29 June 2004

Dominican Flood Relief Effort...

THIS is a great picture:

Nice of the big man to dress up! Seriously, this is a great cause and a great story. Pedro, being a God in his home country, has seriously stepped up to promote relief for the devastating floods in the Dominican Republic. All told they've raised $200,000, and from John Henry, $100,000. Here's the entire story from redsox.com:

Donations pour in for flood victims

Henry personally kicks in $100,000 for cause
By Alan Ginsberg / MLB.com

BOSTON -- Before heading to New York to face the Yankees, two Red Sox players used their off day -- as they have much of their time for the past month -- to benefit victims of floods that swept through the island of Hispaniola, which is comprised of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, late last month.
Along with Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and President/CEO Larry Lucchino, Dominican-born Red Sox Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz held a press conference on the field at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon to announce a donation of more than $200,000 that will aid the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Werner said the initiative began when Ortiz talked to the organization in the wake of the flooding, which killed an estimated 2,000 people and left thousands more homeless. In response, the Red Sox proposed a collaboration between fans and the club.

After making their own donations, Martinez, Ortiz and their countryman Manny Ramirez set up a cardboard box in the Boston clubhouse to facilitate contributions from their teammates.

"We're witness to inspired leadership," Henry said. "Our players felt a profound pain from the tragedy that has befallen their native land, and they took the lead in raising and donating funds."

Meanwhile, Red Sox fans donated a total of $31,095.75 at collections sites at Fenway Park and through the mail between May 31 and June 14.

That triggered what executive vice president/public affairs Charles Steinberg called a "cascade of giving."

The Red Sox Foundation agreed to match the fans' donation, and the players committed at least to do the same.

Bank of America then made a contribution to bring the total over $100,000, and on Monday, Henry topped everything off by announcing that he would match the money raised with his own personal donation of $100,000.

"What started as an idea that was a response to a tragedy ... has turned into a $200,000 donation," Steinberg said.

Red Sox corporate partner Majestic also will donate 1,200 T-shirts and 1,000 pairs of shorts.

Monday, Martinez thanked the fans for being supportive of the Red Sox not only as players, but also as human beings.

Martinez then told Henry, "We don't have words to describe how much we appreciate what you've done for us and for the Dominican Republic. Believe me, it will never be forgotten. Every one of you that has anything to see with making this possible will always remain in a lot of people's hearts, people that you will probably never see, but people that really care and people that really will appreciate it for the rest of their lives."

"When you talk about being supported by people in many difficult situations, Boston has been great," Martinez added afterward. "I have never seen warmer friends than I've seen in Boston and they're people that care and they know how much they can do and they do it. They're the best fans and it shows in our support. Every time we travel, they're there. They're very, very loyal and very nice people. I got offered by a lot of people here to actually be helped and whatever they could do, they're more than willing to do, and I don't have words to actually thank everyone that has offered help and has talked to me about helping in different ways.

"It's not only now that we're struggling. It's been for a long time. For the seven years I've been here, I've had offers from people to actually help me and they have helped me," Martinez said.

Alan Ginsberg is a contributing writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A terrific story, and a very positive way for people to be donating money.

Now, if I can focus this on baseball a bit... could this be a great wind in the direction of a Petey signing? Following recent comments in Colorado to Tom Roche of UPN 38 proclaiming his love and interest in remaining in Boston, in which he said HE would do everything he could to stay in Boston, and essentially said that if he WASN'T in Boston next season, it would be because Boston ownership decided they'd chosen to move on. Whether that's all or only partially posturing, I don't know. But it's all very encouraging, especially when considering that Pedro has expressed anger over Henry's perceived "lying" about trying to sign him. Pedro seems to be deeply appreciative of the man, and one can only hope this leads to an extension.

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