Can Jose Canseco be a role model for younger players?

09/19/2016 9:14 PM - Devo

40/40, MVP, World Series Champion, Rookie of the Year. All things that make up the career of Jose Canseco. He is baseball's conscious. A player so entrenched in its history, yet he's rarely if ever acknowledged for what he did on the field.

Canseco is the Godfather of steroids, but he's not the only person to to look for an edge.. He's admitted to using performance enhancers which elevated his achievements to unearthly levels. His home runs were glorious and his image was pure Hollywood.

Once Canseco outed his fellow brethren (Mark McGwire) in his books Juiced and Vindicated, the baseball world has been turned upside down and players once guaranteed for immortality are now in their own exclusive abyss.

McGwire, Bash Brother #2 has stayed involved in the game as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. St. Louis Cardinals and is now bench coach for the San Diego Padres. Sammy Sosa ranks 8th on the all-time MLB home run list and barely received the minimum numbers of votes to stay active on the Hall of Fame ballot. And Rafael Palmeiro, who so vehemently denied using steroids and a member of the elite 500 home run 3,000 hit club, collected an insufficient number of votes to remain on the HOF ballot after four years of eligibility. Some of the greatest names the game's ever seen were once shoe-ins for immortality. They're now barely mentioned.

Since leaving the game, Canseco's had his hand in everything. He was a cast member in Season 5 of The Surreal Life, battled Via Sekahema for $30,000, fought child star Danny Bonaduce to a draw, lost to Choi Hong-man in a MMA fight in Japan and even appeared on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. There's no denying the guy has star power, but within the past few years, aside from Twitter fights with The Iron Shiek, he's been involved in Independent baseball as a spokesman and promoter. That's not to say he isn't making a couple bucks out of it, but these leagues, which crave attention, could do a lot worse.

I'm not saying Bash Brother #1 isn't using this as a platform to showcase himself, but every time he signs a contract, multiple news outlets pick up the story shining a light on leagues that are desperately looking for acceptance.

  • FOX Sports reports that suited up for the Fort Worth Cats. In the article he says he loves the game of baseball and will play it for as long as he can
  • In 2014, Canseco, along with David Segui, Mike Boddicker and Royals Hall of Fame second baseman, Frank White participate in a home run contest and softball game following an American Association game between the Kansas City T-Bones and St. Paul Saints
  • Served as Director of Baseball Operations for the Texas Winter League
  • ESPN informs the world he's signed with the now defunct North American Baseball League

In the midst of all this, what gets lost is the amount of time Canseco has actually played indy ball. In over eight years, he's appeared in 179 games hitting .246 with 29 home runs and 113 RBI. Even this year, at 51 years old, he played seven games for the PIttsburgh Diamonds of the startup Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. Impressive? To the naked eye, no. But to those looking for his purpose, he could be as a mentor to the younger players.

"We are excited to have Jose Canseco on the team, he will not only bring power and excitement to the ballpark, but will also be able to coach some of our players,” said Khurram Shah, majority owner of the Pittsburg Diamonds, “He has an incredible knowledge about hitting and playing the game at a high level.”

After all these years the Godfather is mainly an afterthought, yet he will always be the guy who crushed over 460 home runs. Steroids or not, you still have to hit the ball. That's what others see when they get up close and personal. Recently he hosted an home run derby with local players from Vallejo, American Canyon and Benicia. The contestants weren't intimidated, but excited.

“It feels good, this will inspire me to hit the ball better,” Emarrea Dickerson said, who graduated from Vallejo High this past year. “I think I’m going to do good.”

...

“Hopefully I can do pretty good for him,” Urias said. “Maybe if I hit a home run, it’ll bring me more confidence.”

He's not the larger than life figure who turned the sports world upside down, he's a guy who just wants to play the game and can pass on his knowledge to anyone who's willing to listen.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Eddie "Truck" Gordon battles adversity in and out of the cage

09/08/2016 11:41 PM - Devo

Eddie "Truck" Gordon has been a longtime MMA fighter who won The Ultimate Fighter 19 (TUF). He's seen the ups the downs that all athlete incurs, but consistently remains positive regardless of the situation. In addition to his fighting career, Gordon wants to make a change in the world. He is the Founder and CEO of the Eddie Truck Gordon Foundation, a not-for-profit with a mission to help uplift our community one child at a time. He recently launched the Shut Up & Fight! Drug Addiction campaign to raise awareness and support for the families and loved ones that have been affected.

