Park University has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund
, a grant matched by Royals Charities
, for a total of $10,000 to upgrade the infield surface at Comfort Field on the University's Parkville Campus.
BTF and Royals Charities selected Park University to receive the grants in conjunction with the BTF/Royals Charities Field Maintenance Education Clinic, held April 26 at Kauffman Stadium. The grant will provide funding for renovations to Comfort Field’s infield dirt surface, which is used regularly by local youth baseball organizations throughout the year. Park University’s baseball
program is Comfort Field’s main tenant, but more than 60 youth and high school games are played each year on the field, benefitting nearly 2,200 youth and high school baseball players in the Kansas City area.
Brian McRae, a former member of the Kansas City Royals and 10-year Major League veteran who serves as the Pirates’ assistant coach, was instrumental in securing the grant, which will replace Comfort Field’s current dirt surface with dirt nearly identical to what the Royals play on at Kauffman Stadium.
“We really have to thank Royals Charities, the Royals and Major League Baseball’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund for allowing us to apply for and receive this grant,” McRae said. “These kinds of grants have helped refurbish many fields across the country, and they’ve done great things for youth baseball in the United States. This grant just scratches the surface of what we want to do to improve Comfort Field, but there’s no way we could even start without it.”
The dirt replacement is one of many improvements the Park’s baseball
program intends to make to Comfort Field, including adding a new press box and concession stands. Last season, the Pirates’ home bullpen was refurbished along with new wind-screening with Park University branding on the outfield wall.
“The Park University baseball program prides itself on the quality of our playing surface, and this grant is making a very vital piece of field maintenance possible, said Park head baseball
coach Cary Lundy. “Our field maintenance staff does an incredible job with the turf, but we knew that an upgrade on the dirt surface was going to be required in the near future. I am very grateful for Brian’s work in securing this grant, and the best part, for the community, is that youth teams will also benefit alongside the Park University baseball
In addition to Park University’s grant announcement, the BTF/Royals Charities Field Maintenance Education Clinic provided attendees tips and techniques on field maintenance from Trevor Vance, senior director of groundskeeping and landscaping for the Royals. The clinic was part of the league-wide BTF/MLB Field Maintenance Education Program.
“The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is excited to team up with Royals Charities for opportunities to share field maintenance techniques with local youth organizations,” said Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. “We hope that this year’s clinic and grant to Park University will support the sustainability of safe and playable youth baseball and softball facilities in the area.”