ANAHEIM -- Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Rangers batting coach Scott Coolbaugh's brother, Mike, and his foundation is embarking on another project to help improve safety on the baseball field. Scott and Susan Coolbaugh's "Diamond Dreams" foundation has announced its new "Make It Home Safe" program, which aims to assist youth baseball players and organizations in need of new or improved safety equipment or facilities. Beginning the weekend of July 20-July 22, 2012, Mike Coolbaugh Diamond Dreams began accepting nominations for its first project awards under the new "Make It Home Safe" program at its website, www.diamonddreams.org. Anyone who knows of a Texas baseball team, program or organization that has a need for improved safety equipment or facilities is encouraged to visit the Diamond Dreams website and submit an online nomination form.
In the past five years there has been a concentrated effort to improve safety in organized baseball. Among the most prominent examples of this focus on safety is that base coaches from the college level through the Minor Leagues and all the way to the Majors are required to wear helmets on the field. Additionally, colleges and high schools have implemented new BBCOR bat safety standards to reduce the injury risk. Mike Coolbaugh died as the result of injuries from getting hit by a foul-ball line drive while coaching first base for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers on July 22, 2007. "When this time comes around, it's always a tough time for the family," Coolbaugh said. "[Friday] is my mom's birthday. The whole next few days we struggle to get through."