My goal is to add perspective to subjects other than the regular headlines.
Contact Stephanie at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Inspiration in Baseball

Recently I came across an incredible story on the internet. I was searching random baseball phrases on google to see if any interesting websites showed up. I was also name searching for possible ideas for a foundation I am working on starting.

My first search: Turn Two... Derek Jeter's foundation pops up.

My second search: Safe at Home... Joe Torre's foundation links in.

My third search: Double Play... I was in shock at what I saw.

The headline, "Double Play Foundation" was the tag line on the google search, and I clicked to open it up. What I saw next, gave me goosebumps. This website was created by a 14 year old freshman living in New York, in only it's 10th month of existence... yet had more inspiration and generosity behind it's words than I'd seen from anyone.

In the winter of 2008, Ben visited the Dominican Republic. His interest in the country was already deep within his heart because of players like Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, and Pedro Martinez - the players he grew up idolizing and who brought baseball into the core of his life. Most importantly though, it was Albert Pujols, who's strong connection with the Dominican Republic showed in his charity work. Ben did a report on Pujols when he was in 7th grade and it was then that he learned how active the slugger is in helping his native land and it inspired Ben to do what he could to help.


Ben Ulene started the Double Play Foundation in December of 2009 when he was going through his closet and noticed how many old baseball jerseys he had accrued over his adolescence and that he no longer had use for. "I thought that there had to be some way that these uniforms could be used again, as each one had been used for only one 3-month season and then put away, " Ben told me. It was at that moment that he decided to pass-on his once prized possessions to others who may not be as fortunate as himself. He named his cause, The Double Play Foundation (DPF) and told me it was because "just like in a double play where one batted ball is used to get two outs, one baseball uniform is being used twice, doing double duty."

Looking back at a recent blog post of mine about the importance of jerseys, you have to recognize how great something like this could be to someone who has never owned a jersey before. I'm sure you can think back to jersey distribution day on your former ball teams as a child. Do you remember the excitement you had as everyone clamored for the right number? Can you still feel the fabric, as you once traced the number with your fingers, forever engraining it in your memory? And what about the first time you put it on? Did you feel like the Major Leaguers you idolized on TV? Did the confidence sweep over your body, as you stood a little taller, felt a little more powerful? Did that uniform bind you a member of the team as it united each of you by bearing the same logo embroidered on each of your chests, yet let you stand apart by your own numerical value? Do you remember it? I can't ever forget it.

Unfortunately, there are many kids in the world who don't have that memory. But with Ben's help, a lot more can. Here is a 14 year old freshman in high school who is making a difference in the lives of others by doing something so simple. Yet so many of us forget the value in such simplicity. We may hold on to our old jerseys, or we may even lose them overtime, forgetting their own honored significance.

Here we have a chance to pay it forward, to add a spark to the imagination of kids in other worlds unfamiliar to our own. Here we can make a difference by reusing the fabric we have tossed aside. There are many things of inspiration in our world today that we forget about in passing, but people like Ben can remind us of those in their actions. Ben saw an opportunity to instill hope in others lives, and he took it.


(Pictures from 2 of Ben's Jersey Collection Drives)

The Baseball Life
-S


Ben is currently not set up to receive individual jerseys, but if you would like to donate a team of 10+ jerseys to the cause, you may email Ben Ulene at doubleplayfoundation@gmail.com. You can visit his website at DoublePlayFoundation.org.

Friday, October 8, 2010

ALDS Trip!

10/8/10 5:35pm: Hey all! I am currently at the airport getting ready to fly to Dallas, TX for game 3 and (hopefully not) game 4! This will be my first trip to the Rangers ballpark and I praying they win the series! Stay tuned and I will continue to update throughout my trip! -S

10/8/10 5:55pm: Just boarded my flight from Chicago to Dallas and the first thing I see walking onto the plane is a rangers hat proudly displayed in the overhead compartment! So I ask the flight attendant if its a passengers, and she replies in a strong Texas accent, "no way! That hat is mine!" We got to talking and it turns out our seats for tomorrow Rangers game are right by each other! Just made friend #1 on this trip! Look for two blondes now instead of one! Time to depart, stay tuned! P.S. big thanks to @rynoag for sending me the claw and antler t-shirt in the mail this week for the series! -S

10/8/10 11:45pm: got my tour around the University of Dallas tonight, saw my friends baseball team get auctioned off lol, now we are watching SF throw away the lead... nooooo! -S

