Results tagged ‘ donated baseball equipment ’

Our MVV

by David Rhode

While it may seem a little early to be proclaiming postseason awards, this one is a shoe in.  Justin Briant is Pitch In For Baseball’s 2012 MVV…Most Valuable Volunteer.

Many non profit organizations will say that “volunteers are the backbone of our organization”.  Well, when you ship equipment to dozens of countries around the world and over a hundred communities domestically each year with just 2 full-time staff people, than you better have some awesome volunteers.  Thankfully, we do.

Justin is the kind of person who motivates me and gives me confidence that Pitch In For Baseball is truly a special cause worth supporting.  He has caught the Pitch In For Baseball bug and apparently he is in no danger of getting over it any time soon.  Justin is a high school senion in Edina, Minnesota.  He has singlehandedly help launch PIFB’s Minneapolis branch of the organization and has helped well over 1,000 kids in his area gain access to baseball and softball through the equipment he has helped collect and distribute.

Justin has helped fan the flames of the need to collect equipment among youth baseball organizations in his and neighboring towns; worked side by side with PIFB Board President Roy Smalley III to raise awareness for our mission; volunteered at Target Field when the Twins help Pitch In For Baseball collect equipment; spent many a night or weekend meeting prospective donors to help receive their donated goods; and helped organize and maintain donated warehouse space first in a downtown facility and now in his family’s garage.

(Roy Smalley III on left and Justin Briant on right)

In one more case of the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Justin’s dad Tom has been a huge advocate for Pitch In For Baseball…first supporting Justin’s various collection initiatives and then lately reaching out to members of his professional network to raise funds for our organization.

So, when you hear that volunteers are the backbone of our organization, think of Justin and the entire Briant Family and know that Pitch In For Baseball has already set the bar high to be our MVV for 2013.

Meeting Babe Ruth

by David Rhode

Yesterday I met Babe Ruth.  Not that Babe Ruth.

The Babe Ruth I spent the afternoon with was the fine team that runs Babe Ruth Baseball in Trenton, New Jersey.

Pitch In For Baseball has the pleasure of working with a number of outstanding organizations.  Little League International, USA Baseball, Major League Baseball’s RBI program, the Major League Baseball Players Association just to name a few.  In the last year or so, we have also begun to work very closely with Babe Ruth Baseball.

About 1 million kids play in Babe Ruth affiliated youth leagues annually in the U.S.  The leader of Babe Ruth Baseball is Steven Tellefsen.  Steven’s an down-to-earth guy with a big heart and a strong desire to give kids the chance to play ball.  Maybe that’s why he’s taken such an interest in Pitch In For Baseball.  We share the same goals and vision.

When separate floods struck the communities of Ludlow, VT and Minot, ND and in 2011 Steven asked us if there was anything we could do to help.  Our answer was an immediate “yes”.  He then wrote a heartfelt letter to the Babe Ruth leagues around the country and asked them to contribute $ and equipment to our organization to fuel our efforts to help these decimated communities.  The response was impressive to say the least.

This past month, we delivered our equipment to Vermont and in a month or so the equipment for Minot will be on its way.  It doesn’t take much to keep Tom Schoenfelder and I motivated at Pitch In For Baseball.  The fine folks of Ludlow paid us in smiles and maple syrup.  Not sure how or if Minot could ever top that.

So here’s to Babe Ruth.  The young people playing youth baseball with the Babe Ruth patch on their uniforms and the fine team at Babe Ruth Baseball in Trenton are making sure that name will live on forever.

We’ve come a long way, baby

by David Rhode

Tonight is a Pitch In For Baseball Board of Directors meeting.  If my math is close to correct, this will be our 43rd  such meeting since our inception.  Nothing magical about the number, it’s just that it gives me pause to think back to our very first meeting as an organization.

The date was September 20, 2005.  Unlike now when we actually can have meetings in our conference room of our office/warehouse, in those days we met around my dining room table.  My wife and kids and pets scattered.  I set out some food.  We had an agenda and off we went.

The start of anything is exciting.  As a group, we really had no idea what to expect when we “opened our doors” for business.  At the time we had just a concept and a name.  Pitch In For Baseball.  No website…no equipment…no money…just some friends and I trying to see if we could launch a baseball charity.

