The Rundown: Celebrating Baseball’s Heroes, Darvish Averse to Risks Associated with Reboot, Actor John Krasinski Does Something Really Cool

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

“I know you hear me now, we are a different kind. We can do anything. We can be heroes.” – David Bowie

For the better part of a month or so , I’ve been posting positive and uplifting stories in a section I’ve titled Find Your Inner Hero. Though I enjoy sharing those stories and hope that you enjoy them as well, I’ve done that for me just as much as all of you. We know people are dying and tragic stories litter our daily news feeds to the point that many of us have become triggered by all the noise, myself included. Today I thought I’d share a few notes about baseball players who have stepped up during the pandemic.

Back in 2012, his first season with the Cubs, Anthony Rizzo started his Family Foundation to help pediatric cancer patients and their families. During the COVID-19 crisis, the foundation has shifted some of its focus to benefit those helping to battle the pandemic, serving more than 4,500 meals to healthcare workers while donating PPE, including 24,000 masks.

Javier Báez and Twins starter José Berríos provided meals to more than 500 families in Puerto Rico on Saturday, according to El Nuevo Día. The two collaborated with Taquiza, a restaurant in Puerto Rico. Báez said helping children motivated him to take action. Schools in Puerto Rico are closed due to COVID-19 and are unable to provide meals to children.

More than 50 Major League Baseball players representing all 30 teams raised nearly $1 million to provide over four million meals to support childhood hunger prevention through The Home Plate Project, a partnership between MLB, country music superstar Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation, and Big League Impact, a program led by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and Texas Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson.

Thomas Tull, producer of the film 42, announced a donation of $4.2 million worth of protective medical equipment in the name of and in honor of Jackie Robinson.

Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper and his wife, Kayla, are giving $500,000 to Direct Relief and Three Square in his hometown of Las Vegas and charity foundation Philabundance in Philadelphia.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and his wife, Heather, have launched the Pros For Heroes COVID-19 Relief Fund as a part of their efforts to give back to the frontline health professionals fighting the novel coronavirus. The Zimmermans started the effort with a $100,000 donation.

Astros staterr Justin Verlander has been donating his paychecks to charities helping with coronavirus relief efforts during baseball’s shutdown.

Mets starter Steven Matz is having his foundation donate $32,000 to New York City first responders and hospitals -. Matz started the foundation Tru32 in 2016 and has been giving to first responders for nearly five years.

The Rangers have announced “Concert in Your Car,” a series of drive-in concerts hosted in the parking lot of their stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation will receive a portion of the proceeds to support the team’s pandemic relief efforts

Yankees legend and current Marlins’ owner Derek Jeter stopped taking a salary to help keep the Miami baseball staff employed over the past two months. Sadly, the organization finally had to furlough close to 40% of its employees this week.

Certainly many other MLB players have gone above and beyond to help with relief efforts and if I mentioned each of them this would be a never-ending article. Good news is infectious, and I hope each of you has the means to help out, too.

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

Because weddings are made for weekends, I waited four days to post this wonderful video from the Some Good News series on YouTube hosted by actor John Krasinski. I challenge you to make it through this entire video, which includes cameos by cast members of the show The Office and singer Zac Brown, without getting a little misty.

Apropos of Nothing

I don’t know which brand of smart TV you have in your home, but I have a Samsung and I was gifted with the Bob Ross Channel this morning in my Smart Hub. Oh what a time to be alive.

Odds & Sods

If you haven’t had a chance to catch all of the episodes of The Rant, which is hosted by the Cubs Insider trio of Jon Strong, Evan Altman, and Danny Rockett, at least catch the episode where the guys interviewed David Kaplan of Comcast Sports Chicago. It is, by far, their best episode.

MLB News & Notes

Rob Manfred expressed confidence yesterday that the league will strike a deal with the players union to restart the 2020 season.

MLB said it will turn its PED testing center into a coronavirus lab and also stated that the league will not sequester players or shut the season down following  positive tests.

Dodgers starter Alex Wood called out ex-Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira for his diatribe the other day. Teixeira implored players to accept the revenue sharing proposal. Wood defended the players and called the comment “stupid.”

Former A’s, Astros, and Mets manager Art Howe is currently suffering from COVID-19 and is in ICU at a Houston-area hospital. Howe, 73, said he first felt symptoms on May 3 and learned he was positive two days after being tested.

Red Sox beat writer Chris Cotillo has raised nearly $60,000 for COVID-19 relief through online auctions of autographed memorabilia. You can follow Chris on Twitter if you’d like to participate.

A truncated first-year player draft could leave colleges overflowing with amateur baseball talent and somewhat overcrowded.

Mike Piazza, Ryne Sandberg, John Smoltz, and Jim Thome are among the best players who have been drafted after the fifth round. Those four are all Hall of Famers.

Extra Innings

Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio went streaking on this day in 1941.

They Said It

  • “These are tough times and the real heroes in our country right now are not athletes. They’re all the front line workers, the people who are going out every day putting their health at risk for us and to take care of people who are sick, so it’s been really moving to see how the country has rallied around all the frontline workers, the police officers, the firefighters. The list goes on and on.” – Anthony Rizzo
  • “I think MLB players are pretty much the same situation as the fighting dogs. Those who want to make money, without risk, are noisy from the outside. It is the players and the staff on the field who actually fight at the expense of themselves and their families. It’s not like a clubhouse or an airplane.” – Yu Darvish
  • “If you know anything about our beloved Bob, then you know how much he would have loved being a friend in so many more homes now, painting his happy landscapes for all the world to enjoy.” – Joan Kowalski, president of Bob Ross, Inc.

Friday Walk Up Song

Lost in Place by Gram Rabbit – It will be interesting to see how negotiations play out between the league and the player’s union, especially with a growing number of players who are averse to the health risks associated with reopening the season.

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