10/9/10 12:20pm: We just left campus at university of Dallas and are headed on our way to the Rangers game! Going extra early to beat the terrible Dallas traffic -can you believe they have NO public transportation?! - anyways, heading there early, gonna check out some pre-game fan festivities they have and get in early to watch batting practice. In debating of I should keep score or not at the game.... I may be too excited to keep track but Ive documented every game this year so far and having a post season game in the book. We will see. I'll make it a game time decision. I did decide on wearing my grey AL West Champs tee, but bringing the red Hamilton tee with in case there's a red-out. alright, time to head to the ballpark! Let's go Rangers! -S

10/10/10 12:34am: Well my magical droid decided to die during the national anthem so I could not update during the game but I will do that now! We got to the Rangers ballpark at 1:00pm and they let us in right away, even though it was still 3 hours until game time. Amazing! This park is by far the most fan friendly when it comes to the staff and privileges to the fans. We had standing room only tickets today, but honestly SRO at this park are awesome! We had tons of choices to find a spot during the game. But before the game we decided to sit behind the dish and watch batting practice and Hazel Mae do her interviews. We were about 4 rows back, which was the first row above the tunnel next to the rangers dugout. Well, national anthem strikes and guess who walks out of the tunnel. Former president George Bush with wife, as well as Nolan Ryan. Surreal moment... we were literally just feet away from the group. Well we had been in those seats for over an hour but we got to stay for all the good pre game stuff before the real owners claimed them. Pictures will be posted as soon as I get home to a computer! I met so many new people. Ranger fans are so much fun and so incredibly nice. I kept score during the game, and was happy I did. I feel way more in touch with the game when I'm tracking every batter and pitch thrown. I did get sad though at a few different moments during the game... I kept thinking, "When is it our turn? When will I be at Wrigley enjoying postseason baseball?" After we got our season ticket letter from Ricketts the other day, I can't help but think that I will be waiting while. I feel blessed though that I have been able to attend as many postseason games as I have over the past couple years. I saw my red sox win it all for the first time in 86 years, in person at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2004 and I am certain ill be able to someday celebrate that feat at Wrigley. Until then, I have 29 other teams to follow and maybe be a part of their postseason run... I'm still debating where to go next weekend. Now that the twins are out of it, I have a flight to transfer. Strong possibility if the rangers win tomorrow I think ill be back here in Dallas! Until the morning, good night and sweet dreams. Saying a special prayer for the rangers... quick hands, swift feet, good timing, efficient pitching will be in that prayer. -S

10/10/10 8:30am: We are currently in the car on the way to game 4. Today matchup is Wade Davis vs Big-Game Tommy Hunter. We have SRO again but since we scowered the ball park yesterday, we already know the prime spots. It's suppose to be up in the 90's again today (thank you baby Jesus!) so we will most likely grab our spot along the red wall in left field. I decided to do this game right today. I have on my red Josh Hamilton t-shirt, I'm 2 coffees deep with a red bull in my purse, and I am ready to get rowdy with the home crowd! Todays the day..... its time! P.S. full phone battery as of right now. -S

10/10/10 10:14am: Just met, spoke with, and got a picture with MLB Networks very own Hazel Mae!!! Oh and bought an Elvis Andrus t-shirt and ALDS commemorative pin. Shaping up to be a good day! Currently sitting behind the Rays Dugout! -S

10/10/10 11:24am: Spotted: David Price throwing baseball into the third deck for a group of Rays fans with flags! Now being extra fan friendly and signing for a huge group of people. -S

10/12/10: Pictures uploaded! Check them out below. Had the greatest time in Texas, despite the results of the game, but the people, stadium and team was an incredible experience. The Ballpark at Arlington gets my vote for most fan friendly ballpark in the Majors!

ALDS, Game 2, Rangers vs Rays

Street Sign at the Ballpark at Arlington, TX

ALDS Rangers vs Rays, 10-9-2010


Me with two of the biggest Rangers fans ever!

ALDS Logo on the 1st base foul territory

MLB Network's BallPark Cam pre-game

View from the right field bleachers, pre-game

My friend, Sean, and I before game 3, 10-9-10
Welcome to Rangers Ballpark!

Rays Lineup, pre-game ceremony 10-9-10
Andrus being announced on the Rangers side!

Vlad making his way down the line!

Michael Young and Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero

Rangers Starters, starting at the left...

The Texas Rangers <3

 View from our Standing Room Only section, not bad!

Towards the end of game 3, 10-9-2010.


ALDS Game 4, Rangers vs Rays

Rangers Tailgates were all over, with huge... HUGE signs!

Inside the stadium, game 4 time!

We got there so early that the sun was still rising!

Georgeous stadium!

I even got to meet one of my idols, Hazel Mae from MLB Network!

