Baseball Road Trip Raises Awareness for Global Poverty -TBP
Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, and paying a visit to all 30 Major League Baseball parks in the country is surely on the bucket list of any fan of the game. Jodi and Jack Petrinovich of Washington state began their baseball road trip in April and plan to return home at the end of July, after visiting every park in the country.

What appears to be an all-American road trip at first glance, is actually much more. The Petrinovichs set out on their journey with an honorable mission: to raise awareness and spread the word about Unbound, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to people around the world living in poverty.

In 20 countries, Unbound provides the opportunity for people to become sponsors for children, young adults or elders. That sponsorship supplies families with the tools they need to become self-sufficient. By empowering others to succeed, Unbound lifts people out of poverty.

Ideally, the Petrinovichs would like to find a person at each baseball park who will sponsor a child. They themselves began sponsoring a young girl from Mexico several years ago, providing her with donations and two pen pals.

As natives of the Evergreen State, the couple generally represents the Seattle Mariners at each ballpark across the country. When the Mariners are not playing, this tends to spark conversation, providing the perfect gateway for the pair to inform others about Unbound and their admirable mission to get more people involved.

As their baseball journey reaches its final stages, the Petrinovichs have inspired 10 people to become sponsors for a child in need. The couple is lending a voice to the voiceless, hitting a major homerun in the eradication of poverty.

– Sarah Sheppard

Sources: Unbound, The News Tribune
Photo: The News Tribune

Roberto Clemente Sports Most Charitable Legend
He amassed 3,000 hits and four batting titles in his seventeen-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He was the NL MVP in 1966, and helped guide the Pirates to a World Series crown in 1971.  Add twelve consecutive Gold Glove Awards for defensive excellence in right field and Roberto Clemente’s resume as one of the greatest players in the history of Major League Baseball is impressive.  Clemente’s legacy, however, goes far beyond key hits and defensive web gems.

Roberto Clemente was MLB’s most beloved humanitarian.  Born in Puerto Rico in 1934, Clemente worked tirelessly to promote greater accessibility and equality for Latino Americans, both within baseball and outside of it.  Clemente was famous for hosting baseball clinics for underprivileged youth free of charge.  He also delivered significant financial aid to people in his native Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other countries in Latin America.

Clemente made a reported annual salary of $125,000, which amounts to less than $1 million in today’s terms.  Yet Clemente still made charity a focal point of his professional life.  Clemente once famously said, “There is nothing wrong with our homes, our country, that a little more care, a little more concern, a little more love, won’t cure.”  Clemente’s vision of humanitarianism is one that contemporary athletes should take to heart.

And many have.  Since 1971, MLB has given the Roberto Clemente Award to the player who exemplifies Clemente’s commitment to community involvement.  This year’s winner is St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran.  Beltran created the Carlos Beltran Foundation to support academic achievement for underprivileged youth.  This culminated in the opening of the Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico, which will house a state-of-the-art learning facility for young students and athletes.

A few months after reaching the exclusive 3,000 hit club, Roberto Clemente flew to Nicaragua.  The country was reeling after a devastating earthquake in 1972.  Clemente was traveling to Nicaragua to deliver relief and aid supplies, a further example of his devotion to humanitarianism.  His plane crashed en route to Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve in 1972.  Roberto Clemente died at the age of 38, fighting to help those in need.

Taylor Diamond

Sources: Pro Baseball Hall of Fame, Total Pro Sports, Smithsonian Institute, MLB

David Ortiz could take a shot at running for Massachusetts governor, and he would probably make the race a close one. Ortiz is the most popular baseball player in the New England area, and the most accomplished designated hitter (DH) in baseball history. Ortiz is known for his flair for the dramatic, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat with his mammoth home run power. However, Ortiz is not just another egotistic human with a knack for hitting baseballs. David Ortiz is a man driven by nature to help others less fortunate than him, in any way he possibly can. The David Ortiz Children’s Fund (DOCF) was founded to aid less fortunate children around the world to obtain the best supplies and circumstances they can.

The DOCF was founded in 2006 after Ortiz visited a local hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Ortiz was shocked by the resilience of the children who had just gone through heart surgery, and he vowed to help children throughout the world that could not have access to the facilities New England children could. Therefore, DOCF was founded to assist the other children worldwide.

Since its founding, DOCF has been making a difference through its partnership with two other charities, Heart Care Dominicana and World Pediatric Project. By joining forces with these programs that have similar goals, Ortiz is fulfilling his goal of benefiting children that would otherwise be faced to fend for problems on their own.

Heart Care Dominicana is a non-profit organization that provides cardiovascular care for families that cannot afford it in the Dominican Republic. Heart Care Dominicana has two main goals: providing the care needed and training personnel in communities to solve problems internally. The program began its first operation in 2006 and has been working hard to accomplish its goals. DOCF is one of the major financial backing forces behind the program, and with continued support the cardiovascular care program will continue to thrive.

World Pediatric Project (WPP) is focused on improving the quality of life and providing healthcare services to children in the Caribbean and Central America areas. WPP has four main goals: to send surgical and diagnostic teams to communities to provide care, to develop illness prevention programs, to provide transportation for children who need treatment in American facilities, and to build up the local healthcare workforce.

By aligning with these programs, DOCF is achieving its starting goals. Ortiz is helping the world’s children through the programs with which he has partnered, impacting lives in droves. The health programs have been successful for many years. With continued support from DOCF and other charities, WPP and Heart Care Dominicana can continue to change lives. Ortiz is living up to the vow he made in 2006, and he proves it every time a child receives healthcare that was previously unattainable.

– Zachary Wright

Sources: World Pediatric Project, Heart Care Dominicana
Photo: Boston Sports