PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – It was a good day to be in the park for a little “free ball.” FOX 12 soaked up the sun in Lents with a few friends at the MLB Play Ball Clinic.
Who doesn’t love diamonds? Portland’s Friends of Baseball, a nonprofit group, made a double play combo again for a third season with Major League Baseball to get kids in the game.
Baseball is a kids’ game, and Friends of Baseball knows that.
“We are trying to make sure that this is a game for everyone, that everyone has access,” said Nova Newcomer with Friends of Baseball.
Beaver great and retired MLB ball player Darwin Barney hasn’t retired from first pitches. The Portland Diamond Project advisor is dreaming of making the Rose City major league and so too is Friends of Baseball at the grassroots level, offering after-school programs in 18 different schools.
“We have got a waiting list that’s 15 to 20 schools long now and I am sure it is higher, they just haven’t heard of us yet,” Newcomer said.
No less than 250 kids brined in the sunshine in the home of the Portland Pickles for the free clinic with free swag and a Saturday picnic in the park.
When asked what swing for the fences means to her, Newcomer said, “It means dreaming big. Whether that is on the field or it’s off the field in life, and in school, it’s making sure the kids have the opportunities, the tools, the resources to think big about their lives.”
“When they see Dillon the Pickle, they have stars in their eyes,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
The power of play is big for Mayor Wheeler.
“The Portland Diamond Project is really encouraging us to dream big,” Wheeler said. “There are a lot of details that need to be worked out. There are a lot of potential obstacles in the way between where we are today and the first pitch, but why not dream big in the meanwhile and see where this goes? I am cheering them on. They haven’t asked the city for anything beyond what we would provide to any other development opportunity in this city, so at this point I am very supportive of their efforts.”
What tops off a free clinic in Lents with Dillon the pickle? A free pickle – tickets to a Saturday night live game with the Pickles.
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