David Price signed autographs and talked to fans for over 25minutes, he was so nice!


View from our seats at the second game!

Outside the ballpark, I love this place!

Can't wait to be back here for the World Series!

Thanks for reading and keeping up with my on here and twitter throughout my trip! I had a great time, met some new friends, and visited another beautiful ballpark. I love this game, I really don't think I can say it enough. The opportunities it presents - to players and fans - are unlike any others in life. Although I have only been a Ranger fan for the past two years, the entire stadium took me in as one of their own. To everyone I met that has been keeping up on my blog, thank you and get ready to see me soon!

Happy LCS!
The Baseball Life,
-S

Friday, October 1, 2010

Updated Postseason Schedule - 10/3/10 7:20pm CST



American League Divisional Series
ALE: Rays (96-66)   ALW: Rangers (90-72)
ALC: Twins (94-68)    WC: Yankees (95-67)
ALDS Home Field Advantage: Twins and Rays
Wednesday, October 6th
ALDS Game 1: NYY @ MIN
ALDS Game 1: TEX @ RAYS

Thursday, October 7th
ALDS Game 2: NYY @ MIN
ALDS Game 2: TEX @ RAYS

Saturday, October 9th
ALDS Game 3: MIN @ NYY
ALDS Game 3: RAYS @ TEX

Sunday, October 10th - if needed
ALDS Game 4*: MIN @ NYY
ALDS Game 4*: RAYS @ TEX

Tuesday, October 12th- if needed
ALDS Game 5*: NYY @ MIN
ALDS Game 5*: TEX @ RAYS

 
National League Divisional Series
  NLE: Phillies (97-65)    NLW: Giants (92-70)

NLC: Reds (91-71)      WC: Braves (91-71)
NLDS Home Field Advantage: Phillies and Giants

Wednesday, October 6th
NLDS Game 1: CIN @ PHI
 
Thursday, October 7th
NLDS Game 1: ATL @ SF

Friday, October 8th
NLDS Game 2: CIN @ PHI
NLDS Game 2: ATL @ SF

Sunday, October 10th
NLDS Game 3: PHI @ CIN
NLDS Game 3: SF @ ATL

Monday, October 11th - if needed
NLDS Game 4*: PHI @ CIN
NLDS Game 4*: SF @ ATL

Wednesday, October 13th - if needed
NLDS Game 5*: CIN @ PHI
NLDS Game 5*: ATL @ SF

End of the Year

It's been a great season, but it's not over yet! Chicago was not blessed with postseason baseball in 2010, so I've decided to spend the last weekend of the regular season at US Cellular Field for all 3 White Sox vs Indians games. If you are at any of the games, stop by and say hi!

As always, there is much more to come! I went on a postseason binge this weekend and bought a few flights and playoff game tickets. My trips so far include Arlington, TX and for the ALDS and then Minnesota! Both will be first time at the stadiums for myself, so I will have postseason blogs as well as new stadium tours to share. Video, pictures, experiences... expect them all!

Last night was a perfect Chicago fall night at the Cell, for final game of the White Sox vs Red Sox series... but the electricty did not agree! In what was already a long game, we were postponed due to a power outage! Crazy, right?! Even crazier though, the same thing happened at Wrigley a few months prior!

The Blackout at the Cell... and not the 163rd game kind!

Reflecting back on this season, I can honestly say, I've had one of the greatest summers to date! I stepped outside my comfort level more than a few times - including attending many games solo! (Read about that expereince here) I've also been recruited to a few more charities, including the Mid-America Horse Rescue where Margo Sutter (the creator of the foundation) there took me on a VIP experience at Busch Stadium - we sat behind home plate with the scouts, ate in the famous Cardinal Club, and brainstormed possible baseball involvement! But most importantly, I've met new people who have changed my life... and to all of those people, I thank you for your hospitality, kindness, and love that we all share the common passion of Baseball!

Two of the parting gifts I received from the Mid-America Horse Rescue!

Every season is a surprise, heck... every game can be a surprise! Any night you decide to head out to the ballpark, you never know what could happen. Those stories we read about in books, on websites, and in the boxscores everyday could happen at the next game you attend. You could see a no hitter, a player hit for the cycle, or even catch a home run! Trust me... it can all happen!

Click here to see me and my friends catch Gordon Beckhams 3-run home run on August 24th, 2010 against the Orioles!


It's been a great season... and I can't wait for the postseason!
Share your favorite 2010 regular season games with me at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com and I will feature them in an upcoming blog and link to your blog/pictures/twitter, etc!

To keep up with me everyday, follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/TurnTwo34!

Peace, love, and baseball!
The baseball life,
-S