Ryan Vogelsong’s Faith

My teammate Ryan Vogelsong testified at Giants Fellowship Day last month.

Check it out. His honesty is so uplifting. He reminds us that even when we feel lost, God is preparing a path for us.

The Bible, man. It tells us what we need to know.

See you Thursday.

Team Not For Sale

I have a huge heart for people suffering in slavery all over the world, and am so blessed to be a part of the fight to end human trafficking.  Along with fellow baseball players all over the majors, I work with the Not For Sale Campaign to end slavery once and for all.

This Saturday June 7, the San Francisco Giants are holding a Not For Sale Night at AT&T Park.  It’s the fifth year in a row that they’ve done this!  Thank you, Giants!  Me and my buddies Matt Cain and Brandon Belt will donate our salaries to the Not For Sale Campaign as we host the New York Mets.  Come and watch us play, or if you’re in the Bay Area, check out the Not For Sale Campaign’s website and explore the creative and entrepreneurial methods they use to end slavery in our lifetime.  See what you can do!  Working to end slavery is hugely rewarding and connects you with some awesome people.

photo credit: Not For Sale

photo credit: Not For Sale

Here’s a link to a short video that will help you understand why my wife Larisa and I are so dedicated to this work.  I hope you’ve seen the new baseball movie “Million Dollar Arm” too!

Affeldts Treat Group to a Private Screening of Million Dollar Arm

See you Thursday.

Hooked on Abolition

Last time, I told you about how God brought me to San Francisco. I believe He brought me to San Francisco for a reason. Almost as soon as I arrived, I learned to fight human trafficking.

In a previous post, I told you how I got into food initiatives, and how satisfying it is to give the hungry something to eat. It was so fulfilling that I started researching poverty and hunger closely. And then everywhere I looked, I saw a dreadful pattern. Continue reading

The Funny Thing About San Francisco

Here’s the funny thing about San Francisco. For the first seven years of my professional career, I said, “No chance I’m ever signing with San Francisco. I will not go there.” People would ask me, “Why not?” And I would tell them, “Because I don’t agree morally with that city, and I don’t agree politically with that city.”

Anytime my team went to San Francisco to play, either the A’s or the Giants depending on the league I was in, we’d always stay in San Francisco. I would stay in my hotel room the entire time. I would only come out to go to the ballpark. When it was time to get on a train, I wouldn’t even leave the hotel and wait on the sidewalk. Instead, I’d stay inside and look out the doors. As soon as the BART came, I’d run to it, get on, and go to the field. I didn’t want anything to do with that city. Continue reading

Inviting Myself In, Part 1

It seems like every time I go to the World Series, God talks to me in different ways. I have great experiences in the postseason with my King.

Two years ago when we won the World Series, He took me through an awesome journey of forgiveness. I had issues with not forgiving, issues I wasn’t even aware of until He showed them to me. During the postseason, He took me through it, showing me how I needed to forgive. He transformed my prayer life.

Well this year was a little different for me. Continue reading

Calling All Fans – Be Free to Play

Why do I play baseball? I do it so that others can be free. I play so they can play.

If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you’re familiar with my story. You’ve read about my growing awareness. You’ve learned about how powerful we are when we work together. And you know why I joined Not For Sale’s Free2Play campaign.

Kids are being sold into slavery, and child slaves don’t get to dream. Someone’s telling them, “Don’t bother to dream, because you’re going to do what I tell you to do. It’s going to wreck your life. But I don’t care. You are not a human being to me. You are a business to me. You are a toy to me. You’re an object to my desire. You’re an object to my greed.”

Athletes are great mentors for the issue of human trafficking. You see, we’ve been able to accomplish our dreams, but only because we were free to dream in the first place. Slavery kills a child’s ability to dream. That is why it’s so important for former child slaves to be free to play. It’s through play that they can start dreaming again. Free2Play’s goal is to make that happen.

In 2010, CNN contacted Dave Batstone at Not For Sale to discuss human trafficking. He told them about Free2Play, and our plan to get more athletes involved in the fight against human trafficking. CNN wanted to know who was involved, and Dave said, “We have Jeremy from the Giants.” And they said, “Oh, a World Series champion is helping with the fight against human trafficking!” And he said, “Yes, and we have Matt Holliday of the Cardinals, and Jeremy’s trying to get some other guys.” And so CNN came to spring training and talked to me about why I’m a Free2Play athlete.

That went up at CNN International. It went global! People around the world could see that ball players were involved in fighting human trafficking. This was such a honor for me. When you’re able to reach millions of people with one interview, then you’re making a big dent. It’s not the local news!

We also discussed the groundwork for a Free2Play team. The idea we had was to create a kind of fantasy team. We would get players to join Free2Play, and each player would make his pledge. For example, this season I pledged $250.00 per strikeout and $250.00 per save or hold, and Matt Holliday pledged $500.00 per homer.

We’ve got a lot of players involved now. Check out the Free2Play app on Facebook. You can pick the players you like and make matching pledges. For example, fans can pick me and Brandon Belt, and pledge 50 cents for a strikeout and a dollar for a homer. Or you can pick against me! You can pledge 50 cents for every hit I give up, or a dollar for every time I walk someone.

You can draft any player you want to your Not For Sale team. Every player is eligible. Draft your favorite players and then donate based on any accomplishments you choose. (I explain how to use the app here.) Draft the entire Giants or Tigers roster, and help victims of trafficking while rooting for your team in the World Series! It’s a fun way to raise funds to help with the fight against slavery.

Sometimes the mentality is, “Well, you’re a baseball player. You’ve got money. You’re on TV. You’re doing things most people can’t do. I know there’s a problem, but I’ll let you take care of it.” We don’t want people to think that way. Nothing can ever get done that way. We need everyone involved if we’re going to make this happen.

With this app, we can say to the fans, “We need you help us.” We can say, “We need your help. We can’t do this without you. Please help us in this fight.”

And then when fans check the stats and say, “Jeremy just struck out a guy,” they’ll know it means that together we gave $250.00, plus all our other pledges, to a campaign that’s going to help free children from slavery. Players and fans are connected. We’re all in the fight, and together we’ll make a difference.

When fans, and especially kids, see that there are ball players out there fighting for other people’s freedom, they’ll realize that we don’t play baseball just to make all this money and take care of our families. Obviously that is part of why we play, but they’ll see we have another reason too. We have a purpose behind every goal that we set for ourselves. Why do I play? I play so that others can be free to play.

See you Wednesday.