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MLB pitching in for devastated Haiti

MLB pitching in for devastated Haiti

Major League Baseball, its clubs, its players and its fans are participating in rapid relief efforts for the devastated nation of Haiti, which remains in a state of chaos and humanitarian need following the Jan. 12 earthquake that took an estimated 150,000 lives and left more than a million seeking shelter.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Jan. 14 that MLB has pledged an immediate donation of $1 million to support the cause. It is being coordinated through UNICEF, which is aiding victims by providing necessary supplies to assist with recovery efforts, including clean water and sanitation, medical supplies and temporary shelter.

The contribution, an extension of MLB's "Going Beyond" efforts, is being made on behalf of Major League Baseball, its 30 clubs, MLB Network and MLB.com. MLB is encouraging concerned citizens to visit the UNICEF Web site and make a donation as well. A $10 donation can also be made by text message, by sending the word UNICEF to 20222. Clubs and players have taken additional measures on their own, as reported below in this constantly updated story.

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"Major League Baseball believes it is crucial to help the Haitian community in this time of need," Selig said. "It is difficult for us to imagine the catastrophic toll this earthquake has taken on the people of Haiti, a land not far from the United States. We hope this contribution will help aid in the relief efforts and we encourage our fans to make a donation as well. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all who have been affected by this unimaginable natural disaster."

"This generous donation from Major League Baseball will help save the lives of Haitian children," said Ann M. Veneman, executive director of UNICEF. "The people of Haiti urgently need food, fresh water, shelter and medical supplies, and the first days are crucial."

"This contribution could not come at a more critical moment for the children of Haiti. MLB's generosity will enable UNICEF to immediately purchase the supplies we need to prevent a second wave of death and suffering, caused by disease and lack of sanitation," said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "We were powerless to prevent Tuesday's occurrence. However, we do have the power to help our neighbors in Haiti shape their future. We are extremely grateful to MLB for believing in the future of Haiti's children."

The Caribbean nation -- which shares an island with the baseball pipeline that is the Dominican Republic -- is still digging out from the rubble and facing a long road of reconstruction. The United Nations estimated Monday that more than one million Haitians require shelter, and there is still urgent need for medical supplies and treatment of injured.

"This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share," President Barack Obama said. "With just a few hundred miles of ocean between us, and a long history that binds us together, Haitians are neighbors of the Americas and here at home. So we have to be there for them in their hour of need.

"I want to thank the many Americans who have already contributed to this effort, and I want to encourage more to help."

The Atlanta Braves have partnered with the American Red Cross and MedShare to aid both organizations' Haiti Relief Efforts throughout the 2010 Braves Country Caravan.

"The absolute devastation we have seen over the past two weeks in Haiti is beyond anything we can imagine," said Braves team president John Schuerholz. "As time goes by, the people of Haiti will continue to need our support, and we will do everything that we can to assist Major League Baseball in their efforts to provide aid, relief and support to the cause."

Braves players Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Peter Moylan and David Ross, coach Chino Cadahia, team president John Schuerholz, general manager Frank Wren, Braves alumni Brian Jordan and Brad Clontz, and volunteers from the Braves front office will sort and pack supplies to be sent to Haiti at MedShare in Decatur on Monday, the first day of metro Atlanta Caravan stops.

Additionally, American Red Cross monetary donation centers will be set up at all Academy Sports + Outdoors locations throughout the Braves Caravan.

The Rangers announced that donations for relief efforts will be collected during the team's FanFest event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Rangers celebrities will be serving popcorn and soft drinks throughout the day in the Bullpen Grill area of the Diamond Club for a minimum donation of $3 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Major League Baseball/UNICEF Haiti Relief Efforts. Product for the fund-raising initiative is being donated by Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Sportservice.

The Cubs had a booth at their recent 25th annual Cubs Convention to collect donations, with every dollar matched by both Cubs Charities and the Ricketts family, the team's new owners. Now the team is involved in another Haiti fundraiser, this one from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. CT at the Rink at Wrigley. The event is open to the public and is sponsored by 5th District Congressman Mike Quigley, whose campaign fund will match all donations. A donation of $20 for individuals and $40 for families is suggested for admission and skate rental, and proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross for relief efforts. Parking is free.

