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MLB, MiLB teams continue response to coronavirus shutdown

Minor League Baseball logoWithout a schedule to start the 2020 season thanks to a coronavirus shutdown, MLB and MiLB teams are responding to stay-at-home orders with various initiatives. Here’s a look at the more notable efforts.

We’re talking more about the silliness on social media designed to retain fan engagement: we’re talking about concrete actions that could have an impact. One social-media initiative we are eager to see: MiLB teams are banding together to ask fans to post images of themselves wearing team gear and colors to team social-media channels, with #MiLBAtHomeOpener and #ShowYourColors hashtags.

In Washington, the Nationals and restauranteur José Andrés are teaming up to use Nationals Park kitchens to prep meals to feed District of Columbia residents impacted by the coronavirus. The goal is to begin with 1,000 meals a day, ramping up to 5,000 meals a day, per Eater Washington DC:

Two large kitchens at the park will be used to prepare hot meals that will be delivered to communities by Uber Eats drivers. One facility is typically reserved for suites, catering, and concessions. The other, PNC Diamond Club kitchen, normally makes food for big-ticket fans. It’s outfitted with six-burner ranges and all the culinary bells and whistles.

Nationals Philanthropies will work with its community partners to get dinners to public housing in the Navy Yard and Southwest Waterfront neighborhoods as well as the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Fort Dupont. The recipient list is expected to grow with the help of Southwest Waterfront BID, along with people in underserved Ward 7 and Ward 8, and homeless populations from around the city.

“We are stewards of this public building — it’s not used to play baseball now, so how can we use it in the best way possible?” says Jonathan Stahl, vice president of experience and hospitality for the Nationals.

On a lighter note, the Daytona Tortugas (High A; Florida State League) are celebrating the canceled April 9 beginning of the season with a Stand With The Jack promo, bringing the party to fans confined to home. Team mascots Shelldon and Shelly will receive a police escort from the Volusia County Sheriff’s department as they parade throughout Volusia County beginning at 10 a.m. We’re expecting the Tortugas to alert fans of Shelldon and Shelly’s locale via social media (@DaytonaTortugas). The day will culminate with the singing of the National Anthem and a virtual first pitch from Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

Some other community efforts worth noting:

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodgers Foundation, and team partner California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) delivered 100 pizzas and Dodger goodies to UCLA Health staff at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The team will announce future relief efforts with Dodger team partners throughout the month of April. Relief efforts will bring together in-kind and monetary donations from the Dodgers, Dodgers Foundation, team partners, players, and fans, and direct the support to the organizations that need it most, providing more than 100,000 meals and $100,000 of in-kind donations.
  • On what would have been Minor League Baseball’s Opening Day, the OKC Dodgers Baseball Foundation is leading an initiative to deliver hot dog lunches across the Oklahoma City metro area Thursday to frontline workers and essential personnel who are helping the community in fighting COVID-19. The team will distribute more than 5,000 hot dogs, made possible by sponsors Schwab Meat Co., Sara Lee, Pepsi and US Foods.
  • The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club Foundation announced that a total of $502,425 was raised for food banks in Colorado and Wyoming during the “Stay at Home Opener: Feed the Rockies” event that aired on AT&T SportsNet and on on Friday. A total of 1,134 Rockies fans and players made online donations throughout the weekend, totaling $102,425. Additionally, it was announced Friday that the family of Rockies first baseman Daniel Murphy had donated $100,000 to the effort. The Rockies Foundation, which had pledged to match all donations up to $300,000, donated the entire $300,000 pledge, bringing the grand total to $502,425.

These are not the only relief efforts out there, to be sure, and we will keep tabs on more as details are released.

With hourly news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we’re launching a new Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge to industry professionals. Sign up here.

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