The GM’s Perspective: We last spoke (September, 2014) a short time after you won TUF 19. Since, you incurred some tough losses and announced on your facebook page that you were released by the UFC. Was that as tough as people may think? You were very open and honest about it on social media. Does/can a life changing experience like that motivate you?

Eddie “Truck” Gordon: It really does motivate me. I look at everything as a positive. All this and the opportunity with the UFC opened up all these doors for me. I’m blessed and still so young in my fighting career. I learned on the biggest stage and feel like now I’m prepared for anything. I don’t look at anything as the glass as half empty, but half full. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I did have.

GMs: You are now 1-0 in Cage Fury Fighting Championships after defeating Chris Lozano on August 6. What did it feel like to get back in the winner's circle?

ETG: It feels good man. If I told you that going on a losing streak didn’t bother me, I’d be a liar. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I’m a very competitive person and also my toughest critic. To get back in the winner’s column feels great and I’m ready to build on it.

GMs: What do you have to do in the CFFC to get back up to your rightful spot in the UFC? Do you have a certain timeframe to work with?

ETG: Realistically, that win was huge and I’m probably one win away from a big opportunity. For me it has to be the right opportunity and something that makes sense to me and for my family. It may sound crazy, but the real die-hard fans will watch good fighters fight anywhere they’re located. Those fly by night fans don’t even know the difference between UFC, MMA, and/or Bellator. They watch if it’s on national TV. Realistically, my next fight has to make sense for me, my family, and has to be in New York. With the opportunities that have presented itself since MMA was legalized in New York, I’m gonna have some good shots coming up soon.

GMs: On your Twitter and facebook pages, you remain so up beat and positive about your current status in the fight game in addition to your expectations of others and society. Is that a mindset that can be taught or are some people just born with the gift to take negatives and turn them into a positive?

ETG: We have two choices in life; be sad or be happy. We have to look at the lessons we learn in life. For me, without the downs, you can’t enjoy the ups. Even when things are going great, you can’t let yourself get too high with the high’s or get too low with the low’s. You need to keep a positive attitude. Regardless of how bad things may seem, it can always be a lot worse.

GMs: It would be amazing too see how many people you do actually reach through social media. I’m sure its impossible to get actual numbers, but you must get a tonne of feedback from a wide variety of people?

ETG: Honestly, that’s probably one of the best gifts I’ve gotten from Mixed Martial Arts; is the chance to give back to others. They are some big names that reached out to me after my last fight and just some of the people I’ve been able to touch, the feedback speaks volumes. That’s what my real legacy will be. Athletes and their careers have such a short window, it really matters what you do during that time. More importantly, what can and will you do for others once the crowd stops cheering?

GMs: What’s was the most important thing you learned while living your dream in the UFC?

ETG: Always, always, always enjoy the moment. For me it came full circle. I was doing it for so long and losing a tonne of weight, we’re talking 50/60 pounds for my fights. 90 percent of my career was just miserable. I knew when fight week came I had to lose 25/30 pounds. It was a horrible feeling. Once I started hanging around other athletes at the highest level of the game, they started to reach out and help me. I got a nutritionist and changed my lifestyle. The last two fights I’ve had have been amazing. I’ve enjoyed fight week. All the hard work is done. All I needed to do was lose four or five pounds. I could physically enjoy the process. People don’t realize the weight cutting process. I think it’s harder than the actual fight. I truly enjoy life now; I enjoy fighting and everything about it. I’m fighting for all the right reasons.

GMs: Do people truly understand what you do and what it takes to make it to the upper echelon of MMA?

ETG: Nah, they really don’t understand. The real fans get it; the fair weather fans just see two guys or girls in a cage fighting. It’s rewarding in a sense that the people who get it, they appreciate it. We’re there to entertain people, but at the same time, this is how I make a living and put food on the table for my family.

You take people’s comments with a grain of salt and develop tough skin. After being on TUF for 13 weeks, you grow some tough skin once you get in the public eye. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t please everybody. If people truly got to know some of the fighters they would understand that we have many different layers to us.

GMs: You just started the Eddie Truck Gordon Foundation. Can you give the readers a glimpse of what your foundation is all about?

ETG: This is probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The Eddie Truck Gordon Foundation initially started to help underprivileged kids realize that if “I” can make it, they can make their dreams come true. Your past doesn’t really dictate the future.