"The images and stories coming from Haiti have shaken us all to the core," Rep. Quigley said. "This event will be a great way to help the victims of this horrific tragedy while spending time together at the Rink at Wrigley. I'm grateful for the support of our community partners -- the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Park District -- for making this important benefit possible. I'd also like to extend my thoughts and prayers to those who have family and friends in Haiti who are suffering unthinkable devastation, my thanks to many people from around the world who are helping on the ground, and to anyone who can join me in assisting their efforts."

"We are proud to have this chance to help the people of Haiti as part of the Rink at Wrigley," said Mike Lufrano, Cubs Vice President of Community Affairs. More than 8,000 people have already enjoyed family-friendly skating at the Rink at Wrigley this winter.

The Giants and the Giants Community Fund raised $19,650 by offering three amazing experiences in an online auction, with all proceeds to be coordinated through UNICEF. Bidding is closed. The items included: (1) 10 pitches off a Giants starting pitcher, part of a package that includes four Field Club seats, a pregame field visit, a signed bat and more; (2) private meeting with two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, plus Field Club tickets, watch batting practice from the Giants dugout, photos with Lincecum and his autographed ball; (3) private hitting instruction with Pablo Sandoval and hitting coach Hensley Muelens, plus tickets, pregame meal and more.

"The Giants community is no stranger to the physical and emotional devastation caused by earthquakes," Giants president Larry Baer said, referring to the earthquake that struck the Bay Area during the 1989 World Series. "Our heartfelt sympathy and concern go out to people of Haiti and all those affected by the recent tragedy. We pledge to do all we can to assist the people of Haiti recover and rebuild."

Tigers stars Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera made contributions on Friday. Ordonez donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to support those affected, while Cabrera donated $90,000 to Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc., which provides medical equipment, medicine and expertise to third world nations in the wake of natural disasters. The Tigers added a $10,000 donation to Project Medishare, making the total donation $100,000.

"The people in Haiti need our help," Ordonez said. "I'm asking Tigers fans across the country to join me in supporting Haiti after this tragedy."

On the heels of Ordonez and Cabrera's generosity, the Tigers provided an opportunity for their fans to support the relief effort as well. The American Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Chapter was at the gates of Comerica Park during TigerFest on Saturday to collect donations. The Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, was planning to match up to $10,000 collected by the Red Cross. The Tigers said they would donate a portion of their proceeds received from the fan photo exhibit at TigerFest.

The Padres and the Padres Foundation announced they have made a $25,000 cash donation to UNICEF. The club also announced that its Dominican Republic Baseball Park's staff is collecting bottled water, canned food and medicine, sending it to Haiti through one of its trusted partners.

"Our thoughts and prayers here at the San Diego Padres go out to the people of Haiti and all who were affected by the recent earthquake," Padres Vice Chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad said. "A catastrophe of this scale reminds us of how fortunate we are and the Padres and Major League Baseball are committed to giving back."

From now through Feb. 26, the Indians invite fans to bid on auction items that will send all proceeds to the relief efforts. Included: Ceremonial First Pitch Experience plus four Field Box tickets and BP access; Meet the Manager Experience plus four Field Box tickets and BP access; autographed baseball collection including Grady Sizemore signature; and a signed bat and ball by new first-base coach Sandy Alomar.

The MLB Players Association joined with the unions of the NFL, NBA and NHL to announce the creation of the "One Team 4 Haiti" campaign to support the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund's focus on the country's earthquake relief and recovery efforts.

The campaign will launch with a text message fundraising effort supporting the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund. In the U.S., supporters can text the word "TEAM" to 20222 to donate $10. Canadian supporters can text the word "TEAM" to 20222 (starting on 1/23/10) to donate $5. The amount will be charged to the donor's cell phone bill. All proceeds go directly to relief efforts.

