Results tagged ‘ marlins park ’
After a look back at Ayudan Week and all it had to offer, all I can say is, WHAT A WEEK!
The past ten days or so have been extremely eventful for the Miami Marlins and the South Florida community — from the Coconut Grove Arts Festival on Sunday, to the action-packed Winter Warm-Up on Saturday, and everything in the middle.
There was one event above all, though, that really stood out to me. This event really impacted me and truly opened my eyes to how amazing and engaged this organization is to its surrounding communities.
The 2nd Annual Ayudan Baseball Classic was as good as advertised. There was a little bit of everything; we had an honorary bench coach in Dee Gordon, Marlins World Series Head Coach Jack McKeon in attendance, web gems galore and even a home run.
The reason this special event resonated with me is because I, myself, am a product of the greater Miami area and grew up playing little league baseball. Watching those kids out there play in such a beautiful ballpark is something I, as a kid, could only dream of doing.
The Marlins organization has given these kids a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and sitting there in the stands gave me an awesome perspective as to what the Marlins are about. Watching Carlos Reyes hit a 360-foot home run that disappeared into the visitors’ dugout, and fist pumping with Miami Marlins team President David Samson and President of Baseball Operations Mike Hill, was surreal. Dee Gordon was calling for players to chest bump with him.
To sum things up, I think everyone enjoyed themselves this past week. I just feel like my experience really touched me because it hit home.
Hats off to the players of the RBI Baseball Classic for an amazing game. That experience will be something you can tell your grandchildren about someday.
Imagine playing a game of baseball: the smell of a freshly manicured field, the solid clay ground beneath you, the slender handle of a lightweight bat, the buzzing of the crowd.
Now imagine playing baseball without sight.
Impossible, some might say, but those people have never witnessed beep ball.
Beep ball is baseball for the visually impaired. Here’s how it works: There are six innings in a game, three outs per inning, four strikes and one pass ball per batter. The only sighted members of the game are the pitcher and catcher. The bases (2) are four foot padded cylinders with speakers that give off a loud, continuous buzzing sound when activated. There is no second base, only a first and third base. The ball also has a speaker that gives off a continuous beeping sound, hence the name “Beep Ball.” The batter listens for the beeping ball and swings. One of the two bases will be activated. Players must depend on their keen sense of hearing when deciding which base to run to.
The Miami Marlins held their third annual beep ball game at Marlins Park this past Monday during Marlins Ayudan Week, a week in which the Marlins front office staff and players commit to community involvement. 20 students from S.L.A.M. Academy and 20 members from Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, whose ages ranged from seven to 21, joined together to form four teams: the Beep Ball Badgers, the Fire Kings, the Super Sluggers and the Nine Colts. All players were required to wear blindfolds.
Two separate games were held simultaneously, one on the main field and one in left field. The games were an hour long, including a five minute intermission for a field change, allowing all players the opportunity to play on the main diamond at Marlins Park. Marlins Ayudan team C’Mon Blue, captained by Marlins president Mr. David Samson, participated as base activators, score keepers, catchers and motivators. C’Mon Blue also had help from a few professional baseball players including Mike Dunn, Jarred Cosart, Aaron Crow, and Mat Latos.
The Nine Colts beat the Super Sluggers by just one point (10 – 9) and the Fire Kings scored two more runs than the Beep Ball Badgers (5 – 3). It was a great experience for everyone. It was competitive in the most lighthearted way. “I did it! I can’t believe I did it! I hit the ball and scored,” an elated 7-year-old named Kayden shouted.
This kind of excitement and happiness is what Marlins Ayudan lives for!
Today was an amazing….
Today was a special day at Marlins Park -and that’s putting it lightly. The moments that made up today impacted everyone involved.
Today was so great because Marlins Foundation Charity Partner, Special Olympics of Florida, brought its skills clinic to Marlins Park. Athletes of all ages – eight to adult – showcased their skills on the field at Marlins Park. That’s right – they showcased their skills. As Marlins Ayudan volunteers that spent the morning working with the athletes, we were told early on that today we would learn a lot more about the athletes’ abilities than their disabilities. That’s exactly what happened.
The standout moment of the day for me began when I went over to speak to some 4th graders from Kensington Park Elementary. They were all so eager to talk to me about Marlins Park, about their day, about their favorite sports, and so on, and so forth. One boy in particular, Joshua, had a lot of questions about Marlins Park. I spoke with him for a long time until it was time to start the skills assessment. I told him I’d see him when see got to my station.
A few hours later when I finally welcomed Kensington Park Elementary to the [Major League!] dugout to get ready for base running, Joshua immediately stated with fire,
“Coach! I’ve been looking for you all day! I have so much more to talk to you about”.