Recently, I lost one of my close friends (my Godson’s father) to drug addiction. I told myself that I wanted to make a difference. People don’t realize that addiction is a disease. I don’t care if it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex. Most people take this stuff for granted or are embarrassed. Its still taboo. After doing a lot of research on the subject and trying to understand it a little more, it really opens your eyes to this epidemic. If we don’t talk about it, we’re never going to control it or even solve the problem. You don’t really hear about this stuff until it hits home.

I started this campaign to fight drug addiction and the feedback I’ve been getting from the community and some of my sponsors is overwhelming. Some people just reach out to me and say thank you for bringing light to this situation. Even if you beat the addiction, every morning is an ongoing battle. I feel like we have to reach the kids and we have to solve this thing.

GMs: If someone wanted to reach out to you or donate, what’s the best way to do that?

ETG: Right now we are in the process of fixing up the foundation page to accept donations, but we’ve got a Go Fund Me campaign. We’ve gotta really get a hold on this because way too many people are suffering. If I can save one or two kids and then they can touch someone’s life, that to me is everything.

It doesn’t matter how many fights I win or how much money I have in the bank, my legacy will be left by how many lives I can change.

GMs: You’re a good person and using what you have to help others. Not many people would do something like that. I commend you on your outreach and your positive outlook on life. You’re helping more people than you know.

ETG: Thank you so much Devon. Anytime I got news I’ll reach out to you and vice versa. I always like reaching out and giving back. You always give me platform to speak and it’s awesome. Thank you for everything you do.

To learn more about Truck Gordon, check out his facebook account, Twitter and of course the Foundation page and Go Fund Me Shut Up & Fight! Drug Addiction account.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Todd Stottlemyre: From World Series champion to business leader

08/29/2016 4:30 AM - Devo

Todd Stottlemyre was a first round pick in the 1985 MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and multiple World Series champion. Over his 14-year career he picked up 138 wins and will always be known as a key piece of Blue Jays history as a player who helped bring the team to prominence. Our discussion not only talks baseball, but the role his father, Mel Stottlemyre played in his development. His father tallied five World Series titles as a coach with the New York Yankees and New York Mets and was a pitcher for the Bronx Bombers from 1964 to 1974. Since the end of his MLB career in 2002, he's been on Wall Street as a trader and now runs his own company assisting people maximize their own potential becoming the best person/business person they can be.

The GM's Perspective: What was your mindset going into your first year of professional baseball as a first round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985?

Todd Stottlemyre: From the time I was growing up till the time the time I took the field and threw that first professional pitch, my desire (which became my obsession), was to follow in my father’s footsteps and play Major League Baseball.

I had the most incredible childhood and environment to grow up in and that fueled that dream. For me to get drafted by the Blue Jays was no question, a dream come true. Growing up with a famous father who pitched for the New York Yankees (five-time All-Star, three-time 20-game winner), I was walking in those shadows. Despite that, my father did an extraordinary job of instilling the mindset of being the best that you can be in to my brothers and me. Whether it was baseball or another career or career path, it was never to be like him, he wanted us to be the best that we could be. By doing that, and having his full support, it took away a lot of the pressure we put on ourselves.

I knew there were sacrifices and I knew what came with the profession I chose. Draft day was beyond exciting. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I remember Mr. Gillick calling me on the phone and saying the Blue Jays had just picked me in the first-round. What a extraordinary phone call that was for a young man to get.

GMs: Obviously there is a lot pressure and expectations as a top pick and having the history of your dad included, but your dad never put any undue pressure on you or your brothers. That shows what type of person he is and those characteristics had to have rubbed off on you and the players he coached over the years. Is there any doubt that this had to have helped shape you during your time in the minors and in to the pros?

TS: Absolutely. The last name came with that pressure and he knew that and he understood the perception of the media. We all knew they had a job to do, and it was a great story having Mel’s sons following in his footsteps. He was incredible, and first and foremost, he is my father. Second of all, he became our best friend and an incredible mentor. Not only for us in our baseball career, but an incredible mentor for us in our lives. My father certainly knew that the second we stepped on the diamond, especially in a professional setting, we were going to be under a microscope. Those are the challenges that surround the game. It’s not the game itself. We just had to get focused when it was our time to play. It was the game that was most important not someone’s opinion of how we were playing.

GMs: You’ve done a lot more than many who’ve played. You’re in a select group who has won multiple World Series titles. In saying that, I remember growing up and watching those Jays teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s. It was such a vibrant time for city and fans.

The odds on achieving a fraction of what you’ve accomplished during your career are astronomical. You’ve had a great background and immense support growing up but you still had to go out there and execute. What separates you from everyone else trying to get to that level?

