It’s not unusual for the St. Louis Cardinals or a player to have a few guests on the field before a game, in fact, there are regularly several with the special passes who stand behind the rope to watch the team take batting practice.
But Carlos Martinez had more than a few guests at yesterday’s game–he invited nearly 50 newly made friends to attend their first baseball game.
“I had gone to Six Flags, just with my kids for a day,” he began through the help of a team translator. “These kids were Dominican, so they recognized me and approached me and wanted pictures. We started talking about their situation. They’re at Six Flags working and told me it’s kind of been a hard adjustment and hard on them.”
“Being involved with so many charities and with them being from the Dominican Republic, it really touched me,” continued Martinez. “They said they’ve never been in to St. Louis, they’ve never been to a Cardinals game so I wanted to help them and welcome them into the city and gift them these tickets. That’s what I did to help them out because they’re going through a rough time.”
It’s not the first time Martinez has reacted in this fashion. It wasn’t too long ago that he was visiting a local school for Cinco de Mayo and when he learned that most of the children had never been to a game, he invited the whole school down.
Just a couple of weeks ago, he took time out before his start to visit with a group of kids. It is normally taboo to speak with a pitcher on the day of their start, but Carlos said afterwards that it was actually inspiring for him.
And his Tsunami Waves Foundation recently had the their 3rd Annual Celebrity Bowling event to raise funds for underprivileged children in the local area and Dominican.
“I really like giving back to the community and back to kids I see myself reflected in,” said Martinez. “Because when I was in that position or even when I was growing up and coming up, I had no one that kind of lent me a hand and helped me out and mentored me, much less anyone that invited me to a game–a big league game, not even one for the Dominican League. So for me, God has put me in the position to be able to help and give back to the community. I always make sure I can do that and I really worry about the Dominican kids that I can see myself reflected in. I really try to do my best to help in the community.”
Martinez will look to improve on his 2.87 ERA (3rd-NL) tonight when he takes the mound for the Cardinals in Arizona. He has made 11 straight starts of 6.0 innings or more, which is the third longest active streak in MLB.
photo credit: Tsunami Waves Foundation