Results tagged ‘ gloves ’

The Red Cross of Baseball

by David Rhode

Bryan Donaldson, Senior Director of Community Relations for the Minnesota Twins, recently described Pitch In For Baseball as the Red Cross of Baseball. It put a smile on my face because we take great pride in helping youth baseball communities in their times of greatest need.

On Wednesday, February 13 we really did feel like the Red Cross of Baseball. That day, our operations manager, Tom Schoenfelder, drove a truck full of gear and uniforms from Harleysville, PA to Long Island, NY to meet the smiling and warm faces of the volunteers and children of Oceanside and Island Park Little Leagues. Together, he and I offloaded boxes, Red Cross style into the arms of the league administrators and parents whose leagues lost everything in Hurricane Sandy.

Pat Doherty, President of Oceanside American LL, carries a box to its new home

Pat Doherty, President of Oceanside American LL, carries a box to its new home

bags of uniforms will be worn once again

bags of uniforms will be worn once again

When you drive up to both field complexes, you are immediately struck by one thing…the water is REALLY close.  At Oceanside, the water is about 10 feet behind the outfield fence forming their own youth baseball version of McCovey Cove.  Great when a kid hits a homer, bad when a Hurricane and rising tides hits your town.  At Island Park, the same scene exists…water creating a scenic backdrop in the near distance toward right field.   Except on October 29, 2012 those waters got a lot closer.  In fact over 5 feet of water covered their entire field complex and filled their equipment sheds.

But this past Wednesday was a different story, a story of hope and renewal.  Many of these families are still not back into their homes.  But on this day, they could feel a sense of comfort at least knowing that their children would be able to take the fields this spring when Little League season begins.  Their smiling faces tell the real story of the day.

Pitch In For Baseball’s President, former MLB all-star Roy Smalley III, puts it this way, “as communities get on their feet it’s important to restore a sense of normalcy and nothing is more normal than youngsters taking the baseball fields in the Spring.  We hope helping replacing some of the baseball equipment that was lost will allow these people to focus upon rebuilding their lives.”

Oceanside and Island Park represent the first chapter of an evolving story.  Over the next few weeks, we will have the privilege to deliver much needed equipment and uniforms to Bayonne, Bayshore, North Merrick, Rockaway and East Rockaway.  They all share a similar story in regards to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  They all share a deep gratitude for the donations they are about to receive.

We’d like to take full credit for the items they receive, but in truth Pitch In For Baseball is merely the product of the generous donations that we receive.  Kids doing Bar Mitzvah projects, leagues making equipment and financial donations, manufacturers sending things our way.  They all add up and they enable us to respond when called up.  Do we respond like the Red Cross…I guess so.  Unlike the Red Cross, however, we deliver joy and we’re ok with that.

For those want to learn more please visit http://www.pitchinforbaseball.org/html/.  We’d love for you to join our team.  Maybe you want to start and equipment collection in your community or make a financial contribution to help out our Sandy Relief initiative.  You could also text “give gloves” to 80088 to donate $10 (normal text messaging rates apply).

Receiving a new glove takes the edge off a cold winter day

Receiving a new glove takes the edge off a cold winter day

Not hard to picture these guys on the field together in the next few weeks

Not hard to picture these guys on the field together in the next few weeks

A great summer project

by Jessica Bicker

While soaking up the sun and splashing into a pool is an enjoyable way for youth to spend summer vacation, volunteering is a rewarding experience that can easily fit in with other summer plans.

If you are involved with a community organization that requires you to complete a service project, need volunteer hours for high school graduation, or just have a passion for sharing your love of baseball, organizing a collection for Pitch In For Baseball is simple and enjoyable. In fact, individuals who hold equipment drives are the backbone of our organization. They are the ones who keep our warehouse stocked, which enables us to say “yes” to underserved communities that ask for our help.

Christian Mackay-Morgan collected baseball uniforms in his hometown of Simsbury, CT.

Connecting with a local youth baseball league is a good first step. You could ask to set up collection bins at some of the games (perhaps near a high-traffic area such as the concession stand). Many leagues wrap up their seasons in late June or July, so you could contact the league commissioner to find out if they have any unneeded equipment in good condition that they would be willing to donate.

