The baseball diamonds at Darby Park in Inglewood will shine brighter than ever before. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) continued to impact the youth of the inner city by giving the park two of their signature Dodgers Dreamfields.
Dodgers first basemen Adrián González and pitcher Alex Wood, along with local dignitaries, dedicated the two fields on Saturday May 20 with a baseball clinic and a Dodger Day festival.
González and his wife, Betsy, contributed in the renovation and donated to the Dodgers RBI youth development program. The donation covered uniforms, equipment, and the registration fees for all participants.
“We’re so happy to be here, so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this Dreamfield,” González said. “For us, it’s all about you kids and the families being able to come out to the park and play the game of baseball that we love.”
The event brought out Inglewood mayor James Butts and several councilmembers, including George Dotson, Alex Padilla, and Ralph Franklin. Mayor Butts, four councilmembers and City Manager Artie Fields partnered to create the Dreamfields.
“This is the culmination of an actually $280,000 grant that the RBI foundation of the Dodgers committed to the city of Inglewood to renovate our baseball fields,” Butts said. “This is truly emblematic of everything that’s going on in Inglewood.”
LADF Executive Director Nichol Whiteman shared how she and Inglewood Recreation, Parks, and Library Services Director Sabrina Barnes collaborated and created a vision of spreading Dodgers RBI to three parks in Inglewood and making more Dreamfields in the city.
“It is really exciting to see that vision come through today,” Whiteman said. “Since 2014, we’ve grown Dodgers RBI from 2,700 players to 7,800 players.”
The LA84 Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation, and city of Inglewood Department of Parks, Recreation, and Library Services partnered with González and his wife to make the Dreamfields possible.
“Not only did they support the construction of the two Dreamfields here at the park, they actually paid for all the kids to play RBI, which is huge,” said Dodgers RBI Analyst James Lopez.
Darby park is getting major upgrades according to Mayor Butts. The Lakers are renovating and repainting the gymnasium; the city of Inglewood is rebuilding the tennis courts. In two weeks, reconstruction on the track will begin.
“All our parks and the city of Inglewood is really coming along and beautiful,” said Willie Agee, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission. “I want to thank all of the people that came out here with these kids, participating in this grand opening and thank the Dodgers organization for doing this renovation.”
This marks the 46th and 47th Dodgers Dreamfield. The Dodgers Foundation is only three away from their goal of 50. So far, the foundation has invested $7.7 million in refurbishing baseball fields with the hope they will inspire inner-city youth to value and participate in America’s favorite pastime.
“This park has needed repair for a while,” said Dotson. “This is what happens when everybody does the right thing, from the mayor, to the council, to the people who are working for the city.”