Recently, I had the pleasure of helping out at a baseball clinic for kids, at the Frozen Ropes complex in Chester, New York. There were scouts from the Cincinnati Reds, Phillies, Yankees, and White Sox, who all volunteered to work with these kids. Their proud parents watched intensely, as these gifted young teenagers showed off their skills to the scouts.
Each of them was outfitted in the latest athletic gear.
When I looked at the equipment used that day, I was amazed at how far we have come, in the development of the tools used to play baseball. Most impressive was the catcher’s equipment, that will match any players uniform and give the ultimate protection, with incredible flexibility. The gloves they used were equally amazing.
When asked, most of these kids said they have maybe three gloves and couldn’t remember how many they have had in their lifetime.
The Frozen Ropes organization and its founder, Tony Abbatine, generously donated all of the proceeds from this clinic, to help fund the Baseball Miracles Foundation Baseballmiracles.org . The foundation, was founded by long time Chicago White Sox major league scout, John Tumminia. John will travel with a group of volunteers, who are involved in baseball, to places all around the world, places like Africa, Latin America, Europe and also poor communities in this country.
Bringing gloves, bats, balls and catchers equipment to kids in the poorest places on earth they show them how to catch, throw, hit , run etc.
Most of these children in other countries have never seen a baseball, glove or bat and I am told that when they put a glove on their smiles will light up the evening sky. John’s team of volunteers bring these children a few days of excitement and joy. But most of all, they bring them hope, by showing these forgotten poor kids, how to play baseball.
Not with the hope of them becoming big leaguers, but showing them something new. Showing them that someone cares.
For some of these children in these far away lands, it could be the last time they will feel happiness in their short lives. It is a fact that some of them will die from disease, neglect or violence soon after they feel this act of love.
At this time of year, when we all talk of peace and giving, here in our blessed country of wealth and comfort, let us give thanks for people like John Tumminia and his elves, who bring some joy to those that are not as fortunate.