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Marlins help renovate local high school field

HIALEAH, Fla. -- Hialeah Gardens High School, the district champions in 2012, has a rich baseball history. Now, the Gladiators can boast about their first-rate field.

When the high school baseball season opens in early February, the Gladiators will debut their field makeover. This winter, professional grounds-crew workers from more than 20 big league teams assisted in renovating Hialeah Gardens High School's baseball field as part of a Major League Baseball initiative.

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To celebrate the occasion, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Tuesday at the field. In attendance were players, coaches, RBI Program members, students, faculty, local representatives and members of the Miami Marlins.

The renovation was a joint effort by the MLB grounds crew, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the Marlins.

"It's one of the many things that we do as part of our responsibility to give back to the community, which we do whether we win 100 or lose 100," Marlins president David Samson said. "The thing that is constant is the Miami Marlins are part of the community."

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a joint initiative between MLB and the MLB Players Association to promote youth baseball and softball around the world.

Hialeah Gardens High School was selected for a playing-surface upgrade. After the renovation, the green grass was expertly manicured, and the dirt infield and mound are of high quality.

"This is a renovation of a field that is a 'field of dreams,' a field of hope for many young men who want to come out here and get a title tomorrow," Miami-Dade County commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz said. "This makes it a little easier to play on a field like this."

Year-round, the Marlins stay active in a number of local charitable projects. Since Marlins Park opened in 2012, Samson said the organization has given more than $4 million back to the Miami area. Additionally, the Marlins Ayudan outreach program has invested more than 20,000 hours of service to the community.

Chad Mulholland, the Marlins Park grounds-crew director, organized the renovation, and he had assistance from workers from 23 of the 30 MLB teams.

"The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is honored to collaborate with the Miami Marlins, MLB groundskeepers, The Toro Company, Covermaster and Turface Athletics in a field renovation to support the growth of youth baseball," said Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. "We are pleased to support not only the Hialeah Gardens High School and local RBI teams, but all players who will benefit from a safe, quality field."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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