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The Monitor's View

Baseball proudly wears its green

In pro baseball, which holds its all-star game Tuesday, more than the playing fields are green. Teams are rigorously looking for ways to cut energy use and become better overall environmental stewards.

By the Monitor's Editorial Board / July 5, 2012

The Miami Marlins home run sculpture is shown in center field as a band plays on opening day, April 4, 2012. The game was the first regular-season game played in the new energy-efficient Marlins Park stadium.

Joe Skipper/Reuters/File

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When millions of television viewers tune in to the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game Tuesday night (July 10), they’ll see something green at Kansas City’s 40-year-old Kauffman Stadium besides its carefully manicured field: a glistening bank of 120 solar panels.

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The new panels are expected to produce 32,000 kWh of energy this year, the equivalent of the power used by three homes.

Baseball continues to be weighed down by a steroids scandal. While pitcher Roger Clemens won his recent court case, suspicions that he and many other former stars used performance-enhancing drugs remain, along with a heated debate over whether they should be allowed into baseball’s hall of fame.

RELATED: How student-built solar homes can help solve US housing and energy crisis

But while that dark spot lingers, a positive environmental spotlight on baseball grows brighter. Consider:

• The league’s newest stadium, built for the Miami Marlins and opened in April, is LEED certified (a rating bestowed by the US Green Building Council), in recognition of its green features. They include 249 waterless urinals that should save about 6 million gallons of water per year. Most of the building materials, including concrete recycled from the previous stadium, were harvested and manufactured locally to reduce transportation emissions.

Most of the construction waste also was recycled, and air-quality-friendly paints, adhesives, carpets, and flooring materials were used. Overall, the new ballpark is about 22 percent more energy efficient than a typical project of its size.

• This year Miami joins four other MLB ballparks in Milwaukee, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. that have earned LEED certification.

• Besides the Kansas City Royals, solar panels have been installed in the home stadiums of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants, the Colorado Rockies, the Boston Red Sox, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Cleveland Indians.

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