SBD/April 5, 2016/MLB Season Preview

MLB Now Lone Pro Sports League With Each Team A Member Of Green Sports Alliance

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MLB rolls into the '16 season as the first professional sports league to have each of its teams as members of the Green Sports Alliance. GSA President & co-Founder Allen Hershkowitz said of the milestone, "The fact that all 30 MLB teams have joined the Green Sports Alliance reflects a great commitment to environmental stewardship by a professional sports league. ... It’s not about having one team or 10 teams. We literally have every single team who actively joined the GSA. It’s not like the league paid for them." Hershkowitz believes the example set by MLB will lead to a “ripple effect” that could see other pro leagues like the NHL and NFL follow suit.

A TEAM EFFORT: MLB Dir of Facility Operations Paul Hanlon said that from a league perspective, nothing has changed with all teams now being a part of the alliance. Each team, in line with being a GSA member, is now actively measuring their water use, energy use and waste. Hanlon said, “It’s great to have additional participation and I look forward to having more ideas with the additional teams. ... We encourage folks to do things, but we don't mandate specific initiatives.” Even before every team was a part of the alliance, MLB participated in GSA's conferences and summits.

SEEING THE LIGHT: Hanlon added that one of the primary green initiatives for this year has been to increase the use of LED lighting. “It’s been something that you’ll see gradually growing in the sports world,” Hanlon said. Last season the Mariners were the first MLB team to use LED lighting for its fields, and this season, Hanson said the Yankees, Rangers, Astros and Padres have joined them. The Padres installation means this year's MLB All-Star Game will be the league's first under LED lights. Hanlon said that the biggest challenge MLB has faced is figuring out what can work in each market. Hanlon: "Every market is different. So there really isn’t a one size fits all approach to (going green)." He added that when it comes to LED lighting, teams have to balance the capital investment of the more energy efficient lights with the long term savings they will likely accrue.
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