Former Major League Baseball player Chris Dickerson was with the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, when he noticed the tremendous amount of trash in a locker room waste can. One day, he counted 500 water bottles tossed after batting practice on a hot, humid day.
Dickerson did the math on minor and major league teams and came up with an estimate of 300,000 plastic bottles used by baseball players each game day, according to the New York Times. He founded Players for the Planet, professional athletes working to protect the environment.
A small but determined group, they've cleaned beaches in the Dominican Republic, conducted electronic waste recycling drives and targeted abandoned land to restore natural spaces. Partnering with the Green Sports Alliance, Players for the Planet is encouraging each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams to adopt a youth baseball field and promote sustainable improvements supporting youth sports.
Daniel Norris, a relief pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers, is especially committed. An avid surfer, he doesn't own a home and during the offseason lives in a van outfitted with solar panels. He buys clothes only from companies using recycled materials and still wears the two suits a former Detroit Tigers teammate bought him to wear on team flights when he was a rookie.
“The only other suit I bought was from a thrift store,” Norris said.
Another member of the group, Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks, told the Times climate change is affecting the game.
“We were in Oakland last year getting ready for the series, and we had batting practice canceled both days and almost had the games canceled because of smoke from the wildfires. And the air quality was so bad,” Ahmed said of the California fires. “I know that's been an issue up there as well this year. Hopefully people wake up and understand that our planet needs to be cared for in a great way.”