TS: That’s a great question. I tell people that climbing the mountain to success in whatever industry you’re in is that once you reach the pinnacle, it’s tougher to stay there. It’s a slippery slope on the backside of that mountain and it’s easy to fall off of it. It’s an ongoing process to always get better and to always try and get an edge.

I’m grateful and thankful that for my years in Toronto I was in some way, through the perception of ownership and Mr. Gillick and Mr. Beeston, a fit on those clubs. I played with some extraordinary teammates, gifted athletes, and some of the best baseball players in the world. For me to be a part of those teams and a part of those World Championships was just an incredible honour for me.

If we came up short one year or the next year, the mindset was to get a little bit better. If we continue to get a little bit better and everybody pulls together as a team, we can certainly hit that goal we were all striving to achieve of World Series champion. I look around and there are some great great players that never get a chance to even play in a World Series let alone win one. Our family has been pretty greedy on the rings. My father has five World Championship rings and I have three. I’m still aggravated that he has more than me!! We were blessed as people and blessed as a family, but also in the right situation at the right time surrounded by superb people.

GMs: People can look at your career and say you’re one of the best. You’re not on these teams for years for no reason. You’ve been at the highest level in the world and you must have the drive and determination to get there and stay there. It’s not handed to you and I think that will resonate with a lot folks reading this.

TS: You nailed it. Not one day that I put that uniform on did I take it for granted. I honoured that uniform, I took it serious and honoured the profession. It was an absolute blessing to live out that childhood dream. My father had a saying that they’d have to tear that you uniform off you to get you to stop playing. That’s the mindset that we had. We were always going to try and be the first ones at the field and out work the competition.

I’ll tell you this, playing in Toronto was more than representing the city. For everybody on that team, we were so honoured and proud that we not only represented the city and the organization, but an entire country. We felt the pride of the Canadian people when we were winning those championships.

GMs: After baseball you became an extremely successful businessman. You’ve even worked on Wall Street and launched your own hedge fund. What keeps you going when most could rest on their laurels and enjoy retirement?

TS: My family was young and we were still having kids and I did everything in power during that first year out of baseball to take time for us. I look back on the first 37 years of my life, 35 of those were apart of Major League Baseball either as a part of my fathers career or my own. I did everything I could to take a year off, but six or seven months into retirement I had this anxiousness and restlessness.

I wanted to be impactful. I was fortunate that through the right connections I had people invited me to work at their firm, a Wall Street firm, and I got a chance to work at Merrill Lynch. During that time I built an asset management team and eventually left the company to start my own investment fund. I was even a part of a couple start-up companies.

Business has been a lot like baseball. It has its ups and downs and a lot of life lessons along the way. My mindset has me always trying to get better, how can I serve more people, how can I inspire more people, and how can I motivate more people. At the end of the day it’s a process. I was 37 when I retired, but I had so much energy. Even though we made tens of millions of dollars, it’s not about the money. It was always about the process and accomplishing things. I say that money will always make you more of what you were before the money. If you’re a bad person and you get a lot of money, you’ll become a worse person. If you’re a good person and you get a lot of money, you’ll probably become a better person. I hope I was the latter and became a better person.

Everything I’m doing today is an extension of my father. No matter where you’re at and what you’re circumstances are, you need to know what your vision is and what your focus is. If you give power and focus to your vision, you can lose sight of your circumstances when your circumstances are very difficult. I felt like that my whole life, like there was something to shoot for and something to strive for. I just never stopped.

GMs: You’re now running your website toddstottlemyre.com and focusing on helping organizations and their employees reaching an exceeding their own goals. What’s the strategy when a business seeks out your services?

TS: It’s been a long time coming. Over the last decade I’ve had people pushing me to move forward with this vision I have. Today. I’m in the middle of writing my first book and next month we’re launching a podcast. My father has inspired all this. My father has been battling cancer for the last 16 years. Even though he’s had difficult times, he continues day in day out with a vision for the future. His dreams are of something more, something better, and something bigger.

I am so grateful of the lessons I had when growing up around my father and some of the greatest people to have ever played the game like Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. Those lessons have carried over to my professional career and now into my business career. It became my mission to take all of these lessons and take all of these processes that I’ve been privileged to be around and provide it to other people. Whether it’s an organization or a person, my goal is to remind them that everything is possible. The impossible hasn’t been done yet. Winning or accomplishing or building something comes down to some basic principles that I believe in. Today, if I could pass those principles and processes on to other people to help them get to another level, I’ll be living out my new vision.

