WHO: Mayor Jane Castor, Rays President Brian Auld, Rays players Tyler Glasnow and Brandon Lowe, kids and community partners
WHAT: Ribbon Cutting and Remarks
WHEN: Saturday, June 11 at 11:00 a.m (Participant Check-in begins at 10:30 a.m.)
WHERE: West Tampa Little League (2000 N. Jamaica St., Tampa, FL 33607)
Please call Lauren Rozyla with any questions at 813-326-5487.
As part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Major League Baseball’s Play Ball Weekend, The City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department will host a free Play Ball event on Saturday, June 11 in partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The event will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new multi-purpose field at West Tampa Little League, ready to use for both baseball and softball at 11:00 a.m. City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Rays president Brian Auld will be in attendance, along with Rays players Tyler Glasnow and Brandon Lowe.
The Rays will recognize their partnership with Tampa Parks & Rec and Friends of Tampa Recreation with a $10,000 grant in support of swim safety programs at City of Tampa pools, in addition to a $2,500 donation to West Tampa Little League for equipment and field maintenance needs.
Upon the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, hundreds of kids will take part in an instructional baseball and softball clinic, an informational session with Positive Coaching Alliance of Tampa Bay and family-friendly activities with Rays mascots, Tampa Fire Rescue and the Tampa Police Department. All participants will receive a complimentary Rays hat and Franklin Play Ball bat and ball set.
Beginning in 2015, Major League Baseball and the United States Conference of Mayors joined to launch the PLAY BALL initiative, which focuses on the sport of baseball and encourages sustained participation in the sport for years to come. The Mayors PLAY BALL Program’s purpose is to reach kids who don’t normally play baseball and strengthen the connection with those who are currently involved in the game.
Thanks to a letter that landed on Mayor Castor’s desk from 9-year-old Evangeline Larossi, Tampa Parks & Recreation became aware of the growing need for more softball fields throughout the town. As she stated in her letter, “It’s not the 1800s anymore. Girls are starting to play sports now.”
The Walt Disney Company, in collaboration with The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), provided a Youth Sports and Play grant to support the WTLL renovation project. This investment supports NRPA and Disney’s combined goal to increase equitable access to play opportunities, including youth sports, and encourage children and families to enjoy their local parks to improve overall health and well-being.
The upgrades included:
- Conversion of the third of four diamonds to become a multi-purpose/softball field
- The addition of ADA parking
- The re-institution of an official Girls Softball program at WTLL under the leadership of their newly elected, first-ever female President, Nilses Vera.
Tampa Parks & Recreation extends a huge thank you to all who are helping the community “Playball” this weekend, including the WTLL, TPD, TFR, Friends of Recreation, Positive Coaching Alliance, Papa John’s and the Tampa Bay Rays, who helped make this event possible.