The Pittsburgh Pirates were proud to welcome 50 children to PNC Park on July 22, 2014 for the Buses for Baseball program. The children were escorted into the ballpark to watch the Pirates take batting practice before anyone else was allowed in the park!
The Buses for Baseball program gives underprivileged kids throughout the United States and Canada the chance to attend a Major League baseball games and meet the players. The Players Trust (MLBPA) partners with local transit authorities and Major League teams, as well as charitable organizations in all Major League cities, to share the thrill of a big league game with kids who need more chances to smile.
At each ballpark, kids are welcomed by players who spend time signing autographs, giving away souvenirs and posing for photographs. Complimentary food and soft drinks during the game -- and often the chance to see their own faces on the scoreboard -- provide lasting memories before the bus heads home.
As all of Major League Baseball celebrated the life and community service legacy of the great Roberto Clemente on September 16, the Pirates took time that morning to visit a local elementary school as a way to give back to the community.
During the event, Pirates Charities and Pirates executives and staff joined several Pirates minor league players to hand deliver school supplies and meet with the students at Arsenal Elementary School.
The celebration of "The Great One" continued during a special pre-game ceremony at PNC Park, when the Pirates 2015 Roberto Clemente Award was presented to All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen in recognition of his outstanding skills on the baseball field and his devoted work in the community.
The Pirates also recognized one player from each of their Minor League affiliates as the recipients of the organization's eighth annual Pirates Community Commitment Program (PCCP) awards. This program encourages players throughout Pittsburgh's minor league system to emulate Clemente's legacy of community service.
On August 26, 2014, the Pirates and the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh partnered for a Domestic Violence Awareness event at the YWCA. Additional partners included five local domestic violence shelters including Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center, Inc., Crisis Center North, Center for Victims, the YWCA Women's Resource Center and Living in Liberty, a shelter for human trafficking survivors. At the event, local domestic violence organizations were on hand with resource tables for guests to learn about programs, services, and resources available in the region.
In addition, 400 supply kits were stuffed for the shelters by Pirates Catchers Russell Martin and Chris Stewart, their wives, the Pirates Pierogies and other guests. Items included: soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrushes and dental floss.
Pirates partner organizations, for their amazing efforts throughout the community around domestic violence, were also given Pirates tickets to provide to those in which they serve.
The Pirates have introduced the Fantasy Baseball Math Program in classrooms within the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Fantasy Baseball is an integrated math program for students in grades 4-8 and is aligned with the Pennsylvania State Exams in the areas of mathematics, reading and physical education. Students learn mathematics skills through baseball statistics in a way that is fun and engaging. Students also create player cards and compete against one another in simulated baseball games. The program promotes higher order science, technology, engineering and math skills (STEM), in preparation for math-based careers.
In 2014, Pirates Charities once again supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia with a donation to the annual "Kurt R. Weiss Scholarship for Wish Children" program, which was created in 1998 to help motivate wish children to pursue their post-high school educational ambitions.
In addition to financial support, Pirates Charities also hosted a group of scholarship recipients and their families and friends to a night at the ballpark on Friday, May 9. Before the game, the group of 160 gathered in the Pirates Press Conference Room to recognize the accomplishments of the 25 scholarship recipients in attendance. Attendees also enjoyed a ballpark buffet in Picnic Park. Then, the scholarship recipients who attended the event proceeded to the field where they were recognized for their accomplishments by Team President Frank Coonelly. Make-A-Wish President/CEO Judi Stone and Development Coordinator Andrea Ballas also joined the group on the field.
The Pirates hosted five Miracle League Fantasy Camps in 2014 for children and adults with special needs. Pirates players, coaches, alumni and front office executives helped conduct the camps, including pitchers Charlie Morton, Tony Watson and Stolmy Pimentel, infielders Ike Davis and Clint Barmes and Pirates executives Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly. The Pirate Parrot and Pirates Pierogies also were in attendance at several of the fantasy camps.
The purpose of the Miracle League Fantasy Camps is to provide children and adults with special needs the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball while providing a similar experience to Major League Baseball camps and clinics. This season, 175 children and adults attended the Miracle League Fantasy Camps, which were held in Altoona, the South Hills and Murrysville in PA, and in Wheeling, WV. A fantasy camp was also held at the Miracle League of Manasota, which serves the residents of Manatee and Sarasota Counties near the Pirates Spring Training home of Bradenton, FL.
At these camps, both children and adults took part in five activity stations, led by Pirates celebrities, that taught hitting, throwing and catching skills. Each child and adult also received his or her own personalized Pirates jersey and were treated to a delicious lunch.
