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.