"We are looking forward to joining forces with our peers in the NFLPA, NBPA and NHLPA to help raise awareness and funds for Haiti, and we encourage others to support the country's recovery efforts any way they can," stated MLBPA Association Representative Mark Loretta, who announced his retirement from baseball on Monday and will take a position in the Padres' front office. "As we have all seen, the damage has been devastating and the need for aid will be present for years to come. Please support our One Team 4 Haiti campaign and help us do our part to restore hope in the hearts and minds of all Haitians."

The Orioles planned to use last weekend's FanFest event to raise funds for relief efforts. More than 60 current, former and future Orioles were on hand for FanFest, and the team hoped to raise money for the Haitian community through fan donations, silent auctions and a memorabilia sale.

Fans also were able to donate to the relief effort via various collection buckets located throughout the Baltimore Convention Center, and the Orioles announced they would match all donations. A portion of FanFest admission fees were to be used to benefit Haiti, along with proceeds from the memorabilia sale. Fans may also donate to the cause by sending checks made payable to the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation, with "Haiti Relief" in the memo line, and mail to Baltimore Orioles Haiti Relief, 333 West Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

The Pirates announced that are collecting money to benefit the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund at each stop during the Pirates Winter Caravan that began on Sunday and goes through Thursday. Fans will also be able to donate at PirateFest, taking place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Jan. 29-31. All donations will be given to the American Red Cross for its efforts to assist the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti with their essential needs such as food, clothing, water, shelter and basic medical supplies.

"Pirates fans have shown in the past they can be counted on when people are in need, and the need of the people in Haiti today is enormous," said Pirates president Frank Coonelly. "We are very proud to partner with the Red Cross to help the people of Haiti and we would like to thank our fans in advance for any donation they may be able to contribute during the Winter Caravan or at PirateFest."

The Rays announced they would contribute proceeds from the Tampa Bay Rays 2010 Fan Fest, presented by MetroPCS, to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund and Save the Children. In addition, the Rays and the Rays Baseball Foundation said they would make donations totaling more than $50,000 to the two relief funds, including $15,000 from first baseman Carlos Peña, who was visiting his family in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, approximately 80 miles from Haiti.

"The tragedy in Haiti has impacted us all," Rays president Matt Silverman said. "As an organization we wanted to help, and we encourage our fans to join in the global effort as well. Together we can make a difference."

The Moyer Foundation -- founded by Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen -- announced it will match up to $50,000 in donations for assisting Haiti through their "Helping Hearts Campaign," which was created to support emergency relief efforts specifically targeting needy children in the earthquake-devastated country. In keeping with its mission of helping children in distress, the Foundation has created a partnership with Free the Children in order to "help fund emergency relief and medical supplies to get immediate, effective, primary health care and support to the hardest-hit communities where so many children are at risk," a news release in the organization's Web site stated. One hundred percent of donations to the "Helping Hearts Campaign" go directly to the Haiti relief efforts led by Free the Children. Those who want to make a contribution are encouraged to visit MoyerFoundation.org.

The A's are asking their fans to donate money to the A's Community Fund for Haitian relief. The club announced it will also match all individual fans' donations up to $20,000. Contributions may be made on the A's donation page, or can be mailed to the Oakland A's Community Fund Haitian Relief, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621. Fans should write "Haitian Relief" in the memo section of their personal checks sent to the team.

"Like all Americans, we are deeply moved by the tragic images we are seeing in the media in recent days from Haiti," said A's president Michael Crowley. "If we can play a part, no matter how small, to help these suffering people who are in dire need, we are compelled to do so. Every penny that is donated to the A's Community Fund for this relief effort will be delivered to these two agencies as soon as possible. We thank all our fans for participating. It's time for all of us to step up to the plate."

The White Sox are focusing all White Sox Charities efforts on raising funds for Haiti relief. The organization announced it is accepting donations online at www.whitesox.com/donate. In addition, during last weekend's SoxFest, fans had the opportunity to make cash or credit card donations in person at a special booth dedicated to Haiti relief.

