RAHMWATCH, BASEBALL... Rahm tries another publicity stunt on Park District baseball while park playing fields remain mud puddles and public school fields are locked to keep kids from 'damaging' the surfaces

While the majority of the baseball fields in Chicago Park District parks remain mud puddles even after a heavy dew overnight, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued on September 4, 2014 to try and milk what was left of the glow from the national victory of the Jackie Robinson West Little League team. On September 5, 2014, Chicago's mayor, through the "Mayor's Press Office," sent out a press release hyping Rahm's newfound commitment to local baseball for kids. Standing with the mayor were two of the City Council's most slavish Rahm buddies, Alderman Anthony Beale (9th Ward) and Alderman Carrie Austin.

But while the mayor was hyping his newfound love of youth baseball in Chicago, his Board of Education continued to strangle the programs that would be available to most Chicago kids -- public league baseball at the city's high schools. Because of the mayor's cuts in local school budgets, Chicago no longer has Freshman or Frosh - Soph high school baseball, and the majority of Chicago Public Schools baseball fields are locked this morning despite the mayor's love of youth baseball. Children and others who try and use the public school facilities to play ball are threatened with arrest for "trespassing." One main reason is that the mayor has cut the crews that are necessary to maintain the playing fields, not only for youth baseball but for all other outdoor sports. The condition of the baseball, football and soccer fields at Chicago's public schools force coaches and players to risk injury every time they take the fields because of the holds and other obstacles the children face.

By contrast, Chicago's suburbs -- especially those like New Trier district, where the Emanuel brothers went to high school -- maintain their playing fields and fund their programs to ensure that every child who wants to play gets the opportunity to play on a playing field that is well designed, carefully maintained, and welcoming to all.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. September 4, 2014

CONTACT:. Mayors Press Office


Chicago Park District. Jessica Maxey-Faulkner. 312.742.4786.


Capital investments to fund three new south side turf fields and contributions from Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs to expand youth programming

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Anthony Beale, Alderman Carrie Austin and Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly announced today $6.5 million new investments for youth baseball and softball in Chicago parks. Palmer Park, Tuley Park and Jackie Robinson Park Southwest Elementary will receive new turf fields, concessions, restrooms and other renovations to support the programs and leagues playing at these locations. Youth programming will also be expanded citywide to provide children with more opportunities to participate in organized baseball and softball.

In addition to a $6 million Park District capital investment, the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs will provide $250,000 each a total of half a million dollars to allow for an expansion of baseball and softball programming. Over the last eighteen months, weve made capital investments in parks across the City for youth baseball and softball, and this announcement today underscores our commitment to ensuring every child in every neighborhood can access positive opportunities that will teach them skills that will serve them well both on the field and in the classroom, said Mayor Emanuel. Though professional baseball fan allegiances may at times split the City in half, I commend the White Sox and the Cubs for coming together with the City to support all of Chicagos children, no matter the neighborhood.

Currently, more than 50,000 youth in Chicago participate in baseball and softball annually at more than 80 Chicago Park District parks. The addition of new turf fields at Palmer, Tuley and Jackie Robinson parks will ensure that games can be played more consistently after rain and over longer seasons. The $6 million total investment at these three parks will include a new artificial turf field at each of the three south side parks, the addition of restrooms and concessions at the existing stadiums at Jackie Robinson Park and Tuley Park and a new stadium at Palmer Park.

Baseball and softball help youth learn fundamental skills, leadership and sportsmanship while staying active, safe and engaged in our parks, said Superintendent Kelly. It is with great enthusiasm that we provide additional opportunities for youth to participate in these sports.

The $500,000 investment by the White Sox and the Cubs will allow for an expansion of baseball and softball programming. This five year commitment will establish an annual city-wide baseball and softball tournament, and fall ball will be introduced in 2015 to allow athletes to continue play ball beyond the summer months.

As a Major League Baseball team, we absolutely support any initiative that gets more kids playing baseball, said Christine OReilly, White Sox senior director of community relations. We are very proud of our existing youth baseball programs like Inner City Youth Baseball, Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI), our turf field at the Kroc Center in Pullman and our Amateur City Elite (ACE) program that has helped 84 kids go to college to play baseball. It is an honor to be asked by Mayor Emanuel to work with the Park District on this latest initiative, but even beyond providing more baseball opportunities for kids, we are excited about what first-class facilities and programs like this can mean for communities and the people who live in them.

Watching the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars succeed in the Little League World Series was a galvanizing moment for youth baseball in the City of Chicago, said Connie Falcone, vice president of development, Cubs Charities. The Chicago Cubs commend Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Park District and our elected officials for building on that enthusiasm and providing the opportunity for youth to develop and pursue their love of baseball. This contribution, along with our recently announced Diamond Project grants, continues the teams efforts to provide clean, safe and accessible baseball fields throughout the City of Chicago.

Mayor Emanuel previously announced $11 million in capital improvements to support youth baseball and softball, featuring artificial turf fields at Southwest Elementary School, Clark Park, Amundsen Park, Kelly Park and Columbus Park.

This announcement was made by Mayor Emanuel at a ribbon cutting of a new playground at Palmer Park, which is one of 103 playgrounds being rebuilt or refurbished this year under Mayor Emanuels Chicago Plays! program, designed to ensure that every child in Chicago is a 10 minute walk away from a park or playground.

For more information, visit or call 312.742.PLAY, 312.747.2001 (TTY).

### For more information about the Chicago Park Districts more than 8,100 acres of parkland, more than 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.


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