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MLB announces project to renovate ballfields all across US

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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Baseball is launching a new community program to refurbish ballfields all across the country over the next three years.

MLB announced Tuesday it will work with The Scotts Co. to identify and renovate diamonds in need of upgrades or repair. New grass will be planted and grown, fences will be built, and other enhancements will be added such as scoreboards and dugouts.

Big league teams also will participate in choosing which local fields receive makeovers.

It's all part of the Play Ball initiative introduced by Commissioner Rob Manfred and USA Baseball last year, designed to attract more young people to baseball and softball while giving them additional opportunities to play.

New projects this year include the Junior Home Run Derby, a kids-focused show on MLB Network and Play Ball Weekend (May 14-15), which will feature special activities and events for youngsters around major league ballparks.

MLB says participation in baseball was up 4.3 percent last year over 2014, and 11.8 percent among casual participants, according to Sports & Fitness Industry Association.