The nominees for the 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award were recently announced and one name that caught my attention was Minnesota Twins slugger Nelson Cruz. The award is basically an acknowledgment of the athlete that gives back. Cruz, known as “Boomstick,” had been quietly looking out for those in need back in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, in the northwestern part of the Dominican Republic.
For the critics who bash these foreign athletes for making millions of dollars in the United States and then spending it in their backyards, let me remind you of the line, “Charity begins at home.” I’m not going to write about Nelson Cruz, the baseball player, I’m going to let you know about Nelson Cruz, the man.
Muhammad Ali was more than a professional boxer, he was the ultimate humanitarian. Ali was known worldwide, and the mention of his name brought smiles to everyone. Following Ali’s path Cruz saw the plight that his country has had to struggle with, and he has taken it upon himself to make things better. Over the years he has donated an ambulance to help with the transport of the ridiculous one-hour trip to the “local” hospital. He has donated a fire truck after his buddy’s house burned to the ground. Because of a supply shortage, the local volunteer firemen were also given protective gear.
The police precinct, which looked like a crack house, has a new respectful looking building because of Cruz. He has done this through the platform of being a Major League Player. It was U.S. President John F. Kennedy who uttered the famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” Cruz has taken that quote by the horns and has done plenty for his country.
Cruz has also taken his cause to “Healing Venezuela,” where 2000 newborns are receiving nourishment in their first year on earth. There are other contributions that this 39-year-old leader of the Minnesota Twins has made, I’m only highlighting a few. The politicians, who were voted into office for the cause, need to follow Nellie’s lead.
Cruz has also put together a team of current and retired players, who contribute to the awareness and needs of their fellow countrymen. Cruz has also been helping out as much as he could in the States, where he makes his living. He’s done it quietly in Texas, Seattle, Baltimore, Minnesota and New York without fanfare. With Nellie it comes from the heart.
The winner will be announced on June 21, during the annual ESPYs presentations. Other nominees are Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers, brothers Devin and Jason McCourty, New England Patriots and Titus O’Neill of the WWE.