Announcement - Enhancements to Buzzsaws program

Post date: May 17, 2012 2:41:58 PM

I am announcing a change to Buzzsaws Baseball program. A Board of Directors has been formed to create a non-profit organization that will encompass a new direction for the Buzzsaws Baseball Program. This new direction has nothing to do with our baseball philosophy. We are still committed to running a high school developmental program and that has not changed. However, we are also committed to helping to develop these boys into young men of character through baseball. Most of you know that I have become involved with the Meeting God in Baseball missions organization which does mission/ministry work in the Dominican Republic. This has been a life changing experience for me and I have felt compelled to take my commitment to this ministry to the next level. One of the things that struck me when I went on my first trip is that I felt an instant bond with the people of the Dominican Republic for some reason and much of that is because of their love for baseball also. They have an independent spirit about them that reminds me of when I was a kid and I don't sense that spirit of independence in many of the boys I coach at any level. I went on the trip originally with my son because I wanted him to see another part of the world to gain some perspective. We definitely got that perspective which caused me to appreciate everything we have here but to also feel bad that many of the kids here won't be able to gain that perspective. So, through much prayerful thought, the idea of bringing a player to the United States to play for one of my teams was born. I guess it makes sense that if we cannot bring everyone to the Dominican Republic, we will bring the Dominican Republic here!! I did not push this idea, I just let the pieces fall into place if they were meant to be. Well, it turns out that it was meant to be because everything has fallen into place and we will be welcoming Jose Luis Carrion Mercedes, aka "Bernie" to the United States from the Dominican Republic next week for two months and he will play with on the 14u Buzzsaws team. This is just the beginning of the story.

So, being a travel baseball program, I started to think about the possibility of taking a team to the Dominican Republic for a tournament and also as a mission opportunity for them. It turns out that there is a regional tournament down there in November that I was made aware of in January. I have been considering the possibility of taking a team down there for this tournament. Nothing is in stone yet but we will see if it is "meant to be", if not this year, maybe next year. But it got me thinking about the purpose of the Buzzsaws Baseball Program and I believe it is an opportunity to aid in the development of these young men, much like the Boys Scouts.

So I contacted a retired member of my church, whose grandson also happens on play on one of our teams about starting a non-profit organization around the Buzzsaws organization. He and I have talked in the past about doing some sort of sports ministry and I don't think it was a coincidence that his grandson happened to try out for the Buzzsaws without knowing that I was running it. To make a long story short, he has agreed to become the President of a yet to be named non-profit organization that will revolve around the Buzzsaws baseball program. We have recruited a small board already which includes two retired ministers, a varsity baseball coach, a tax attorney and a CPA, all of whom have a baseball background. That's not a bad start. We will be forming this non-profit organization and filing our papers over the summer. The organization will have as its mission statement something along the lines of "connecting the youth of the United States and the Dominican Republic to God through Baseball". In other words, it is meant to be a two way "connection" that I hope will support the Meeting God in Baseball organization financially while at the same time become a life changing experience for the Buzzsaws players and many future Dominican youth. I really see this organization as accomplishing following goals:

1) Support MGB financially through team fees (tax deductible) and fundraisers

2) Bring players from the Dominican Republic as a "baseball exchange" type program

3) Take teams to the Dominican Republic for tournaments and mission opportunity

4) Provide ministry opportunities to Buzzsaws players through annual service project

5) Begin to offer optional pre-game and pre-practice prayer, optional devotional opportunities and events that will revolve around baseball.

The goal of these additional activities is to supplement what most families are already participating in, to varying degrees and would officially begin next season. The service project is not meant to be a huge time commitment and will most likely be done in conjunction with fund-raising to support MGB and potential trips to the DR. The concept is that the boys would participate in the service programs over the years and when they reach the 14u team, they would participate in the trip to the DR while at the same time helping to support exchange players along the way.

There is more to come on a potential trip to the DR this year including the age group for this tournament in November, the dates and the cost. If you are interested in exploring this, please feel free to contact me directly. If there are roughly 14-16 players (most likely the current 13u or 14u players) who would be able to go this year, we could probably make it happen. The cost will be about $1,000 per person which includes the airline ticket, accommodations, transportation, insurance etc.. We would do a fund-raiser in September to offset the cost if it is going to happen and we would take at least 2 or 3 coaches as chaperones plus any parents who would like to go. Everything would be booked through the international mission organization called MGM who also happens to host the trips taken by all CVCA Juniors every year, plus thousands of adults and youth each year. So this is a trusted mission organization that we would be partnering with.

Finally, there may be some other benefits of setting up a non-profit organization, not the least of which may be to find a way to acquire a bigger training facility and the team fees will be tax deductible (we will have to explore this with the tax attorney on the board). But most of all, the motto of Play Ball Sports Academy is "more than baseball". What I really meant when I decided on this motto is exactly what we are doing.....I want these kids to experience a bigger purpose during their time with the Buzzsaws. After all, we all know the Bible is really about how life is a giant baseball game because it begins in Genesis 1:1 with "In the big inning........."

Dante Sabatucci

Play Ball Sports Academy