Item One: As many of you know, we held our first sponsored “event” on January 24 in Charleston. It was a clinic by Board Member Neil Walker including substantial inter-action with the youngsters and even their parents. The event was an enormous success to all attendees and was covered by local TV for parts of three consecutive evening news. If you haven’t already seen it, I recommend the postings on our website of some of the media coverage.
Item Two: Some activities presently under serious consideration for 2015:
a. On the morning of August 6, 2015 we will sponsor the Neil Walker “Joy of the Game” Baseball Camp. Matt Bianco of Bianco Baseball School has volunteered (together with his staff) to be in charge of the Camp’s planning, operations, and logistics. We have not yet secured the location, but when that has been done, we will announce it to the public via our website and elsewhere. The camp will sell out, and we are targeting an imposed limit of about 180 campers.
b. I would like very much for us to sponsor a mini-tournament this summer (four teams round-robin; six game total over a two-day weekend) that will be like no other tournament of which I am aware in Western Pa. (If it works we could consider replicating in Charleston). Named the Clint Seymour “Joy of the Game” Tournament, it will including only teams not otherwise having summer tournament opportunities. For example, the “host” community would have one team entry (but players must be those not chosen for the community’s travel team); and three other teams could be identified from sources such as the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Sisters the Pittsburgh Police Athletic League; etc. We would reach out to Sean Casey’s “Miracle League” organization to discuss identifying one or two physically challenged players from his organization to join each team (with care being given to safety and appropriateness issues). Coaches and players would understand that the goals are all about Respect and Effort and the “Joy of the Game.” Every player who demonstrates respect during the tournament and who gives his/her best effort would be awarded a trophy. Every player and team would commit to sharing gloves, batting helmets, and catchers’ equipment as and if necessary. We would have special ground rules to assure a successful experience…every player will reach base at least once during each game; no more than nine batters per inning; special assistance to struggling pitchers etc. At the conclusion, we would have a brief ceremony where each player would receive (presumably) a trophy. Age group is an open question.
c. On the weekend of September 11, 2014, we will be involved (along with Wounded Warriors) with a very large adult softball/youth baseball weekend tournament in Charleston and Summerville, South Carolina. This event was a success last year in raising funds for an identified Wounded Warrior. This year the event expects to add a youth baseball tournament (and double the revenue generation); and the event’s proceeds will benefit both another identified Wounded Warrior and our Fund. I have promised to provide volunteers necessary for the effort, so if anyone knows of young adults in the Charleston area who can help this worthy cause, be in touch. Clint has a few very loyal college friends in Charleston, and they will be on board. The organizer and sponsor of the event is our friend Tim Gansrow at Pro Performance Athletics in Mt. Pleasant.
d. In cooperation with the Pittsburgh Pirates, we are planning something between three and five games during the school recess where deserving youth organizations (probably identified by the Pirates as organization with whom they have a positive record of experiences) who would be treated to tickets (purchased by our Fund) to a Pirate game; receive T-Shirts; be allowed entry into the stadium to watch batting practice; and be greeted (as a group) by Neil Walker. The groups would be called “Neil and Clint’s Kids” (or something similar that includes identification of both Neil and Clint) and would be identified on the Jumbotron and/or the Pirate broadcast.
e. The Pirates have told us that the Pittsburgh Police Athletic league (which in recent years has diminished to only a youth boxing program) is considering revitalizing its youth baseball program for inner-city youth. We may be able to help them with used gloves or a grant toward uniforms or equipment.
Item Three: Ball field progress. We are in discussions involving a substantial renovation to a regulation-sized baseball field in Western Pennsylvania (with naming rights) that would offer tremendous potential for that community and for our mission. At this time, it is too preliminary and too sensitive to reveal any more information, but further information will be made public if and when appropriate.
Item Four: Although not specifically a Fund-affiliated project, my book “Untouchable: Reflections on Twenty-Seven Unforgettable years with Clint” will be published and available to the public probably about April 1. You will be receiving more information at that time. It also will be published on our website.
Don Seymour, President and Treasurer. Clint Seymour Play Ball Fund.
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