Waste not (at all) at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick this spring

Mar 20, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu (9) doubles in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Efficiency is a big buzz word in baseball of late.

Batters want efficiency through the hitting zone to maximize contact. Pitchers want efficiency with their delivery so they can make better pitches deeper in games. Outfielders want efficiency in the routes they take to fly balls. Infielders want efficiency with their use of shifts against hitters. Coaches and trainers want efficiency in the weight room to improve overall conditioning and limit injuries.

Efficiency is everywhere you look on the diamond these days.

Now, MLB is taking the idea of improving efficiency beyond the field of play. As part of a joint initiative with Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks are participating the “Recycle Rally”. According to MLB, the initiative “will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.”

The Rockies and Diamondbacks are taking the lead at their joint Spring Training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, beginning with the Diamondbacks’ first tune-up game against Arizona State on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

According to a release from MLB, a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at Salt River Fields to help the venue become more environmentally friendly. The university will then determine how the two clubs can minimize, and most effectively manage, waste, including adopting effective waste diversion practices at the ballpark through recycling, reusing and composting. The partnership will also engage fans during Spring Training games at Salt River Fields through a series of interactive and fun-focused activities that educate about the challenges and impacts of waste.

Improving efficiency in managing ballpark waste is not a new concept for the Rockies, who have deployed sustainability initiatives at Coors Field, the club’s regular season home in Denver. “Recycle Rally” builds on an already impressive sustainability plan in place in Denver and Scottsdale.

“The Rockies continue to put a strong emphasis on sustainability at Coors Field, so we are very proud that this partnership with ASU and MLB will educate us and further minimize the environmental impact of the entire Salt River Fields complex, making an already LEED Gold Certified facility even better,” said Colorado Rockies Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Feasel in the release.

The Rockies and Diamondbacks open Cactus League play facing one another at Salt River Fields on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. MST.

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