The event was sponsored by Pirates Charities and Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids. Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids is an organization, founded by Denver resident Jeremy Flug, which provides funding for Miracle League Fantasy Camps for kids throughout the United States. This is the fifth year that Pirates Charities has worked with Mr. Flug, who attended the Fantasy Camp at the Miracle League of Manasota. Pirates Charities would like to thank Jeremy Flug, Joe Knetzer and the whole Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids organization for their tremendous dedication to improving the lives of children and adults with special needs.
For more information on the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids organization, please visit www.baseballfantasycampforkids.com.
Donating blood is important as each individual whole blood donor can make a difference by supporting up to three lives. Last year, more than 1,600 units were donated at Pirates Blood Drives, helping to save almost 5,000 lives in the Pittsburgh region. For more information, please call 1-866-DONORS-1 (1-866-366-6771), or visit centralbloodbank.org.
Blood drives run from 11AM-7:30PM each day, and are located in the Press Conference Room. Appointments can be made in advance by contacting Central Blood Bank.
The 2015 Pirates Charities CARE-a-van, presented by Highmark, took place from December 9-11, participating in private community events leading up to the 26th PirateFest, presented by Chick-fil-A.
The CARE-a-van made a total of 24 stops impacting 13 cities in the greater Pittsburgh area, including stops in Altoona, PA -- home of the Pirates Double-A affiliate the Altoona Curve -- and Morgantown, WV -- home of the Pirates Single-A affiliate the West Virginia Black Bears.
The Pirates hosted the "Pitch for Hope" Women's Baseball Clinic at PNC Park on May 25, 2014. Proceeds benefit Glimmer of Hope, a Pittsburgh area based organization funding the only under-40 breast cancer study in the country.
Women ages 14 and older were invited to learn hitting, pitching, and fielding from Pirates coaches and players on the playing field at PNC Park. There was also a catered brunch at the ballpark. All participants received a commemorative T-Shirt and there was a raffle featuring autographed memorabilia.
The Pirates, along with broadcasters Greg Brown and Steve Blass, hosted two 65 Roses Club nights at PNC Park during the 2014 baseball season. The events benefitted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and took place before each game.
The 65 Roses Club is a group of Pirates fans who have joined together to raise funds to fight cystic fibrosis. By making a pledge to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for every home run the Pirates hit, these fans have the opportunity to meet Pirates players, including Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Clint Barmes this season, at private pre-game receptions. After the receptions, everyone can enjoy the game to cheer on the Bucs!
The club gets its name from the way a child often learns to say "cystic fibrosis," which sounds like "sixty-five roses." It is a national sports program supported by teams in all areas of athletics, including baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer, to help raise funds to fight cystic fibrosis.
For complete information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the 65 Roses Club, contact Sarah Steele at 412-321-4422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pittsburgh Pirates partner with Major League Baseball umpires to offer memorable baseball game experiences for children awaiting adoption and at-risk youth in mentoring programs.
Children receive a VIP experience including great seats to see the Pirates at PNC Park, a goody bag of 'all things baseball', and the unique opportunity to step onto the field for a souvenir baseball and photo.
UMPS CARE Charities, a 501c3 non-profit organization founded by Major League Baseball umpires, created the BLUE Crew Tickets program to share the gift of baseball with children and strengthen relationships between children and the adults who aim to make a difference in their lives.
More than 4,000 guests have participated in BLUE Crew Tickets since 2006. Learn more at www.UmpsCare.com.
The Pittsburgh Pirates Winter Coaches Clinics are facilitated by former Pittsburgh Pirates players to educate local youth baseball and softball coaches on techniques and strategies to be effective on and off the field. Three clinics were featured this season, with Pirates alumnus and current broadcaster John Wehner hosting the baserunning clinic, Pirates alumnus Grant Jackson directing the throwing clinic and Pirates alumnus Chris Peters instructing the outfielding clinic. Over 100 youth baseball and softball coaches were in attendance at these clinics, learning the importance of these key components.
"Your hospitality and generosity are outstanding and deeply appreciated. The topics are on point and presenters are flexible so as to provide instructions suitable for all ages. I wish the clinics were longer than an hour each. Thank you."
"The overall information and coordination of the program was extremely well communicated and managed. Thank You."
"This was my first year for the clinic; I enjoyed the clinic, and thought it was pretty awesome especially the ticket incentive (otherwise, some city youth wouldn't have an opportunity to attend a game). Thanks again, looking forward to it again."
"I really enjoyed each talk. I am incorporating what I've learned and am hoping to come back for more next season."
"Overall, I was very pleased with the clinics. I learned a lot to show my team."