Mayor Announces Commitment to "Play Ball" Initiative

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Mayor Announces Commitment to "Play Ball" Initiative

Posted: 04/04/2016
Play Ball Initiative
Photos by Traci K. McDonell / City of Knoxville
Mayor Madeline Rogero announced today her pledge for Knoxville’s continued commitment to “Play Ball,” a Major League Baseball (MLB) and U.S. Conference of Mayors partnered initiative to encourage youth to participate in baseball and softball.

“To say that Knoxvillians are supportive of organized sports is obviously an understatement,” said Mayor Rogero. “Baseball and softball help our youth stay active and learn life skills. It’s important that we continue to invest our time and resources to provide them with opportunities for a healthy life.”

With Monday being the official opener of the 2016 MLB season, Mayor Rogero was one of 145 “Play Ball City” mayors asked to wear the cap of her favorite professional team in an event called “Caps On.” Mayor Rogero donned a Tennessee Smokies cap and encouraged residents to support the local Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in their home season opener on Thursday.

Mayor Rogero also invited area youth to play in City of Knoxville baseball and softball commission leagues offered to boys and girls ages 4-14, and announced that Major League Baseball legend, Graig Nettles, will make an appearance at the opening ceremony of the City’s Inner City Youth Tournament on April 29. 

Graig Nettles, with a 22-season career, from 1967-1988, is considered one of the best defensive third basemen of all time and still holds home run records to date. His peak career year was 1977 when he received the Gold Glove Award and hit 37 home runs and had 107 RBIs (runs batted in). Nettles now resides in the Knoxville area.

“We’re very grateful to Mr. Nettles for donating his personal time to encourage our local youth,” said Mayor Rogero. “It’s an important message that we want to share with our youth—that playing sports like baseball and softball can have a positive impact on their lives; and that there are a lot of people in this community, including celebrities, who care enough to invest in them.”

City of Knoxville youth spring leagues run for eight weeks and are still open for signups to individuals in recreation commissions across the City:

Bearden Youth Sports  - Played at West Hills Park and Bearden Middle School Ballfields
Center City Youth Sports Program - Played at Malcolm-Martin Park
East Knoxville Athletic Association - Played at Claude Walker Fields and Skyline Park
Knoxville Falcons Youth Athletics - Played at: Christenberry Ballfields and Alice Bell Ballfields
Fountain City Rec Commission - Played at: Fountain City Ballfields and Inskip Ballfields
Holston-Chilhowee Rec Commission - Played at: Holston-Chilhowee Park
Knox Youth Sports - Played at: Lakeshore Park and Sequoyah Park
Rocky Hill Baseball - Played at: Rocky Hill Ballfields
South Knoxville Youth Sports - Played at: Maynard Glenn Park and Rock City Ballfield

Play Ball Initiative“We’ve got a lot of commissioners, coaches, and parents who work hard to provide leagues for all kids that want to play,” said Aaron Browning, Athletics Coordinator for the City. “The ‘Play Ball’ initiative is a great way to spark even more enthusiasm to help us reach out to as many kids as possible.”

Children play in twelve season games with the Inner City Youth Tournament mid-season and a City Championship post-season. To register, please visit