The Home Plate Project

The Arizona Diamondbacks organization continues to collect accolades both on and off the field as a premiere organization. From being named one of the top 100 companies to work for to becoming the first professional sports team to be awarded the United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award they just keep coming up on someone’s list.

One of the strong themes in all of these awards is the connection the Diamondbacks have with the community. While the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation is involved in a lot of activities giving back to the area; the caring attitude is not confined to just one group.

During the last home stand at Chase Field I happened to run across a rather unassuming table set up on the main concourse across from Guest Relations. On the table were what looked like baseball home plates that were painted or decorated. Sitting at the table was someone who was explaining to anyone who would stop what the plates meant.

I have to admit, I only took a cursory glance at the table and never even bothered to try and find out what it might be about. Instead I was rushing into or out of the stadium with almost tunnel vision as I tried to grasp what changes the Arizona Diamondbacks might make on the field and if they would be buyers or sellers at the approaching trade deadline. I was in my own little baseball universe and nothing was going to penetrate.

That all changed with a phone call I received. Cory Parsons from the Arizona Diamondbacks called to see how I was doing and wanted my opinion on something he was involved with. As anyone knows, I am more than happy to give my opinion on something in most cases whether I am asked or not.

Cory wanted me to look at a web site he was involved with through the D-Backs Give Back League. The Give Back League is a program instituted by the Arizona Diamondbacks where employees are allowed to contribute in some way to the community.

Cory and his team had developed something called the Home Plate Project. This is a group that is working to help several local charities. For 2012 the Home Plate Project will benefit the Ozanam Manor which attempts to provide transitional housing for people trying to get back on their feet.

Ozanam Manor specializes in helping people over the age of 50 who are homeless, are dealing with a handicap due to illness or disease, or other life events to provide them with a way to try and regain some of their pride. The organization is especially mindful of the struggles of U.S. Veterans who have fallen on hard times.

The Home Plate Project is attempting to raise money that can be donated to Ozanam Manor to help renovate their building, add much needed storage, or provide help with essentials such as providing toiletry items to people in need. They are raising money through an auction that began July 20th and will run through August 31st.

The project has taken several baseball home plates and had them decorated by artists, celebrities, and sports figures. Just looking through the plates you can quickly see the love and care that was put into decorating. It’s not just the artwork though it is the messages that these plates represent.

There are plates featuring Jerry Colangelo, Phil Mickelson, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame, Harlem Globetrotters, and a plate from Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall’s family to recognize him as a cancer survivor and perhaps my personal favorite a tribute to Roland Hemond entering the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For the past two days I have been pouring over the plates looking at each one gaining an appreciation for the artists and the people who have sacrificed their time to help those in need. I’ve picked several I would love and have bid on a couple (I’m not saying which ones).

I regret now not stopping at that small table during the last home stand and hearing about this great project for a worthy cause. Having Cory tell me about this opened my eyes that sometimes there are things outside of baseball that should be the focus of our time and energy.

Hopefully through this blog post and a few tweets more people will become aware of the Home Plate Project and the great things they are trying to accomplish.


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