The Pinellas County School District announced today the baseball field at Pinellas Park High School was been selected as the site of a major field renovation as part of the 2010 Major League Baseball (MLB) Groundskeepers Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL, January 16-18.


The selection of Pinellas Park High School was based on field conditions, use and field maintenance considerations. Final renovations of the field and a special on-field grand opening ceremony will take place on January 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Pinellas Park High School is located at 6305 118th Ave N, Largo, FL, 33773.


Speaking at the ceremony will be Mike Boekholder, head groundskeeper for the Philadelphia Phillies, and officials from the Pinellas County School District. Representatives from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Charities, the Tampa Bay Rays and Rays Baseball Foundation will be acknowledged for their contributions during the day’s festivities.


“We deeply appreciate the support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the MLB Groundskeepers,” said John Johnston, Pinellas Park High School principal. “Pinellas Park High School has a strong passion and love for the game of baseball. This renovation will make a lasting positive impact on not just our own players, but on players from our community and local little league organizations. We are delighted to team up with Major League Baseball for this field renovation, and we commend them for their commitment to making baseball accessible to everyone.”


Renovation of the baseball field is being funded by a $40,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, $15,000 grants from Phillies Charities and the Rays Baseball Foundation, and through equipment, material and labor donations from the MLB Groundskeepers, the Toro Company, Covermaster Inc., Turface Athletics and other local companies.


 Beginning in April 2009 and culminating with final touches by the MLB Groundskeepers on January 18, the field improvement has involved re-grading the entire field, installing warning tracks, irrigation, wind screen, adding foul poles and a flag pole for installation, re-building home plate and pitchers mounds and building double bullpen mounds.


“It has been an honor to be part of the Pinellas Park High School field refurbishment,” said Boekholder. “This is a tremendous project and one of the most extensive renovations in conjunction with the annual conference. It would not have been possible without the support of all of our partners. On behalf of the MLB groundskeepers, I would like to thank all parties for their support of this project.” 


Cathy Bradley, BTF Executive Director, added, “The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is fortunate to collaborate on this project with such outstanding partners.  We work closely with the MLB Groundskeepers, the Toro Company, Covermaster and Turface Athletics to support the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the country.  It is a pleasure to support the field renovation at Pinellas Park High School and to provide a quality and safe field for the players, who will learn the value of teamwork and community while playing the great game of baseball.


Each year, the MLB Groundskeepers assemble in January to discuss best practices and industry issues. The conference, sponsored by the Toro Company, Covermaster, Inc. and Turface Athletics includes a field day during which the groundskeepers renovate a youth field in the surrounding community.


About the Baseball Tomorrow Fund


The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is 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 Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded over 450 grants totaling more than $17 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.  Approximately 180,000 youth players have benefited from programs and facilities supported by the fund.  The Baseball Tomorrow Fund receives approximately 500 applications each year and awards grants on a quarterly basis after a selective review process.  For more information, visit www.baseballtomorrowfund.com.


About The Toro Company               


The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of turf and landscape maintenance equipment, and precision irrigation systems. With sales of more than $1.5 billion in fiscal 2009, Toro’s global presence extends to more than 140 countries through its reputation of world-class service, innovation and turf expertise. Since 1914, the company has built a tradition of excellence around a number of strong brands to help customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. More information is available at www.toro.com.


About Covermaster, Inc.


Established in 1969, Covermaster Inc. is the leading supplier of protective raincovers for baseball fields in North America.  Covermaster was the first to introduce lightweight and less expensive covers to the baseball market in 1981.  Since then, the recognition of the products has grown to include MLB teams, Spring Training Facilities, Minor League Teams, College and Parks and Recreation to name a few.  The complete line-up of baseball related products includes:  Full Field Covers, Home Plate Covers, Pitchers Mound Covers, Base Kits, On-Deck Circles, Wall Padding and Windscreens.  For more information, visit www.covermaster.com.


About Turface Athletics™


Turface Athletics leads the sports field industry in soil modification knowledge and products, from the Major Leagues and NFL to community fields at the park and recreation level.  Providing a high level of resources and support, Turface Athletics™ works by your side with a range of products and services to maximize sports field safety and performance.  Soil conditioners relieve compaction, prevent rainouts and minimize bad hops on skinned infields.  On football and soccer fields, they improve drainage and eliminate mud for a superior playing surface.  Turface® conditioners are also available in a variety of colors to improve field aesthetics.  Turface Athletics’ products effectively help fields perform their best.  For more information about Turface Athletics, please call (800) 207-6457 or visit www.turface.com.


About Philadelphia Phillies Charities, Inc.


Phillies Charities, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization whose current principal charity is the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association. In addition to raising funds for ALS research and patient care for families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, Phillies Charities, Inc. provides assistance and grants each year to many worthy, non-profit organizations located the Delaware Valley or in communities local to Phillies affiliated teams.  The entire Phillies family including players, wives, staff, ballgirls and alumni, team up to host special events and fundraisers annually.   Outreach efforts are highlighted by the Phillies Phestival for ALS, holiday dinners to feed the homeless, toy and clothing drives, Baseball 101 Clinics for Women, auctions and raffles. With funds raised each year, Phillies Charities, Inc. awards grants to help charities and organizations provide assistance to underprivileged children, educational and sports programs and those battling serious illnesses and disabilities.


About Rays Baseball Foundation


The Rays Baseball Foundation, the official charity of the Tampa Bay Rays, focuses primarily on youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region that make a measurable difference in the community. Key contributors to the Foundation include Rays players, owners, and sponsors.  Fans can contribute to the Rays Baseball Foundation by participating in fundraisers held throughout the year. Over the past two years, the Rays Baseball Foundation has invested over $1.2 million in the Tampa Bay community through grants, scholarships and programs.  Flagship programs include the Field Renovation Program, which renovates youth baseball and softball fields, and a summer reading initiative called “Reading with the Rays.” Launched in 2008, the reading program uses the magic of baseball to encourage kids to keep up their reading habits during the summer months. Throughout the 2009 season, the Rays Baseball Foundation highlighted its 2008 All Star Grant recipients.  Kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters and Community Tampa Bay interacted with players and enjoyed visits to the ballpark.  Other community outreach initiatives of the Rays include partnerships with organizations including United Way of Tampa Bay, Moffitt Cancer Center, Heart Gallery, Earthwatch Institute and local foundations supporting education.

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