His statement blew me away. First of all, I was honored. I felt like after knowing him for a mere half hour that I was one of his role models, like a mentor or older sibling, whose time was all that mattered to him. Second of all, he really did have so much more to ask about his surroundings. Joshua was in a never-ending pursuit of knowledge.
In addition to Joshua’s blossoming curiosity a few of the inspiring abilities I noticed in the athletes today were:
Chivalry amongst peers,
Rockin dance moves,
Knack for following directions,
Tolerance for others’ beliefs…
Oh, and of course:
Coming to work this morning I’m not sure the Marlins front office knew what to expect for a day working with Special Olympics athletes, but the early advice we received most definitely proved true – We would learn more about their abilities than their disabilities.
Every baseball season there are two holidays that I look forward to celebrating with my colleagues and our fans. The first, Opening Day at Marlins Park. You can literally feel the energy surging through you in anticipation for an awesome season to come. The second, Jackie Robinson Day. Every year Jackie Robinson’s legacy is memorialized by Major League Baseball on April 15, which marks the anniversary of when the Hall of Famer broke baseball’s color barrier with his first major league game with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. During this day we are reminded that baseball is more than just a game, it serves as a common bond for all people, regardless of race. One man, through his perseverance, heart and values trail-blazed history for many other minority players to enjoy the game of baseball. Reliving history through video clips, photos and presentations on this MLB holiday makes you reflect on how far we have come and how you can make a difference just by standing up for what is right.
The Marlins saluted Jackie Robinson’s heroism and legacy with Marlins President of Baseball Operations, Michael Hill, Marlins Senior Vice President and Legal Council, Derek Jackson, and Marlins Vice President and Executive Director of the Marlins Foundation, Alfredo Mesa, presenting a check for $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The check was accepted by Christina Gordon, current Jackie Robinson Scholar attending the University of Miami, Carol Guerrero, Jackie Robinson Scholar Alumni, and Curtis Tearte, Jackie Robinson Foundation Committee Member. During a special pre-game presentation the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project boys presented their favorite Jackie Robinson core value: COURAGE, DETERMINATION, TEAMWORK, PERSISTENCE, INTEGRITY, CITIZENSHIP, JUSTICE, COMMITMENT AND EXCELLENCE. These words were values that Jackie Robinson lived by. These values not only made him a champion, but also a hero to millions of people. 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project boys represents these values everyday through their program in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. During the inning breaks on Marlins Vision, the Marlins shared interviews with Marlins players and a few RBI kids, highlighting what it means to wear 42 and how Jackie Robinson’s journey still has an impact on their lives today.
Jackie Robinson Day will forever be my second favorite “holiday.” Not just for the pomp and circumstance that goes along with the day, but the look on our fans’ faces as they cheer on our Fish that carry on the legacy of a hero by wearing number 42 with pride.
We’re gonna need a bigger table…specifically a table with 1,160 seats, because that’s how many people gathered together and gave thanks last Friday at Marlins Park.
Friday marked the fourth annual Marlins Ayudan Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution. 1,000 guests from throughout the community came to receive free turkeys and Thanksgiving fixings compliments of the Marlins Foundation, Farm Share, Feeding South Florida, Pepsi and Goya. Guests expressed many thanks for the wonderful meals they were able to receive. Our guests had even more to be thankful for than simply the food – they were thankful for friends and neighbors, such as Abriendo Puertas, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Curley’s House, and Sagrada Familia, who were able to provide them with the opportunity to come as well as support all throughout the year. We all know that good company makes for great holidays, and that was definitely the case for the Marlins Thanksgiving guests as they got to get ready for their holiday side by side with Marlins players Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Tom Koehler, and Ed Lucas!
Many Miami families had a great evening on Friday, but we haven’t quite finished making our way around the giant table yet to hear everyone’s “thanks”. With thousands of pounds of food to be distributed, Marlins Ayudan front-office volunteers played a crucial role in this Thanksgiving celebration. Over 150 staff gathered around in the west plaza to unload, set-up, distribute, and prepare. Through all this work there was no shortage of thanks. One employee was thankful to be able to experience the teamwork it took to be able to provide 1,000 families with meals. Another employee gave thanks for the opportunity to grow her relationship with one of our Vice Presidents while working side-by-side. Colleagues were even thankful for the food that was provided!
It’s safe to say that although all the people involved in the Friday’s distribution won’t be able to gather around one 1,160-seat table, there were enough “thanks” and enough “giving” to make the day a successful Thanksgiving celebration!