The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is pleased to be a part of the renovation at Mabson Field," said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. "We applaud RBI Austin's commitment to youth baseball and softball and look forward to the continued growth of the games in this community."
"We're excited about Mabson Field and what it can do," said Reese Ryan, CEO of Ryan Sanders Baseball and co-owner of the Round Rock Express. "Baseball has been great to our family, and we couldn't be happier to help RBI Austin and some very deserving kids."
Reckless Kelly's Cody Braun stated, "To take part in such amazing projects like the rebuilding of Mabson Field and to be able to give back to the Austin community by helping kids play baseball is exactly why we started this event 6 years ago. We are honored to be working with such amazing people and are excited to see everyone's hard work paying off in such a big way!"
RBI Austin founder Matt Price added, "The new Mabson Field will be a game changer in the East Austin community. This beautiful field will bring restoration to not just youth baseball and softball - but to the community at large as kids are invested in by caring coaches and mentors. We cannot thank enough the key partners who have made this project possible for inner-city Austin youth and families."
About the Baseball Tomorrow Fund
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) is a joint initiative between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball designed to promote the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field renovation and construction projects, equipment and uniform purchases, coaches training material and other selected program expenses. Since its formation by the MLBPA and MLB in 1999, BTF has awarded approximately 770 grants totaling more than $26 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. More than 330,000 youth players have benefited from programs and facilities supported by the fund. BTF also facilitates league-wide initiatives including the collection and distribution of new and gently used equipment to organizations in need as well as field maintenance education clinics. For more information, visit baseballtomorrowfund.com and follow BTF on Facebook, Twitter and MLBlogs.
About RBI Austin
Launched in 2011, RBI Austin exists to engage and develop inner-city Austin youth athletically, academically and spiritually, empowering them to lead the transformation of their communities. RBI Austin is the only Austin affiliate of MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program (RBI) and is part of local non-profit The For the City Network. RBI Austin serves over 400 inner-city boys and girls through low-cost baseball and softball leagues, free clinics and year-round mentoring. For more info, visit www.rbiaustin.org and follow RBI Austin on Facebook and Twitter.
About Round Rock Express Baseball
Round Rock Express Baseball Club is entering its 15th season and its fourth as Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The franchise was founded by Ryan Sanders Baseball - an ownership group spearheaded by Reid Ryan, son of Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and is now led by CEO Reese Ryan. The Express began as the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros in 2000 and moved to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2005, remaining an Astros affiliate through the 2010 season. Round Rock has established numerous attendance records at Dell Diamond and has remained in the top five in total attendance in all of Minor League Baseball each of the past 14 seasons. The Express led the Pacific Coast League in attendance two of the last three seasons and won the 2011 PCL American Southern Division title.
About Ryan Sanders Sports Services
Ryan Sanders Sports Services (RS3) was added to the Ryan Sanders umbrella in September of 2013. RS3 folds-in programming and operational models for banquet and conferencing, retail and merchandising, award-wining groundskeeping and turf management, and a complete food and beverage service package to address every event-day need in any size venue. RS3 injects a resounding new perspective to the traditional industry of sports venue services - an operator's sensitivity to guest service and a difference-making attitude about quality and unexpected guest satisfaction.
About Reckless Kelly
Originally formed in Bend, Oregon in the mid 90's, Reckless Kelly has called Austin, TX home for nearly 20 years. The band has ten albums to their credit, and has been voted "Best Roots Rock Band" by the Austin Chronicle seven times. Most recently, their 2013 album "Long Night Moon" won a Grammy for Best Recording Package. Beginning in 2009, the band has partnered with RS3 and the Round Rock Express to host "Reckless Kelly's Celebrity Softball Jam," an annual charity softball game and concert held each spring at Dell Diamond. Proceeds go to the Reckless Kelly Charitable Youth Foundation (www.rkcsj.org) More information on the band is available at www.recklesskelly.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.