PHOENIX — Almost anyone can relate to watching an upsetting story on local TV news and feeling powerless to help. Derrick Hall isn't like most viewers, though. As the president of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he's in a position to do something. And he acts.
Hall was watching the local CBS station Monday night when it aired a segment on the Pinal Mountain Little League in Claypool, Ariz., which lost most of its collective possessions after a fire broke out in a storage building. A short in the wiring started it. Forty bats were melted. Eight batting tees were destroyed. Catcher's equipment, baseballs and softballs — all ruined. A portable pitcher's mound and a pitching machine were totaled. Even sprinkler heads and PVC pipes — vital for drainage and maintenance of the playing fields — were wrecked.
A Little League season for some 400 boys and girls was in jeopardy, until donations, including $5,000 from the D-backs, started coming in. A taped message of inspiration from Hall, too. From kpho.com:
Our team recorded Hall talking to the kids and then showed them the video while they were in class Tuesday at Bejarano Middle School.
"Don't hang your heads. Look at this as an opportunity now to purchase new equipment. Look at this as an opportunity to get the community involved and to turn this field around because we got many more years ahead for you to play and enjoy yourselves on those fields," said Hall.
So it's a little more than simply writing a check, even though that's obviously important, too. The D-backs say the team's charitable foundation donates at least $500,000 a year just to support youth baseball, softball and other athletic programs. And they have an emergency fund for unhappy instances such as the one with Pinal Mountain in Claypool, which is about 90 minutes east of Chase Field. The money comes programs like 50/50 raffles. The D-backs are probably like many other Major League Baseball teams that give. There's just something special about Hall.
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I've heard other stories about Hall doing other awesome things in the community — the D-backs organization has been endorsed by the United Nations because of him — but this one has to be near the top. It makes sense that Phoenix and MLB rallied for him when it became known that Hall had prostate cancer, and surgery, in 2011. He seems like an invaluable member of the community.
As for the troubled Little League, more donations have been coming in to help them recover. If you'd like to help, league representative Wes Sukosky left his number at the end of this story.
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