Former Major League Reliever Dan Smith Records a “Save” For the Kids of Joplin, Missouri
During his career, former Major League pitcher Dan Smith usually received the calls in the bullpen. But this week, Mr. Smith made the call to get some relief help.
Mr. Smith lives near Joplin, Mo., which was recently devastated by tornadoes. He wanted to help in some way. He knew that the Little League program in South Joplin had “lost everything” and Mr. Smith felt getting the kids in that community back on the field as soon as possible would be an important part of the rebuilding process.
So he called Pitch In For Baseball (PIFB), a non-profit organization based outside of Philadelphia that provides new and gently used equipment to kids and communities in need. Little League Baseball and Softball has been a partner with PIFB since 2005.
“I was amazed at how quickly Pitch In For Baseball could respond to this request,” Mr. Smith, who pitched for the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox between 1999 and 2003, said. “The equipment they are sending will be a huge lift to kids in the Joplin community.”
According to South Joplin Little League President, Ryan Wood, about 250 kids, 75 percent of the league’s players, lost all of their personal gear. “These kids need gloves, cleats you name it,” Mr. Wood said. “The fact that Pitch In For Baseball will be able to get us new gloves to replace those that were lost is awesome! We need to get these kids back on the field and not staring at devastation.”
Pitch In For Baseball has been assisting children and communities in need since 2005, many of those efforts in the form of disaster relief. Pitch In For Baseball has provided much needed baseball and softball equipment following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. Pitch In for Baseball also provided equipment to flood-stricken Nashville in the Spring of 2010 and has provided assistance to a number of baseball and softball programs in Mississippi following this spring’s severe weather.
“We first spoke to Ryan Wood in Joplin on Wednesday and by Friday afternoon the needed equipment was on its way,” David Rhode, PIFB Executive Director, said. “We have never turned around a major shipment of equipment this quickly. We are glad Dan Smith contacted us about the need and we are delighted that the equipment we are sending will help these kids regain a sense of normalcy during this time of destruction. We are thrilled to be able to help kids play ball.”
Those wanting to support Pitch In For Baseball’s efforts can make a donation of equipment or financial support by going to www.pitchinforbaseball.org. “We need to replenish the equipment we are sending so that we can continue to say ‘yes’ when the need arises,” Rhode said.
About Pitch In For Baseball
Since 2005, Pitch In For Baseball has delivered over 140,000 pieces of equipment and uniforms impacting over 105,000 children in need. Donations have assisted more than 250 communities in the United States and more than 70 countries worldwide. Pitch In For Baseball (www.pitchinforbaseball.org) is a 501c3 charity dedicated to improving the physical, social and emotional needs of children through the games of baseball and softball.