GMs: I listened to an interview you did about your upbringing and how your father was your role model. You said he taught you a lot, which included being a great saver. Unfortunately, others aren’t that lucky to have the type of support system that you had regarding life and finances. What advice do you have for those signing those big time contracts, but might not necessarily have the experience handling that type of money and may not have the right people around them?

TS: The economy will go up and down. No matter how much you have, you’ll go through the good times and the bad times. In 2008/2009 we were like everyone else. We weren’t shielded, but I left the game with a lot of money. The reason I left with a lot of money is because our lifestyle never changed. Everything I enjoyed doing as a kid I still did during and after my career. We still have our family time on the river fishing or in the mountains hunting and its not like my lifestyle changed that drastically. Because of the money, we had the luxury to be able to do things that maybe most people don’t get to do, but I was never the guy who bought the Ferrari or 20,000 square foot house. We had great homes and lived within our means. It wasn’t a showcase it was a home. Home was a home. I never tried to buy anything to show anyone else up.

The same principles and processes I had to go through in baseball I had to go through in business. I’ve always had this feeling that money can come and go. I don’t think anyone was prepared for the downturn in ‘08/’09. Fortunes were lost and trillions were lost in the stock market, but if you have the mindset and the process you can rebuild. As long as I can work the process I felt like I always had an opportunity to create wealth.

GMs: I sincerely appreciate your time and I want to thank you for this interview. I also want to thank you for what you did for the game of baseball in Canada. Growing up in Canada, what you did with the Blue Jays will never be forgotten. You really made the Jays become Canada’s team.

Now your helping others with the lessons and principles you gained through your experience and passing that forward. Not many would do that and that has to be commended.

TS: I certainly appreciate you reaching out and taking the time to do this interview with me and toddstottlemyre.com. If people want to come and be a part of that and check out the site, I’d appreciate anyone who would want to register. I’ve also developed a nine-step success plan that I think is applicable and can be utilized by anyone in any profession. Going back to the Blue Jay days, we felt Canadian. I’m proud of it today and I’m proud when I go back to your country and talk to the fans. I’m so proud that I could be a part of those clubs surrounded by great teammates. As I said earlier, many of us felt Canadian. We appreciate you and I appreciate this time with you today.

To learn more about Stottlemyre and his business, you can subscribe to his website and/or follow him on Twitter and facebook 

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Director, Erik Nilsen discusses the MLB B.A.T. program

08/23/2016 6:57 PM - Devo

 

The GM's Perspective recently spoke with Erik Nilsen, DirectorBaseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) at Major League Baseball. B.A.T. was formed in 1986 by former MLB'ers. It was originally funded confidentially to help members of an exclusive fraternity who were in need of assistance and were out of options. Whether, it's medical, financial or psychological assistance, Nilsen and his team are there to lend a helping hand. We were fortunate enough to speak and learn more about the organization and the assistance that it can provide to those in need.

The GM’s Perspective: What is your background and how did you got started with the organization?

Erik Nilsen: I played baseball my entire life. I played Division 3 ball for State University of New York at New Paltz for two years than my final two years at York College of Pennsylvania. I was a catcher at D3 and majored in sports management. My thought process was, if I can’t play professional baseball, I also had a dream to work in professional baseball one day. After school I did some internships (Hudson Valley Renegades) and then found a position with the Mets (New York) as a telemarketing sales representative. I did that for about six months and got promoted to group sales rep. After about a year and a half in that role I saw a position with the Commissioner’s office working for the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) It was pretty enticing knowing I could work in the game, but also help people on a daily basis. I went for the interview and got a phone interview with Bobby Murcer while I was working at Shea Stadium. I eventually got hired in December of 2005 and have been here since. I was promoted to Director in August of 2013.

GMs: What is B.A.T., how did it start and what is its purpose?

EN: B.A.T. stands for Baseball Assistance Team and it was started in 1986 in conjunction with Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and a number of other former players as more of a short term organization just to help out some players where their pension really didn't cover their expenses and they were going through some tough times. The thought process back in those years was that it’d be around for a couple years and dissolve. That hasn’t happened. As the years have gone by, the organization has evolved into not only helping MLB players, but someone who has now two years of service as a minor league player, umpire, scout, athletic trainer, major and minor front office personnel. We also help out Negro League players, women from the Women’s Professional Baseball League, widows, widowers and children under the age of 23 of all eligible members.

