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Weeklong Events Lead to MLB’s Salute to the Negro Leagues at Birmingham’s Rickwood Field on June 20

Major League Baseball last year unveiled the branding for this week's game at Rickwood Field. From left, Mike Hill, senior vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball; MLB Network host Harold Reynolds, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Gerald Watkins, chairman of Friends of Rickwood. (Photo by Greg Garrison/AL.com)


In advance of the San Francisco Giants against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 20 at historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Major League Baseball on Friday announced the weeklong series of programs from June 17-June 20 including Minor League Baseball (MiLB) at Rickwood Field (Tuesday, June 18), Barnstorm Birmingham (Wednesday, June 19) and MLB at Rickwood Field (Thursday, June 20), in tribute to the Negro Leagues.


Willie Mays Film Screening

MLB is launching its celebration of the Negro Leagues in Birmingham at the historic Carver Theater featuring the HBO Original documentary Say Hey, Willie Mays!  This free event is at-capacity, with the audience consisting of members of the Birmingham community and local leaders. It will feature a reception, the film screening, and special conversation between Film Director Nelson George and Willie’s son Michael Mays.

Say Hey, Willie Mays! is a powerful film chronicles the life and career of baseball legend Willie Mays, paralleled with the evolving cultural landscape of America.

Historic Carver Theater (1631 4th Ave. N, Birmingham, AL 35203); 5-8 p.m. CT


PLAY BALL at Regions Field

MLB is hosting their signature youth engagement activity, PLAY BALL (www.PlayBall.org), at Regions Field, home of the MiLB Birmingham Barons. More than 100 Birmingham children will be joined by PLAY BALL Ambassador Coach Ballgame and other special guests, as they go through fun- and fitness-focused activities designed to show the many ways the game can be played.  All kids will receive Franklin plastic bat & ball sets and PLAY BALL t-shirts as gifts.

Participating children will represent local Nike Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs – including Papa Jack Birmingham Nike RBI and AEB Legacy League Nike RBI – as well as other youth groups.

Regions Field (1401 1st Ave. S, Birmingham, AL 35233); 12:00-1:30 p.m. CT


Visit to Children’s of Alabama

MLB and some VIP guests will visit patients at Children’s of Alabama (Children’s) in a special MLB Together moment (www.MLBTogether.com).

Children’s of Alabama is the only free-standing pediatric hospital in Alabama, and one of the 10 busiest pediatric hospitals in the United States. Children’s is a world-class cancer center and treats more than 90 percent of all children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders in Alabama. Children’s believes in family centered care and offers the following services to meet the unique needs of hospitalized kids and their families: child life, social services, pastoral care and sunshine school.

Children’s of Alabama (1600 7th Ave. S, Birmingham, AL 35233); 10:00-11:00 a.m. CT

Negro Leagues Family Alliance Bruncheon & Reception

Led by Negro Leagues Family Alliance (NLFA) co-founder Sean Gibson, this invite-only event will give a meaningful platform to this new nonprofit organization to collectively preserve the legacies, history and intellectual properties of the Negro Leagues while contributing to the education and uplifting of baseball and sports. The group plans to provide support for Negro Leagues families and work with groups like Nike RBI to improve access to baseball and softball for underrepresented communities.

The event is being supported by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation (www.BaseballYDF.com).

Negro Southern League Museum (120 16th St. S, Birmingham, AL 35233); 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT

Willie Mays Mural Dedicated by T-Mobile

MLB and T-Mobile, the official Wireless Partner of Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, will dedicate a mural, designed by the renowned artist Chuck Styles, to celebrate Greater Birmingham native and Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

1801 1st St. S, Birmingham, AL 35203; 3:00 p.m. CT

MLB ASMI Baseball Medicine Workshop

MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program, in partnership with the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), is presenting a two-day baseball medicine workshop to assist underrepresented talent in sports medicine interested in furthering their careers in baseball. The two days of educational coursework is to be foundational in nature for early-career professionals and current students interested in careers within sports medicine including athletic training, physical therapy, biomechanics, and performance science. Registrants will attend the workshop on June 19 & 20, attend MLB at Rickwood (June 20), and visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (June 21). The Civil Rights Institute is part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham.

Since 2016, the MLB Diversity Pipeline Program has assisted in over 600+ hires, working closely with the 30 MLB teams and the Office of the Commissioner to help guide and assist underrepresented talent interested in entering baseball front office and on-field careers within the game.

The American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit sports medicine research and education foundation located at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. ASMI was founded in 1987 by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James R. Andrews. The mission of ASMI is to improve the understanding, prevention, and treatment of sports-related injuries through research and education. ASMI is the nation’s largest accredited educator of sports medicine physicians with graduates located in forty-four states, Puerto Rico, and ten foreign countries. For more information on ASMI, please visit www.asmi.org.

In support of the MLB ASMI Baseball Medicine Workshop, the Team Physicians Association (TPA) is providing a $13,000 donation ($500 each) as a travel and expense stipend to assist the twenty-six participants attending the workshop.

