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Saturday, Jun 29 2013 11:02 PM

Michael McCarthy: A chance to spread baseball around the world

By The Bakersfield Californian

MANCHESTER, N.H.

About a month ago we were in Lynchburg, Va., playing a doubleheader against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

I wasn't pitching that day so I sat in the stands charting the game. Between doubleheaders, I stayed in the stands and struck up a conversation with John Tumminia, a scout for the Chicago White Sox.

I had never met John, but Evan Lepler (Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Salem Red Sox) recommended I talk with him about his "trip to Kenya."

As I sat down and began talking with John, it was apparent he has a strong passion for the game, but even more so, he has a passion for life. He has an energy and intensity that motivates those around him to rise to a higher level.

I asked him about his "trip to Kenya" that Evan had mentioned. I was curious what it was about and when they were going.

John described his love for the game and his desire to leave the game better than he found it. He wants to use baseball as a means to improve the lives of people around the world. His has committed countless hours to doing so and has changed thousands of lives in the process.

John and his group of instructors visited Monte Plata in the Dominican Republic (2011) and The Native American Reservation at Pine Ridge in South Dakota (2012) over the last three years. This year ... Kenya! John told me "There has never been a baseball player from Africa ... maybe in the future there will be."

John is taking seven coaches, coordinators, scouts and baseball players to Kenya this year to deliver and instruct 500 children on how to play the game of baseball. This includes providing baseballs, bats, hats, gloves and tees. Not to mention each child will have their photo taken to be made into their own player card.

After talking with John, I knew I wanted to be involved in whatever way I could.

Game 2 of the doubleheader was about to start so I told him I would like to be involved in fundraising and future trips.

John has invited me to attend this year's trip to Kenya at the end of October. I am really excited to be a part of such a positive and philanthropic group of people helping children around the world.

Right now, John, myself and many others are fundraising for the cost of shipping the equipment, flights, food and housing associated with the trip.

We are in need of some help to make the trip possible.

We have partnered with Bread and Water for Africa® to help reduce the cost of shipping to $3,500. The cost of travel for all participants is about $12,000.

If you are willing to assist us in spreading the game of baseball around the world and changing the lives of the children involved, please email me at: mmccarthybaseball@gmail.com. Thank you in advance for your help.

McCarthy is a former CSUB pitcher who now plays for the Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. His column runs Sundays throughout the baseball season. He can be reached at mccarthybaseball@gmail.com.

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