On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced plans Tuesday for its eighth Urban Youth Academy. The new facility will go up in Dallas with the help of the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis, and MLBPA executive Omar Minaya were among those who attended a news conference announcing the plans.
The Texas Rangers MLB Urban Youth Academy will include four baseball fields plus an indoor building that will house a full-sized turf infield, six batting/pitching cages, classrooms, and a weight room. One of the diamonds will be named for Kershaw, who is from the Dallas area. He donated money to help with this project. Groundbreaking for the project is in 2016.
"We thought it might just be one baseball field. To see what Major League Baseball, the Players Association, the Rangers have all come on board to build — really, what you see here, it's like a dream field. It's incredible," Kershaw told Sports Illustrated Kids.
The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation will run the Academy, and will work with a group called Mercy Street. Mercy Street is already involved in the MLB program Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI). Kershaw and his foundation have supported Mercy Street for several years.
"When I was growing up, I took it for granted being able to play baseball on a field," Kershaw said. "I didn't realize what a blessing it is to have a baseball field to play on, to have coaches who care about us. Mercy Street along with all these other partners are able to do that. It's really cool for us to be a part of."
You can learn more about the program from Manfred, Holland, and Kershaw in my video report from the announcement:
Photo: Kelly Gavin/Rangers