April 22 is the 40 anniversary of Earth Day, and Major League Baseball (MLB) is celebrating in a big way. In collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), MLB is developing a software program to collect and analyze stadium operations data across all 30 clubs. This will revolutionize the way clubs and stadiums are run across the nation. To celebrate this bold new program, clubs across the country will sponsor special Earth Day events.

Some are calling this collaboration between baseball and an environmental organization arguably the most important environmental initiative in the history of professional sports. Dr. Allen Hershkowitz is a senior scientist with the NRDC. As he writes, “The commitment by our national pastime to enhance its ecological profile in a meaningful and public way marks a watershed in the history of the environmental movement.” This new software will collect and analyze which practices best put baseball’s green foot forward. Further, it will roll out to all 30 clubs during the 2010 season.

MLB Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig applauds the new program. As he said in an April 13 press release, “Major League Baseball has responsibilities to our fans and society at large that go beyond the playing field. Our clubs have made a commitment to sustainability and are leaders in their communities, raising awareness and educating fans not just on Earth Day, but everyday about environmental stewardship.”

This is not the first time MLB has worked with the NRDC on an environmental initiative. The NRDC has previously helped determine energy efficiency enhancements for stadiums, installed solar panels, implemented conversation programs, and educated fans. And it’s not just baseball that is taking on a green hue. Recently, the National Basketball Association (NBA) sponsored Green Week, during which players and fans participated in eco-friendly events.

MLB plans a series of events to celebrate their new green initiative and the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In Philadelphia, Phillies fans will donate used cell phones at First Base Gate at Citizens Bank Park on April 17-18. Proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia Zoo’s Return the Call of the Wild program. The Cleveland Indians will present all fans entering Progressive Field on April 17 with a recycled Indians ball cap made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. The New York Mets will invite children to Citi Field on April 28 for a day of green education. The San Francisco Giants will encourage school children to make their classrooms green. The St. Louis Cardinals will host Green Week from April 26 through May 1 to raise awareness for sustainability actions. And these are just a few of the green goings on.

For further reading: MLB’s important announcement

Major League Baseball celebrates Earth Day with vast new initiative
MLB becomes first major sports program to implement a league-wide green data collection program.