Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, Clearwater city manager Bill Horne and Rays pitcher Dan Wheeler were on hand Tuesday to introduce the renovated fields.
The Rays Baseball Foundation joined up with the City of Clearwater to renovate two youth baseball fields within Ross Norton Park.
Located in the southwestern portion of the city known as Lake Belleview, the fields will be used by youth and adult leagues. Renovations included installing bullpens, foul poles, backstop nets, shade aprons and the installation of new infields.
This project is the latest effort of the Rays Field Renovation Program which provides new or renovated youth baseball fields to various communities throughout the Tampa Bay region. The Rays refurbished the fields at the Norma Lloyd Complex in Bradenton in 2009, South Brandon and Azalea Little Leagues in 2008, West Tampa Little League in 2007 and historic Oliver Field at Campbell Park in St. Petersburg in 2006.
Rays Baseball Foundation Field Renovations
|2010||Ross Norton Park||Clearwater|
|2010||Pinellas Park High School||Pinellas Park|
|2009||Norma Lloyd Park||Bradenton|
|2008||South Brandon Little League||Brandon|
|2008||Azalea Little League||St. Petersburg|
|2007||West Tampa Little League||Tampa|
|2006||Oliver Field at Campbell Park||St. Petersburg|
"The mission of the Rays Baseball Foundation is to support youth and education programs throughout the region that make a difference in the lives of children," Friedman said. "One of the many ways we achieve this goal is through the Field Renovation Program which continues to grow with the help of contributions from our players like Dan Wheeler."
Wheeler, who resides with his family in Clearwater, supports the Foundation through monetary contributions and lending his time.
"Partnerships like this allow us to continue to provide recreation opportunities for kids while stretching our limited resources," said Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard. "We are proud to have the Rays in our community and to have the renovated fields is a home run for Clearwater."
Through municipal and corporate partnerships, the Rays Baseball Foundation works with landscapers and contractors to overhaul individual fields. The Foundation determines a field's individual needs on a case-by-case basis. Those interested in applying for 2011 grants should check raysbaseball.com for updates.