D-backs Give Back Jersey Program to outfit 20,000 Arizona youths & coaches

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks announced the creation of the D-backs Give Back Jersey Program, which will provide high-quality uniforms and caps to more than 20,000 youth baseball and softball players and their coaches throughout Arizona communities. The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation will donate more than $500,000 to the unique program. The uniforms will be unveiled by youngsters on stage this afternoon at the Subway D-backs FanFest at 1 p.m. at Chase Field.

"We are extremely proud to make a donation like this which allows many youth baseball and softball leagues to allocate their resources to field improvements and other vital needs," said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. "In some cases, this donation is keeping leagues afloat and allowing more of the youth around the Valley the opportunity to play the game we all love and we have seen significantly higher league registration numbers since bringing this to our community. A program of this magnitude has the chance to have an impact on these youngsters and our franchise for many years to come."

More than 30 leagues are taking advantage of this opportunity, with some leagues registering more than 1,500 kids. There are more than 75 color combinations which include the traditional Sedona Red, white, black and gray as well as throwback colors purple and teal and unique options like camouflage and gold.

Among the leagues that will be receiving jerseys and caps are Ahwatukee, Alhambra, Arcadia, Cactus Little League, Cactus Youth Baseball, Casa Grande, Chandler American, Chandler National, Chandler Youth Baseball, Deer Valley, Desert Ridge, Diamondback Little League, Dynamite Cal Ripken, Gila River, Gilbert, Goodyear, High Desert, Holiday Park, Litchfield Park, McCormick, Old Scottsdale Youth Baseball, Queen Creek, Ramms, Salt River, Scottsdale Cal Ripken, Shaw Butte, South Scottsdale, Tempe Guadalupe, Tempe Rio, Tempe South and Wickenburg.

Since originally bringing the concept to these leagues, enrollment has increased by more than 4,000 kids, raising the total over 20,000. In addition to receiving the jersey and cap, each player will receive a drawstring backpack, D-backs-branded necklace and bracelet and welcome kit with merchandise discounts for family members at the D-backs Team Shop.

[Editorial note] I think this is not only laudable, it's smart business by the D-backs, because it will hopefully help catch the next generation of hardcore baseball fans, and give them a reason to support their local team. Things like sports fandom tend to be locked in at a very early age - my support of Arsenal goes back to the age of four! - and if you can get potential fans while they're young, it will hopefully be before their Chicago parents commit child abuse and turn them into Cubs fans.

On the other hand, going back to something I wrote about the other day, I note the recipient programs seem to be very heavily Phoenix-centered, with no apparent mention of Tucson or Flagstaff. Hopefully, this will be addressed at some point down the pipe. You can see pics of the new uniforms here - they certainly look spiffy! That story also talks to one organizer, who says her league was able to drop registration fees by $50 per child as a result of the donation, which will help the game as a whole. Good stuff.

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