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02/09/10 2:59 PM EST

Little Padres Park dedicated in La Mesa

Program provides youth with clean, safe place to play baseball

SAN DIEGO -- To be sure, there's nothing little about the breadth of the Little Padres Park program.

On Monday, the Padres dedicated their 40th Little Padres Park, expanding on an already popular program that has benefited the youth of San Diego County and far beyond.

"This incredible field shows the commitment the Padres have to a program that was started back in 1996," said Padres president and COO Tom Garfinkel.

"As we are guided to inspire youth to live, learn and play, we are proud to continue those efforts so that boys and girls in San Diego and Baja California have a clean, safe place to play baseball and softball."

Padres closer Heath Bell, Padres vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, team president and COO Garfinkel were on hand for the dedication Monday, as well as San Diego county supervisor Ron Roberts and La Mesa mayor Art Madrid.

The latest Little Padres Park is part of the Rolando Little League in La Mesa.

"This is an unbelievable field," Bell said. "I put my 6-year-old son on the field and he asked if he was going to be able to play on a field like this one. He says it looks like PETCO Park without the stadium around it."

The Little Padres Parks can be found all over San Diego County, from Oceanside to the South Bay, as far north as Lake Elsinore, east to El Centro and even south of the border in Tijuana, Mexico.

Parks have been dedicated in honor of Jackie Robinson, San Diego native Ted Williams, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, former Padres pitcher Matt LaChappa, and Andres Berumen, the first Tijuana native to pitch for the Padres.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.