Blast from the past

by David Rhode

On December 31, 2007 my wife and I celebrated New Years in Beijing.  This was part of a wonderful trip seeing sights in a place I had never been.  My wife had lived and studied there in the past, but it had been 20 years since her last visit.  A lot had changed and was still changing in anticipation of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

During that trip we visited a school-based team that Pitch In For Baseball had helped with donated equipment. It was about 5 degrees farenheit that day, yet the kids we met played for over an hour showing us how appreciative they were of the donated items.  One of the people who made that possible was a young guy named Mike Marone.  Mike was a transplanted Texan who found his way to be Major League Baseball’s country manager for China.  Mike coordinated our transportation that day, translated and kept the kids (and us) from freezing.

cold baseball day in Beijing

Visiting a school in the Fengtai district who had received equipment from Pitch In For Baseball

Fast forward to 2012.  Mike Marone is now in Philadelphia pursuing his MBA at Wharton.  As a result, we’ve had a chance to reconnect.  Today Mike and his 2 year old son made the trip out to the Pitch In For Baseball offices to see what we do first hand.

Mike has had a front row seat for many years to see how baseball is taking root in China.  He loves the game.  He’s a patient teacher and helped plant many seeds in China that will hopefully produce baseball fruit in the future.

Our organization has grown a great deal in the 4 years since I met Mike.  We actually now have an office, have expanded our staff and with it our capacity to help kids.

Mike is one of the thousands of people who have played a piece in the Pitch In For Baseball success story.  I”m glad he got a chance to see how far we’ve come and I hope our paths cross again in the near future.


I love that wall of baseball bats. Every time I see a photo (or video!) of it, I smile.

Pitch in for Baseball is a great organization! I’m excited to see what Zack Hample does for them this year! I’ll be pledging to his charity this year!

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