ASMI (833 St. Vincent’s Drive, Suite 101, Birmingham, AAL 35205); June 19th – 3:45-7 p.m. CT; June 20 – 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. CT


MLB Together Legacy Gift to A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club

Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. will be joined by players from the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants as they unveil the MLB Together Legacy of a new Freight Farms hydroponic farm for the kids to grow vegetables that will be used at the Club as well as donated to the local community in need.

A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club (4821 Ave. W, Birmingham, AL 35208); 10-11 a.m. CT


MLB, Giants & Cardinals HBCU Tour

MLB and representatives from the Cardinals and Giants engaged in an HBCU Tour to Alabama A&M, Alabama State and Miles College, with students from nearby Tuskegee, Lawson State Community College, Talladega and Stillman all invited. The group met with 300+ students to talk about MLB at Rickwood and careers in baseball. Talent acquisition teams from both Clubs will host post-engagement virtual workshops focusing on topics like elevating LinkedIn profiles, tailoring resumes, and exploring future opportunities.

 HBCU Marketing Bootcamp

The HBCU Marketing Bootcamp aimed to empower students from HBCUs in the greater Alabama area. Four talented students from Alabama A&M and Tuskegee University participated in this immersive professional learning experience. Through five sessions, they learned about the development of marketing strategies, creative development, and tactical marketing planning. Guest speakers from MLB & New York Life Vice President of Media and Channels Zerlina Jackson also shared career advice and wisdom to these students. The experience culminated with an invitation from New York Life to join the festivities in Birmingham and tickets to MLB at Rickwood Field on June 20th.

MLB at Rickwood Field Watch Parties on June 20

MLB is partnering with four Black-owned restaurant venues in Birmingham to host official MLB at Rickwood watch parties on June 20. The events are free for fans at the following venues:

Continental Drift – 2201 7th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Denim on 7th – 2808 7th Ave S #105, Birmingham, AL 35233

SLEEK – 1005 20th St S, Birmingham, AL 35205

Uptown Jazz Club – 2250-B 9th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

The four venue owners will be honored prior to the start MiLB at Rickwood on Tuesday, June 18.

Birmingham Community Support

Major League Baseball and the City of Birmingham have made 26 percent of the approximate 8,300 seated tickets at Rickwood Field available to community- or youth-based organizations in Birmingham at no cost.

The local community surrounding Rickwood and throughout Greater Birmingham was prioritized for more than 200 part-time employment opportunities for all Rickwood events throughout the week (MiLB at Rickwood, Barnstorm Birmingham celebrity softball game, and the MLB at Rickwood).


Accessibility Upgrades to Historic Rickwood Field

Legion Field ADA Shuttles will be available for fans travelling to and from the ballpark and will drop near the ADA Lane of the entrance.

There will be an ADA priority lane available for fans with disabilities at the gate entry

The Rickwood Field Fan Plaza will feature wheelchair-friendly turf.

Concessions stands will include large, printed menus available for fans with visual impairments.

In partnership with KultureCity, a Sensory Activation Vehicle Mobile Sensory Room and Sensory Bags will be available along the first base concourse. KultureCity is a local organization (based in Vestavia Hills, AL) that is the nation’s leading nonprofit in sensory inclusion Accessible restrooms will be available at each toilet bank within the footprint.

Accessible seating platforms will be located throughout the lower seating bowl.

Staff are available to support all fans with an aim to create a memorable experience for everyone who visits and can be an additional support for fans who may need extra assistance navigating the Rickwood Field experience.

Additional Fan Amenities

Located along the first base concourse, Infant Feeding Room amenities will be available for fans who require the space.

Fan Services Booth will serve as a stationary resource for fans. This booth will be equipped by some fan engagement items, including activity sheets, celebration certificates (to recognize attending the event), and scorecards.

Rickwood is a cashless environment but there will be a reverse ATM on site for fans who need it. Dispensed cards can be used at other locations away from Rickwood Field that accept them.

Fan safety and comfort is a top priority. To combat high temperatures, there will be Water refill stations, First Aid stations, and cooling locations available.

Fan Assist is a text messaging service that will be shared with fans to provide supplemental support to answer questions and/or address concerns.


Green Team will be promoting sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives as well as collecting recyclables in-game between innings from fans.

As MLB’s first Official Sustainability Partner, WM’s advisory services team developed a comprehensive materials management plan to help maximize diversion of materials from the event. WM will also be onsite to separate recyclables to recover more materials for reuse and recycling. All concessions cups will be aluminum and completely recyclable.

Water refill stations throughout the fan plaza and first base concourse will be available for fans free of charge to refill their reusable water bottles.

MLB and concessions partners are working with a local nonprofit, Compost Only, to compost food scraps from back of house.

Any leftover food items will be donated post-event in collaboration with foodrecovery.org to local nonprofits.

Materials that were used in building temporary structures for Rickwood will be donated post-event.


New York Life, the Official Financial Guidance Partner of Major League Baseball, is hosting Swing for Success: Driving Growth for Black Business Owners & Entrepreneurs for local business owners on Monday, June 17 at the Negro Southern League Museum from 5-8 p.m. CT.

Chevrolet, the Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball, will be bringing two journalism students in their Discover the Unexpected (DTU) program, which the brand delivers with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), to cover various events, including the games at Rickwood Field for the Atlanta Voice, an NNPA paper.