Our #1 need is gloves. Other items we accept include: catcher’s gear, youth bats, batting helmets, baseballs, softballs, soft cover balls (for Tee Ball), rubber baseball cleats, youth uniform pants (sets of 12 or more, white or gray), youth uniform shirts and hats (sets of 12 or more), umpire protective gear, team equipment bags, sets of bases, batting tees, pitching machines.

If you are interested in organizing a charitable collection for Pitch In For Baseball, here are some helpful links:

Register your charity drive here so that we can assist you through the process.

Download flyers and other materials to promote your equipment collection.

If you have further questions after exploring our website, do not hesitate to contact us at jess@pitchinforbaseball.org.

And away it goes

by David Rhode

Less than 48 hours after we heard from the group in Henryville, Indiana 11 boxes are on their way to replace the equipment they lost in the tornadoes a week ago.  I think that represents the new gold standard for turnaround between request and shipment.

The equipment will run the gamut.  It will be gloves, baseballs, softballs, bats, batting helmets, equipment bags, cleats, pants, catcher’s gear.  The reason we can react so quickly is that we’ve received so many wonderful donations in the past.  That said, we are almost out of gloves and catcher’s gear and our supply of baseballs is getting low.  These are somewhat normal occurences for us at this time of the year.  March is a month where a lot more equipment goes out the door than comes in.

The equipment and uniforms we donate are our way to say “we hope things get better soon”.  What can you say to a group that has had its world turned upside town.  Friends or loved ones lost their loves or suffered terrible injuries.  Homes were destroyed or damaged. 

What we do know is that the kids in the Henryville Babe Ruth league will get back to practice next week and their Opening Day will go off as scheduled.

The Pinkalicious rule

by David Rhode

When you have a 5 year old daughter, your world view is altered.  In my house, I now have to expand my horizons to things like dolls, make up, and anything associated with being a rock star.  You also have different books to read.  To be clear, my daughter loves dinosaurs and sharks, so she’s not strictly a girly girl.  One series we read is Pinkalicious. 

At Pitch In For Baseball, we apply the “Pinkalicious rule”.  For any of you who have read the books, there is a famous expression, “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  It’s what Pinkalicious’ mom says to our young heroine and basically it encourages her (and the rest of us) to appreciate what we have and what we’re given.

We would love to give every applicant all the equipment they request in exactly the quantity,color and configuration they request it.  But, we can only give away what get’s donated to us.  Hence the Pinkalicious rule.

Almost everyone we interact with “gets it”.  They know we are a leanly staffed and underresourced organization.  When we tell them we will do our best, we mean it.  Our results bear that out.  However, every once in a while we come across an applicant who has not read Pinkalicious a/k/a the Pitch In For Baseball bible.  So they get a touch cranky if we don’t have a certain shade of uniforms/socks/catcher’s gear.  They might want the baseballs to have a certain type of stamp on them to certify them for play in their league.  We’re not Baseball Express or Sports Authority, we’re Pitch In For Baseball.  Maybe we should get a few copies of Pinkalicious and keep them in stock and slip one into an order for a difficult customer.  Then when they call to ask why, we can let this important phrase go to work.

Trip down memory lane

by David Rhode

For the first 4+ years at Pitch In For Baseball I had the privilege of hand-selecting a vast majority of the equipment our organization shipped to our worthy recipients.  However, as the organization has grown, more staff have come on board and I’ve refocused my time on some of the long term partnerships and fundraising that is necessary for the organization to be sustainable and meet our goals.  As a result, warehouse responsibilities are now in the very capable hands of Tom Schoenfelder and others to manage the operations side of the charity.

Anyone who has ever packed up equipment at Pitch In For Baseball takes away a great feeling of pride and accomplishment.  This is where the rubber meets the road for our charity.  Sending out equipment is how we make a difference in the world.

Today I asked Tom to put me to work.  I haven’t packed up anything so far this year and I miss it.  I packed up donations heading to high school programs in Mississippi, California and Philadelphia as well as a donation to a family in Kentucky.  It was one of the best days I’ve had in months.