The backdrop of the meeting was that the country was going through a very emotional time.  Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had just hit the Gulf Coast region within the last month.  While the original focus of our organization was intended to be on international assistance, we knew immediately that our initial focus should be on getting kids in that region back on the field of play.

We set a goal to assist 3 programs in 2006.  We had no idea what that really meant since we hadn’t really defined what a donation would consist of, but 3 has always been my lucky number so 3 it was.  In reality, we accomplished much more, bringing much needed resources to 16 programs here in the US and around the world.  More than half that assistance went to communities in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Florida.

The growth over the last 6 years has been extremely rewarding.  We now work as partners with Little League International, USA Baseball, Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, Babe Ruth Baseball and the list goes on.  We’ve shipped equipment to over 70 countries worldwide and over 250 communities here in the United States.

We’ve reached some important conclusions during this time frame.

  1. Helping kids play baseball matters.
  2. Bringing joy to kids never gets old.
  3. We have a lot more work to do.

We invite you to join us in that effort.  Visit us at Pitch In For Baseball and join our team.  Our work is fun, it’s important and you can make a difference.

Hall of Fame donation

by David Rhode

For those of you with an interest in collectibles, you should make your way to the Pitch In For Baseball warehouse here in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.  Among the 20,000 plus items on hand is a unique bin of baseballs.  There you will find that we have almost a thousand balls autographed with Hall of Fame signatures like Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams.  The slight problem with these signatures is that they are all fraudulent.

It seems that someone, somewhere thought they could replicate the signatures of famous ballplayers.  It also seems that somewhere along the way their plan got on the radar of the Feds and these balls got confiscated.  Bad news for them, good news for Pitch In For Baseball.

One day we got a call asking if we’d accept these otherwise pristine baseballs as long as we’d be willing to a) make sure the signatures got Sharpeed into oblivion and that b) the balls were shipped overseas.  Done and done.

When you work at a charity that donates equipment, you go through a lot of baseballs.

So now imagine a young child in Slovenia or Cameroon or Mexico having a nice catch with a Joe D “autographed” ball.  Kind of makes you smile.

A Glove, A Child, A Difference

by David Rhode

The theme of this upcoming year at Pitch In For Baseball is “a glove, a child, a difference”.  Pitch In For Baseball is not a difficult concept to grasp.  We collect and redistribute equipment.  The result of that work is to create joy and positive outcomes in the lives of kids by giving them a chance to play a game that so many of us find so special.

At the heart of Pitch In For Baseball is the baseball glove.  It is the item, more than any other, which unlocks the door to the game.  So many of remember having a catch with a sibling, a parent, a grandparent, a friend.  In the days when breaking in a glove was part mad scientist and part urban legend, it was the glove that captured our imagination.

At Pitch In For Baseball, however, the glove is our real bottleneck, our nemesis.  We never have enough donated gloves to meet the needs of those requesting help.  It is the purchasing of new gloves that consumes a big piece of our annual budget.  It is frequently the only item we cannot fulfill to a recipient in the quantity they request.

So if you ever want to know what you can do to help Pitch In For Baseball, the answer is gloves.  Help us unlock the idea that gets more donated. Write us the check that lets us buy more.  The formula for making kids happy is not a mystery.  One more glove brings lasting joy to one more child and that is the difference we are seeking at Pitch In For Baseball.

Here’s to 2012, may it be our best ever!

A True Mittsvah

by David Rhode

Somehow Pitch In For Baseball has become a great landing spot for young boys and girls who are required to conduct a Mitzvah Project in preparation for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  Truth be told, I’m not sure what Pitch In For Baseball would do without them.

Kids are truly the backbone of our organization.  They collect equipment, raise funds, volunteer time in our warehouse.

For those of you not familiar with the term Mitzvah, it’s a Jewish word and loosely translated means “an act of human kindness or good deed”.

In the last 7 years, well over 100 kids have chosen Pitch In For Baseball for their Mitzvah project.  It’s really a great experience for the kids to translate a passion they have for baseball to a meaningful act of philanthropy in helping kids who are less fortunate to be able to receive the equipment needed to play.

