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Major League Baseball, Habitat team up

Major League Baseball contributes to gulf coast rebuilding efforts with special program prior to game three of the World Series
Home Builds, Special Pre-Game Show Support Habitat for Humanity

For the first time in its history, Major League Baseball will use a World Series game as the platform for a comprehensive charitable program to raise funds and awareness in support of an ongoing initiative between Major League Baseball and Habitat for Humanity International.

Under the banner “Major League Baseball Rebuilds,” MLB will spearhead an effort to build new homes for some residents of the Gulf Coast region who lost everything as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The program will take place at a location near Minute Maid Park in Houston, the site for Game Three of the 2005 World Series. In addition, the television broadcast of Game Three, which will air nationally by FOX Sports and be shown around the globe via MLB International, will feature a special rebuilding theme.

“As the national pastime, Major League Baseball is committed to giving back to our communities in need and there is no greater stage to highlight that mission than the World Series,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “In the wake of these devastating hurricanes, the baseball community joined together and took immediate action to aid victims in the Gulf Coast region, but the need to support the many people affected by this natural disaster remains a great task. Through this initiative, and with the help of our fans around the world, we hope to help the rebuilding and revitalization of the Gulf Coast region.”

“The support and awareness Major League Baseball and its member teams are bringing to our efforts to bring housing and hope to hurricane-affected families brings new meaning to term ‘home run,’” said Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “Our country’s national pastime and helping families in need of a simple decent place to call home are a natural fit, the very best of work and play for purpose.”

Major League Baseball and Habitat for Humanity will build eight houses during the World Series to benefit families that lost everything as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The eight houses, representing each of the eight MLB Clubs in the 2005 postseason, will be constructed on the plaza of the George R. Brown Convention Center, adjacent to Minute Maid Park, in Houston from October 25 – 27. A number of Major League Baseball and Club executives, current and former players and celebrities will join Habitat for Humanity volunteers in constructing the homes. In addition to the builds during the World Series, Major League Baseball and its Club will construct additional houses in local MLB markets throughout the off-season. More than 20 homes are scheduled to be built for the Gulf Coast region by Opening Day 2006.

During the Game Three telecast on FOX Sports, Major League Baseball and FOX will encourage fans watching at home to assist in the rebuilding effort. The broadcast will highlight ways in which fans can donate to Habitat for Humanity, including displaying the telephone number (1-800-HABITAT) and the Habitat for Humanity Web site (www.habitat.org) during the game.

The Game Three pre-game show, which will focus on the Habitat for Humanity rebuilding effort, will include a performance of the new single “Heart of America” by Eric Benét, Michael McDonald, Wynonna Judd, Terry Dexter and The First Full Gospel Choir of New Orleans. The song, inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, recently was released on Reprise/Friday Records and proceeds from the single will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity Gulf Coast rebuilding effort. Following the “Heart of America” performance, Michael McDonald will sing the U.S. National Anthem.

The recipient of the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award, who will be named at a press conference prior to Game Three, will be introduced on field during the pre-game ceremony. Major League Baseball planned many of its relief and rebuilding efforts to coincide with events honoring the nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, which annually recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball both on and off the field. The award is named for Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who lost his life while on a mercy mission to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve 1972. On Sept. 7, Major League Baseball organized in-stadium collection drives to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in conjunction with the annual League-wide celebration of Roberto Clemente Day.

Major League Baseball began its support for the Gulf Coast rebuilding effort with a $1-million donation to Habitat for Humanity on Oct. 4. In addition, collection boxes for fan donations have been placed at the gates of all postseason games, and will continue throughout the Fall Classic. Contributions also can be made online through a link from MLB.com to the Habitat for Humanity Web site, habitat.org.