Gloves, balls, bats, helmets, cleats and uniforms are the currency we trade in.  Picking out the items and packing them in boxes is a great reminder of what we do and why we spend so much of our time in building the organization.

The quality of the equipment we have in stock is awesome.  As Tom mentioned in his recent blog, some things get better with age and baseball gloves and catcher’s mitts definitely fit that mold.  Our donors have really sent us some tremendous stuff.

So if you are ever looking for a great way to spend a few hours, pay us a visit and we’ll put you to work.  Getting your hands dirty here is a great way to spend a day,

Donating to all fields

by Tom Schoenfelder

When an application comes in, it is always interesting to see where they are applying from.  We will get requests from areas as close as Philadelphia and as far away as the other side of the world in the Philippines.  Even though every program is different culturally and have different equipment needs, there is one commonality between them.  The dedicated individual applying for the equipment.

Be it a coach, league president, or volunteer, those who apply for the equipment care about their players.  They work tirelessly to make the season happen.  When the hurdle of needing equipment comes up, Pitch In For Baseball is happy to step up with the donation of equipment.

Robert White and PIFB Interns Dustin & Jim helping load equipment for the North Trenton Babe Ruth League

In the case of the North Trenton Babe Ruth league, in Trenton, NJ, that hard-working individual is Robert White. A year ago I had a phone conversation with Robert White after he applied for equipment.  What I heard on the other side of the phone was a man who had a passion for the kids in his league playing baseball.  We were able to help with a variety of equipment his league needed.  Over the past year it was encouraging to hear from him the impact the equipment made on his league.

In the 2012 their mission of the North Trenton league has not changed.  They continue to provide a safe place for children to learn and play baseball.  When they applied for equipment this year, I knew that this years donation will again help kids enjoy the game I loved to play growing up.

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

My First Glove

by Roy Smalley III

“A glove, a child, a difference” is a perfect summation of our mission at Pitch In For Baseball.  I was asked recently if I could remember getting my first glove.  Remember?  It is a memory I will carry forever.  It was Spring Training in 1958 and I was 5 1/2 years old.  My dad, Roy Smalley Jr (I am Roy III) was with the Philadelphia Phillies.  My dad would take me to the ballpark every morning and I would hang around the dugout watching my heroes go through their workouts.  One day the great Hall of Famer-to-be, Robin Roberts came up to me with an old, worn glove of his, handed it to me and said, “Here young man.  I’d like you to have this.”  I know he meant it to be a souvenir–he even signed it.  But for me, it was my glove–one I would use until my dad bought me my first brand new one when I was 10.  It was ten years of growth too big for me and was too worn for Robin to use, but it was mine.  I took if everywhere, used it in Little League games and had it next to my pillow at night.  I am convinced that using that way-to-big-for-me glove helped develop my “hands” as a young shortstop.  When I did finally get that brand new Rawlings I couldn’t believe how easy catching a groundball was.

I know that very few kids will ever be lucky enough to be given a glove by a major leaguer.  I also know that there are far too many kids who will never be given a glove at all.  The point of my story is not where the glove comes from.  A kid getting a glove is a magical moment.  It is a moment of pure joy that will be relived for days and days to come in the child’s life.  Thank you for continuing to help us bring those moments to more and more kids.  There are so many more magical moments waiting to happen.

Roy Smalley III is the current Board President of Pitch In For Baseball

Baseball weather

by Tom Schoenfelder

With the start of February it usually means two things… its cold outside but spring training right around the corner and I need to find a date for Valentines day.  Beautiful weather like today in the Philadelphia region makes me feel like digging up my old glove.  If you are anything like me, you have a basement full of dusty old equipment and boxes of participation trophies.

Pitch In For Baseball can help…with the equipment.  If your old gear has rounded third, find it a new home.  Go on our website to learn about how you can make a difference in some child’s life.

www.pitchinforbaseball.org

From Philippines to Philly

Here is a video that shows some great pictures of kids and places that Pitch In For Baseball has been with donations since 2005.