We make sure a roof is over that family’s head by paying their mortgage or rent directly or putting food on the table. We send applicants reloadable debit cards so that we can track the purchases to ensure the money is being spent on what was approved by the grant committee. We also have a lot of people coming that tell us that their electricity or water is about to be turned off, so we pay the utility bills, medical expenses, health insurance, and prescriptions. We’ve also had cases where we’ve taken care of funeral expenses. We have many different resources on our staff and our board in addition to our consultants. One consultant by the name of Tim McDowell deals with our addiction recovery program. For the people who require it, we send them to 30 day rehab centers, IOP treatments and try to help them get back on their feet. A member of our board is a bankruptcy attorney who deals with our recipients on various debts issues including bankruptcy, credit card debt etc...Basically, if there’s a need out there, our grant committee and board will be very receptive to helping someone get back on their feet.

Our mission statement is to be a short term bridge to help someone get back on their feet. A lot of the times, someone will need just a little jumpstart to get caught up with their expenses so they can become self-sufficient again.

GMs: Where does the majority of the financial assistance come from?

EN: MLB covers the office overhead expenses. They cover the office space, salary, travel expenses...We go out every spring and solicit MLB players for contributions. This year we raised $2.8 million. With the $2.8 million it allows us to help as many people as possible. The money we raise goes directly to our applicants.

GM’s: I read the testimonials (Michael Jackson, Ramon Tatis),  but how do you explain your mandate to people and the impact you have on someone's life when they see players making upwards of $20 million a year (The perception of people who don't truly understand what you do)?

EN: The general public is not really our constituency. Our constituency is the baseball family, but if someone from the general public wanted to understand or justify how we’re able to give grants, the majority of our applicants are the minor league players who didn’t make the millions of dollars. They’ve struggled during minor league baseball life and are trying to work on the transition from playing minor league baseball to actually going out in the real world and getting a full time job with benefits and health insurance. Every case is unique and based on its own merits. Our President, Randy Winn likes to say, “B.AT. is there when bad things happen to good people”.

There’s been instances where someone has come to us where either, themselves or their kids have been diagnosed with cancer and they need support with treatment not covered by their health insurance. Or even a MLB player who played a while ago needing a prosthetic leg. His medicare doesn’t cover the entire thing and he doesn’t have the funds to cover his expenses. Obviously, sometimes people make bad decisions surrounding themselves with people who are trying to take advantage of them. We don't judge people by their past, we’re there to help them get back on their feet.  The grant application is very extensive where we ask for information that pertains to someone’s income, their expenses, any assets they may have, outstanding debt, and of course what they’re looking for help with.

We take everything into consideration. If someone has a million dollar house, our suggestion would be to downsize and make some lifestyle adjustments. We're a last resort for someone who has nowhere else to turn.

GMs: Do you provide life training or anything similar?

EN: We concentrate on the applicants that come to us because we’re so busy as is. Some things we are currently in the process of looking at is vocational training for our applicants. We’re also looking at financial education to assist our applicants at working with a budget, being able to save and having professionals work with them on how to get rid of some of their debt.

GMs: If the general public or anyone wants to assist or donate, how would they go about doing that?

EN: They can visit our website at baseballassistanceteam.com. There’s a donate tab you can click on and it will ask you for the pertinent information.

B.A.T has assisted many people, and the story of Andy Lane, encompasses everything that the assistance program is about. In October of 2015, ESPN wrote a story, "Former Cubs bullpen catcher sees benefits when money from fines goes to charity." He played in the minors for the Washington Nationals and later became the bullpen catcher for the Chicago Cubs. His little boy was diagnosed with a heart condition and they didn’t have the money to support all the medical bills and living expenses in two locations. As the headline mentions, when Major League Baseball fines a player for misconduct, the money will go to humanitarian groups like the Baseball Assistance Team, which can provide financial relief to those in their time of need.

B.A.T. was there to cover some of the expenses so that they could focus on the important things like the health of young Jackson Lane. Jackson will still require some surgeries going forward, but can now, at the age of 1, begin to enjoy the life every young child should have. In the article, Lane told the B.A.T. staff that he would represent the foundation. He toured Cactus League and Grapefruit League clubhouses with his son during spring training with the hope of spreading the word about the amazing work that has been done on behalf of his family.

 

 

"It hits home because a lot of the guys have children at home," Lane said. "[I told them], 'There's a good chance this kid would not be there if we didn't have your help.' This program is real. This program helps people that need it. ... I used to be in those clubhouses thinking, 'I'm never gonna be that person. I'm never gonna be the guy who comes in and speaks [about charities].' You know what? Life happens. You just roll with it."

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

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