Monday, October 14, 2013

Cool story

You've seen this fellow Andrew McCutchen if you watched the recent National League playoffs.  He plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that, like our Orioles, lingered around the bottom of their league for many years.  Last year, the Orioles finally put things together and got to the playoffs, and this year, the Pirates did the same, giving fresh hope to baseball fans in two great cities.

McCutchen just turned 27, and yet somehow he has acquired wisdom and grace that usually go with being much older.  He grew up in Fort Meade, Florida and was playing high school baseball - and batting .591 - when he was in 8th grade.  He's a naturally great ballplayer.

One of the things I love about kids in America is how they learn to earn what they want.  Down in McCutchen's hometown, there is a group of 12-year-old girls who have a softball team, the Mulberry Lady Panthers.  Doing the traditional money-raising things, such as bake sales and car washes, the young ladies raised $2,000 for new uniforms and sent the money off to a company here in Maryland (to our shame).  They did not receive any uniforms for their money. I can't find a story that says what happened, but the bottom line was, the girls were out the money and had nothing to show for it.

In a move that flies up against the many who say that today's athletes are spoiled selfish oafs, Andrew McCutchen worked with the Nike people to get uniforms for the team on his dime.
Here's what he said:

I was once in that position as a kid who had to find ways financially to be able to play baseball. These girls worked hard to raise what they needed, and then it was swept out from under them. Hopefully they can recover their money from that company, but I contacted my rep at Nike and we decided we were going to take care of their uniforms. It's the right thing to do. These girls are supposed to be on a field having fun, not worrying about if they can play or not because they don't have uniforms.
This is where I grew up. My hometown is just down the road from them. One of these girls attended my clinic in Fort Meade last year. It's hard to hear of a story like this happening to anyone, and this one really hit home.

Sure, he's a big baseball star making millions, but he hasn't lost his place in the lines we all wait in, no matter how rich or poor.  I love the fact that the most down-and-out among us are entitled to one vote each, same as the fat cats. And I love it when someone who could just as easily say nothing speaks up.

No comments: