Pedro gives back to youth

Trevor Morris

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“This is a part of our future,” said Hall of Fame Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez.  Martinez was back in Roxbury to support the efforts of The BASE foundation.

The BASE is home to superior baseball training complexes, which aids in conditioning and competition of young athletes. The mission of The BASE is to “Build champs on and off the field by providing resources, mentorship and access to services that ensure that each student-athlete graduates from high school and is equipped with a winning game plan for life,” according to their website.

Robert Lewis Jr. and Jose Ruiz founded The BASE in the late 1970s. Together they had a vision to keep young people out of trouble, while encouraging the youth to engage in healthy competition.

The BASE combines athletics and educational opportunities for the youth of Boston.

Their motto has been to use “the power and passion of sports to change the game [of baseball] for urban youth by providing high quality baseball, education, training and resources to help them reach their fullest potential.”

The organization has given Boston’s inner city youth the tools and opportunities to be successful in their athletics and in life. The BASE has aided over 8,000 kids. Along with a total of over 600 youth baseball teams, while “Playing in not just at home in Boston, but in tournaments across the country — from Florida to Nevada and all in between,” according to their website.

The BASE has built a foundation for the young people they serve. Some of The BASE alumni have turned into Major League Baseball players. Players who came out of The BASE to find MLB stardom include: Former Boston Red Sox Manny Delcarmen, former Minnesota Twins Juan Carlos Portes, Nelfi Zapata of The New York Mets, Eddy Morabel of The Texas Rangers, Jamill Moquete of The Baltimore Orioles, and Calvin Graves of The Chicago Cubs.

The BASE has become such a staple in Boston’s youth baseball culture that it has caught the eyes of Pedro Martinez. “I think it’s so important to do our part [as MLB players],” said Martinez. “Coming over [to The BASE] and supporting these kids is actually expanding the legacy that [MLB players] are suppose to have.”

Martinez also touched on the importance of giving back to the communities that helped shape his life as he was growing up. “[Giving back] teaches these kids that whenever they become one of us, they also have to be committed to [giving back to the community].”

“It’s not just all about playing ball, making money or being a megastar. You are also making the commitment to your society and to others,” said Martinez. “You have to be committed to the future that’s more important than what we do on the field.”

In addition, The BASE’s event promoted women in youth baseball. Martinez had confidence that woman can play a role in the future of the MLB. “I wouldn’t doubt it, woman have become so important in our society so why not?” said Martinez.

“I’m totally in favor of women excelling in baseball and just becoming better everyday. [Baseball] needs help, I don’t want to say women don’t count [because] yes they do and we need them to excel! It’s good to see [baseball] expand and explore different roots.”

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