This past year we’ve had dozens of great projects and to choose the “best” one is like a parent have to say which child they love the most (Casey).  That said, Jacob Gurvis of Newton, Massachusetts collected a 2011 best 105 gloves  in addition to numerous other items that benefited kids in need.  He called his effort a “Mittsvah”, which was not only creative, but apparently effective as well.  Jacob put together a short video describing his involvement with our organization.  Listen in to hear in his words why connecting with PIFB was meaningful to him.

Uganda baseball–continued success

Many of you may not know that the Little League team from Uganda that qualified for this past year’s Little League World Series, never made the trip to Williamsport due to trouble and challenges obtaining their visas.  They would have been the first team from Africa to ever take the field in Williamsport.  You certainly wouldn’t know that the team Uganda was scheduled to play (Canada) in the Little League World Series recently made a visit to Uganda to play this game.  For what it’s worth, in a game that was delayed almost six months, Uganda beat Canada 2-1.  The outcome itself is immaterial.  What mattered most was that the experience for both the Canadian and Ugandan kids was one they will never forget and for that we should all smile and say “job well done”.

Ugandan Little League players celebrate their 2-1 victory against the Canadian team from Langley, British Columbia. Felix "Abooki" Barugahare is hoisted on his teammates shoulders after scoring the winning run.

The success and passion for baseball in Uganda is truly special and inspiring.  There are many people who deserve credit and there are many folks who get recognized for their role in that success.  Jimmy Rollins and Derrek Lee made the recent trip to Uganda and helped bring much needed attention to the potential of the game in the region.  Ruth Hoffman and her organization Right to Play helped raise the funds that made the trip and playing of the exhibition game possible.  Jay Shapiro and his group are helping to tell the Uganda Baseball story in a beautiful documentary that will hopefully be released later this year.  Richard Stanley is the engine behind much of the growth of Little League in Uganda.  He has put up a tremendous amount of his own money and dedicated years of effort to see things reach this point.  All this is good stuff.

Funny thing is, they wouldn’t be playing much baseball without equipment and most of the equipment they are receiving is from Pitch In For Baseball.  We’ve helped the program in Uganda for the last 5 years.  It is one of the true success on our organization’s resume. While privately we are genuinely thanked from all parties for role we play, when push comes to shove, the attention and the financial resources fall onto other groups for the role they play.  This isn’t sour grapes, this is reality.  Equipment isn’t sexy.  Yet, in the thousands of projects we’ve completed in 7 years and the several hundred thousand kids we’ve impacted, the passion kids feel for baseball would be just a dream without the equipment to make that dream a reality.

Making dreams a reality is what Pitch In For Baseball specializes in.  We invite you to get involved with our organization so you can be part of the joy we help spread both here in the US and around the world.

Pitching in 2010

As Pitch In For Baseball continues to spread the love of
the game all over the world, we thought that this would be a great way to keep
everyone connected to the latest Pitch In For Baseball happenings. This blog
will be used to update you with current programs, show you the latest warehouse
happenings, and share the excitement of Pitch In For Baseball across the
web!

As we are now entering July, PIFB has had a very
successful first 6 months to 2010. Here are some of the highlights:

  • PIFB has helped 94 programs in over 50 communities in the USA and 17 different countries.
  • PIFB shipped its 100,00th piece of equipment since its founding in 2005.
  • In December, former MLB shortstop Roy Smalley III was elected President of
    the PIFB board of directors. 
  • PIFB continued it’s success as an equipment donation partner with Little
    League Baseball International and MLB’s RBI Program. 

Equipment donation to flood ravaged Nashville

Nashville RBI donation 7.JPG
Nashville RBI donation 9.JPGPitch In For Baseball (www.pitchinforbaseball.org) is sending much needed equipment and uniforms to help children in flood ravaged Nashville, Tennessee get back on the baseball field.

Equipment and uniforms will be leaving our warehouse on Monday to make sure these kids get back on the field quickly and safely.

After we’ve spoken to the director of the RBI program in Nashville, we know exactly what they need.  Their entire storage facility was flooded, so it seems that the items we are sending them will make an important impact on their community in general, but more importantly for the kids there who love to play baseball.