Bronx Borough President Diaz has teamed up with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Major League Baseball (MLB), MLB Players Association, Harlem RBI and New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez announcing the launch of a youth baseball and softball academy based out of Roberto Clemente State Park in The Bronx.
The MLB academy will serve at least 1,500 youths, tripling the number of aspiring major leaguers currently participating in the Roberto Clemente State Park's baseball programs.
"I could not think of a better park to be the home of this project," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; who was joined, on Thursday, by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, MLBPA senior advisor and former New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Rose Harvey, and Roberto Clemente Jr. to make the announcement. "Roberto Clemente was not only a great Hall of Fame baseball player, one of the greatest to ever swing a bat, but also a Hall of Fame humanitarian without peer, carrying himself with a quiet dignity, speaking loudly through his actions both on and off the baseball diamond."
The renovated baseball and softball facility will be funded $6.5 million in state funding, $4 million from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and $750,000 from New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez and will have the field renamed after the New York Yankee designated hitter. Bronx Borough President Diaz will add another $500,000 in capital funds for resiliency upgrades to the park.
"These kids already have a special connection to baseball since Yankee Stadium is right in their backyard," said the four-time MLB All-Star, currently fourth on the all-time Home Run list behind Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds. "I hope this park will give them a chance to experience the game and dream big from the field as well as in the stands."