Results tagged ‘ Baseball ’

Chris from Lost Boyz

For the past four years, Pitch In For Baseball has been supporting the Lost Boyz organization with equipment grants. Lost Boyz is a non-profit, grass-roots organization engaged in community development in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.  Most kids show up without gear because parents cannot afford equipment.  Their goal this year is to double the participation. The equipment donation from Pitch In For Baseball is helping in accomplishing this goal.  One example of a child in the league impacted by the donation is Chris.

Chris is in his second season.  He has natural talent and loves to play baseball, but he has five siblings and his mother does not have the income to pay for everything that is necessary to participate in a baseball league.  The donation of equipment has given him the opportunity to play and he’s been able to excel at baseball because of it.

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Never thought I’d miss monotony

That’s me on the right…I’m normal sized.

by Tom Schoenfelder

Most days, I complain about how boring life can be.  This wasn’t one of those times.  It all began with a trip to a baseball mecca on Memorial Day.  One of my best friends from back home moved up to the Boston area, so I planned a trip to go see my hometown Phillies play the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park; the stadium exceeded my expectations.

Before my only thoughts on the stadium were about the awkward foul pole and giant wall.   However, visiting it was closer to being at a museum or castle than actually watching a baseball game.   There was something about its old-school atmosphere that made it feel less corporate than other ballparks I’ve been to.

The next part of my week long adventure included a 6 am, Thursday morning flight to Dallas, then a three hour drive to the tornado-impacted area of Moore, Oklahoma. Once I arrived in Moore, I immediately started helping in the relief efforts, knowing that the day would be cut short because of the impending thunderstorms.

My responsibilities included clearing out debris from homes and dragging it to the street.  While volunteering gave me a warm feeling inside, yet it was depressing to see the possessions these families had worked for their entire lives, demolished in a blink of an eye.  The most shocking realization for me was seeing one home virtually fine and its neighboring home, which only had the foundation left.  As I expected, the thunderstorm cut my day short and caught a ride back to the volunteer headquarters in the back of a pick-up.pick up

I arrived at the hotel and get two steps in front of my room when the siren goes off.  I ran downstairs to the hotels conference center and hungout with the hundreds of FEMA and Red Cross people, until they told us that the tornado never came close to hitting us, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

The next day I woke up and help with the recovery efforts again.  Someone found an old baseball card and baseball when clearing out what used to be a shed and placed it on a table, so I had to take a picture of it.

As the day progressed, we all caught wind that another large tornado was going to happen, so thediamond dogs day ended early again.  This gave me time to explore the town I was staying in, Norman, Oklahoma.  I walked around the OU campus and saw what appeared to be a baseball themed restaurant.  The place was called Diamond Dogs and specialized in, as you’d expect, hot dogs.  I went with the “Wonder Boy” –  a corndog with Captain Crunch in the breading.  I’ll be taking a trip back to Oklahoma for those hot dogs.  While at dinner, I asked the guy if we’ll get hit by the tornado: His response, “Norman never gets hit”.  Good call.

At this point, I felt great and looked forward to heading back to the hotel to write this blog entry.  I turned on the TV, only to see another storm starting to head my way.  I do the only logical thing, walk down to the hotel bar and strike up a conversation with the guy next to me, who was from Oklahoma.  He said the best thing to do is to drive south and avoid the tornado, which led me to ask why he was still at the hotel.  He said he didn’t have his truck, so I told him he was in luck.  About this time, I regretted not getting the sports car as my rental.  The alarm goes off, and when hundreds of people from the hotel start walking back to conference room, we leave.moore car

It’s the calm before the storm, and there’s an eerie feeling as I start driving south.  We stop off at a town about 20 miles south where the tornado wasn’t predicted to hit.  Wrong.  The owner of the bar where we stopped gets a phone calling saying we should leave.  We walk outside as the sirens start blaring and people start running.  The closest thing I could compare it to would be a Godzilla movie, where everyone is looking up and there’s a sense of panic.  Dark clouds split the evening sky like a black and white cookie.  We start driving away from the tornado’s direction, down a road with a closed road sign.  I get to the dead end.  I get out to relinquish my bladder on a tree when the owner of the cattle ranch invites us inside.  We walk inside, have a cup of coffee and watch as the storm starts to pass.  Once the brunt of the storm misses us, I drive safely back to the hotel.  There, we return only to find that there was no reason to leave; the building was fine.  Everyone in the hotel acted like nothing happened, while I got back from the adventure with a story of a lifetime.

Getting the call

by Tom Schoenfelder

Growing up all I ever wanted to be was a professional baseball player, then I realized that you needed a lot talent.  Unemployed and living in my parents basement after college was far from what I expected life would be like when I graduated.  I was told that finding a job would be very difficult, but I didn’t think it applied to me.  After striking out at numerous job interviews and still out of work, I received some of the best advice of my life from my brother.

Having a gap in my resume does not look good and I should volunteer.  So when I’m asked what I have done recently, I can say something other than reaching level 50 in Call of Duty.  I began tutoring and helping out at local non-profits.  While looking for volunteer opportunities on a website, I came across a job posting.

Still on my boss' bookshelf

It combined that love of baseball with the helping aspect of a non-profit.  I knew that I had to work for Pitch In For Baseball.  Company after company told me that my resume was not good enough and that I needed more experience.  I knew all I needed was a chance.

Before heading off to the Pitch In For Baseball interview I created a portfolio in a three ring binder that had my resume and all the projects I’ve worked on as a college student.  I confidently left the interview and drove the hour and half back to New Jersey.

A week later I received a phone call from David Rhode, executive director and founder of Pitch In For Baseball.  I was expecting to hear the “its not you, its that we found someone better” speech.  Instead I heard, “would you like to be the Operations Manager?”.  If he offered me the janitor position I probably would have still taken it.  I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, happy to go to work because I know that the baseball equipment I am helping to donate is putting smiles on kids faces all around the world.

It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball on Valentine’s Day

by Tom Schoenfelder

On this Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded of a line from the movie “Moneyball” describing the relationship many have with baseball.


 

Growing up baseball is our first love.  Gloves are broken in under pillows.  Scorecards are love letters to the players.  When your team loses, it’s like you we’re dumped.  While dates can come and go, the passion for the sport stays with us.

– Tom Schoenfelder