The White Sox also launched a special online auction at http://whitesox.auction.mlb.com with all proceeds benefiting the relief efforts. The team will then match the total amount raised through the White Sox Charities efforts and make a contribution to UNICEF in support of the relief efforts.

Reigning American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke and Royals teammate David DeJesus teamed up with Heart to Heart International to aid victims. In addition, DeJesus pledged $2,500 to Heart to Heart International and Royals Charities has matched that donation, which will supply 500 Heart to Heart Care Kits. DeJesus and Greinke collected donations and items for Heart to Heart Care Kits in Independence, Mo.

The Angels participated in a fundraising drive at their ballpark. NBC4 and Telemundo Los Angeles sponsored "Hope For Haiti," three "drive-through" fundraising events which were to raise money for the relief efforts of the American Red Cross and Operation USA. Angel Stadium was host to the "Hope for Haiti" all day on Jan. 17. Fans made donations there in the form of cash and checks, with checks made payable to the American Red Cross/Haiti Relief or Operation USA/Haiti Relief.

The Yankees announced that they are donating $500,000 in support of rescue and relief efforts.

"The catastrophic event has devastated an entire nation and will have far-reaching effects in the worldwide Haitian community," the Yankees said in a statement. "The Yankees hope their donation will inspire people throughout the United States to do everything they can to aid the people of Haiti in their time of need."

Indeed, individual citizens quickly rallied through the immediacy of such social media as Twitter, with viral tweets spreading links to donation forms. That online community includes many athletes, among them Dominican slugger David Ortiz of the Red Sox. He said he has ordered a collection of canned goods, water and other goods.

"I am saddened for my Haitian neighbors who have suffered through this natural disaster," Ortiz said. "Millions have lost family members, their homes and the little they had. I encourage fans, not only from Boston but from all over the world, to donate to this cause, as I have, and help the victims of this terrible tragedy. We should come together to support those who have endured this devastation and remember to never take our lives and good health for granted."

I nfielder Miguel Tejada, another Dominican native, prepared a container van with emergency supplies that would be sent to Haiti. "What happened in Haiti is a tragedy, something terrible, a sister country with which we share a common island," Tejada said.

Tejada said that the Haitian Consulate in Miami would be in charge of channeling the aid, and he encouraged others to coordinate any aid efforts through the consulate. The 2002 American League MVP wants all of his MLB colleagues, particularly Dominicans, to step up and help the victims.

"Everyone who can help should," he said. "I heard that among the victims there are a lot of Dominicans who work in organizations and companies established in Haiti."

The Reds invited fans who wanted to take advantage of free admission to Cincinnati's National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- to bring clothing or personal-care items for Haitian children. The Freedom Center was coordinating the collection of these items with the Reds and logistics partners 1-800-GOT-JUNK? -- which had a truck outside the center where people could drop off donated items -- and Matthew 25 Ministries, which was arranging shipment to Haiti.

Click here to see how you can help.

The Blue Jays and their ownership are pitching in, as Rogers Communications Inc. announced a mobile giving campaign to allow customers to donate funds. Rogers Wireless and Fido customers can help by donating to Partners In Health: Haiti and other Haitian relief organizations. Customers of both mobile companies can text "HELP" to 1291 to donate $5 CDN to the cause. Rogers has teamed with ONEXONE to ensure that all donations go to the Partners in Health initiative for Haiti.

Beyond the donations through texts, Rogers Communications and the Rogers family will donate $250,000 in funds and goods to the Partners in Health organization for the recovery process in Haiti.

"We at Rogers extend our deepest sympathies to everyone affected by the earthquake in Haiti," said Edward Rogers, Deputy Chairman, Rogers Communications. "In support of Partners in Health and other relief organizations in Haiti, we encourage our customers to aid relief efforts via our text-to-donate campaign."

Blue Jays reliever Dirk Hayhurst, who uses the handle @TheGarfoose on the social networking site Twitter, announced he has created a personal fundraising page through the MercyCorps organization -- and was giving away a Roy Halladay-signed ball as an enticement.

Click here to help.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Material from wire services was used in this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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