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MLB teams plan Earth Day activities

Major League BaseballNo matter the team colors, many Major League Baseball teams and ballparks are going green this weekend to mark Earth Day.

Many teams have already instituted green programs in their ballparks — Target Field is a LEED-certified building, the Giants and Royals installed solar panels at their homes, the Nationals have an elaborate cistern system to clean water exiting the ballpark, and the Indians installed a wind turbine to generate electricity. 

But this weekend will see more measures taken by teams:

  • The Oakland Athletics will give a redwood seedling to 10,000 fans Sunday before the A’s 1:05 p.m. game vs. Cleveland. It’s the latest in green efforts by the A’s; for instance, during the 2011 season, the A’s, through composting and recycling of cardboard, glass, metal, plastics and paper, helped divert 45 percent of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum’s trash away from landfills. Overall, the team recycled 332.93 tons of materials in 2011.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies are encouraging fans to bring obsolete electronics for recycling on Saturday at Lot S, off Pattison Avenue, at Citizens Bank Park and have them recycled free of charge. Most household items, save those with refrigerants, will be accepted. On Sunday the Phillies will offer a limited number of complimentary trees to fans. Those interested must register online in advance at After registration, a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society arborist will be in touch to help fans pick out the right tree species for their respective site.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates are giving away a Pirates Earth Day cap on Sunday to all kids ages 14 and younger. The cap is made of 100 percent recycled materials.
  • For the remainder of the season every Saturday is a Sustainable Saturday at Safeco Field, where the Seattle Mariners run one of the greenest ballparks in baseball, diverting more than 80 percent of their waste stream away from landfills into composting and recycling centers and offering fans four electric vehicle recharging stations. This Saturday the first 10,000 fans to arrive at the ballpark on Earth Day Weekend will receive a free “Kitchen Catcher” compost kit compliments of BASF, Ecosafe, and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). It includes a countertop container, five Ecosafe compostable liners, SPU coupons for Cedar Grove compost and savings towards the purchase of Ecosafe bags — plus simple steps to help fans follow the team’s green lead. At each of the 10 Sustainable Saturday games, at the end of the first inning, the public address announcer will invite fans to play the BASF Kid Compost Trivia Game and test their knowledge about sustainability at Safeco field and the Seattle area. Trivia questions will be broadcast on the centerfield videoboard. Fans do not have to be eco-experts to win because all of the answers are provided at 16 zero-waste stations throughout the concourse, where they will also find the short code to text their answer for their chance to win. The winner will be drawn at random from all the correct answers.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals installed 106 solar panels this offseason at Busch Stadium, producing approximately 32,000 kWh of solar energy per year.  The two solar arrays are located on the roof of the ticket building on Clark Street and atop a concession canopy in the left centerfield bleachers. To raise awareness of solar energy, an educational kiosk providing information about the project and solar energy in general is being installed in Ford Plaza. In addition, this week the Cardinals will offset energy consumption by purchasing renewable energy credits (recs) for the duration of Green Week.  By purchasing 10,000 KwH/recs per game for three days, the Cardinals will prevent 284,991 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering Missouri’s atmosphere, which equates to all 25 Cardinals players, nine coaches and Fredbird not driving their cars for six months.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays are working with concessionare Centerplate to feature locally grown produce from Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa and from other local growers in the restaurants and clubs throughout Tropicana Field. During Saturday’s batting practice, Rays players will wear green caps to support the Rays “Teaming up for the Environment” programs, including “Break a Bat, Plant a Ball.” If a Rays hitter breaks a bat during a game, the Rays will plant an oyster ball with Tampa Bay Watch.  Oyster balls help control erosion, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and keep the waters of Tampa Bay clean.  Additionally, the Rays and Progress Energy are promoting the Pinellas County Urban League’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps local residents save energy and protect the environment.

In addition, the San Francisco Giants are expanding their solar-energy efforts at AT&T Park, naming Hanwha Group as their new official solar partner. As part of the deal, Hanwha is installing solar PV panels at AT&T Park. The PV installation will generate enough clean energy to offset the power consumption of a sun-shaped, LED Hanwha Solar sign installed above left field which, among other features, will display the distance of each homerun hit by Giants players during games at AT&T Park.

Additionally, for every foot a Giants home-run ball travels during the 2012 season, Hanwha Solar will donate $1 worth of solar panels to Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco’s Columbia Park Clubhouse, located in the city’s Mission district.  As a part of BGCSF’s overall Green Initiative, this donation will provide the Columbia Park Clubhouse with a source of clean energy and solar power education opportunities.


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