Stud prospect using baseball to do his part in community
â€œI hope I can inspire you, no matter what your age, please know that you too can do something to make a difference in your community everyday.â€Â Elliot Mast
The above mission statement comes from an 11-year-old young man who hails from Altoona, PA.Â
As he readies himself for his upcoming baseball season, Elliot Mast is working ambitiously to make a difference in the lives of his peers, who may not be able to participate in Opening Day festivities or other outdoor activities this spring and summer, because the of the challenges that they currently have in front of them.Â
I recently learned about what Elliot was doing to support his local community after reading his dadâ€™s post on www.linkedin.com.Â It struck me as funny because I had been thinking for the last month or two, that although I have made plenty of professional contacts on the site, it really hasnâ€™t offered much else.Â Glad I didnâ€™t give up on it, because I might have missed the opportunity to find out more about Elliot and his lofty pursuits.Â
I spoke with Don and Elliot on the phone recently and after we wrapped up, I got a few more emails from Don as a follow up.Â
Don was passing along a message from Elliot that â€œhe wanted to keep the focus on the kids and hospital and the kids that he is helping as much as possible.â€
I hope I do that here, but Elliot, sorry buddy, this story is about you too because you deserve to be recognized for your efforts.Â Please donâ€™t be mad at me, itâ€™s part of the story.Â
As the story is told, Elliot and his dad, Don, were out fishing one day and were talking about how the young man could make a difference in his community and with kids his own age.Â It seems that Elliot was inspired after seeing a commercial with big leaguer Curtis Granderson, who was promoting his community contributions on a Major League Baseball-sponsored television commercial.
â€œWhen I was fishing with my dad, we were talking about Curtis Granderson and he has a charity and website http://www.grandkidsfoundation.org,â€ Elliot said.Â
Granderson, who moved from the Detroit Tigers to New York Yankees during the offseason, is considered to be one of baseballâ€™s most influential when it comes to community outreach.Â
In April of 2007, Granderson represented the Tigers organization prior to the Baltimore Orioles home opener at Camden Yards when Major League Baseball and Cal Ripken, Jr. held a press conference to announce a collaborative effort between the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
â€œHe (Granderson) was involved in community type stuff, kids programs that helped and I asked my dad, why canâ€™t we do something like that?â€
Dadâ€™s responseâ€¦â€œI told him that baseball players have more money than we do.â€Â
Undeterred, the Mast family, including Elliotâ€™s mom, Angelina, started coming up with some ideas.Â Ideas that werenâ€™t simply talked about in a casual way and dismissed, but instead they were crafted and soon carried out with vigor.
Elliot has created his own blog www.elliotmast.blogspot.com to promote the work he is doing this year to support the Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Child Life Program, which makes childrensâ€™ hospital stays as positive and stress-free as they can be.
â€œI think itâ€™s really great that someone of Elliotâ€™s age is trying to go out and fundraise for kids his age,â€ said Shannon Anglero, associate director, of special events for the Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.Â
â€œThe lessons that he is learning about philanthropy will go with him for the rest of his life,â€ Anglero said.Â â€œIt comes from his parents.Â He is the driving force behind this, but they are really supportive.Â He is learning a wonderful lesson of how one personâ€™s impact can have on other people.â€Â
Anglero also believes that Elliot is going about his efforts the right way.
“My appreciation always comes when kids want to help other kids,â€ Anglero said.Â â€œItâ€™s something that is very easy for him to do because he likes baseball.Â He is doing exactly what we stress to fundraisers.Â Heâ€™s doing something that he is passionate about and finding a way to help others.â€
Elliot will stay busy playing baseball during the spring and summer months by playing on three different teams, including travel teams during the summer.Â Taking a page from big leaguers, he has set goals for himself by donating $2.00 for every hit he collects, $5.00 for every strikeout that he records on the mound and $10.00 for every home run that he hits.
The money will help with Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Pittsburghâ€™s Give To Children program, www.Givetochildren.org which supplies children with games, toys, and activities to do during their hospital stay.Â This program helps the children and their families. Â Â Â Â
Skeptical that this young man wonâ€™t make a dent in his allowance with the numbers he hopes to put up this season on the diamond?Â Donâ€™t be!Â
Consider his 2009 numbers, 105 strikeouts on the mound (over 58 innings), 8 home runs, and a .475 batting average.Â Anyone who hits .475 is collecting their share of hits.Â
Â Consider as well, that although Elliot has picked up some more chores around the house to generate more allowance, he is also going door-to-door and talking with businesses to help out as well.Â
Â ”I am vacuuming, tending to my hermit crabs and four dogs, cleaning a lot, mowing the lawn and doing a lot of outside work,â€ said Elliot.Â Â
Elliotâ€™s pursuit to help out also includes encouraging kids to become pen pals and to develop crafts that can be sent to the children in the hospital.Â All craft items must be new and help provide children with activities during their stay.Â
“The Child Life Program tries to make kidsâ€™ hospital experience fun and not scary,â€ said Elliot.Â â€œItâ€™s also about the kids in the hospital where they have created the Doctor Free Zone, where kids keep their mind off surgery and everything else that is going on.â€
Craft item donations can include magazines for kids and adults, pencils, colored or plain crayonsâ€¦small glue bottles, unfinished wood shapes that can be colored and finished, baby rattles, sports cards, Nerf ball sets, journals, and pillows.
Crafts and Pen Pal Letters may be sent to:
Ms. Shannon M. Anglero’
Associate Director, Special Events
Elliot’s Craft Campaign For Child Life
Children’s Hospital Of Pittsburgh Foundation
1251 Waterfront Place Floor 5
Pittsburgh, PA 15222Â Â Â
Donâ€™t be discouraged if you donâ€™t live in the western Pennsylvania region.Â Elliotâ€™s first donation came from a generous person in Denver, Colorado.Â
Monetary Donations (Checks Preferred) can be sent to:
Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation
C/O Elliot Mast
1230 22nd Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601
Don and Elliot are using every social media outlet you can think of to get the word out about their pursuits and itâ€™s paying off.
â€œThe Social Media background, itâ€™s huge,â€ said Don Mast.Â â€œWe are able to get to more people and it gives Elliot a chance to contact a lot of people in baseball and to get the message out quickly.â€Â
Major League pitcher, Jason Grilli, a Twitter master with over 6,000 followers, tweeted recently about Elliotâ€™s endeavors saying, â€œIf this kid isnâ€™t inspiring, then I donâ€™t know who is: Letâ€™s help him raise more than his $200 goal!â€
â€œI also got help from Jason Grilli,â€ said Elliot.Â â€œHe is promoting it on his Twitter and Face Book page and his blog.â€
Other outlets and groups are contributing to getting the word out as well, including the American Womenâ€™s Softball Association.
Opening Day for Elliot is April 24.Â Hereâ€™s to big year!Â Hopefully he can put up the kind of numbers that an agent would love to take to arbitration.Â And letâ€™s do our best to help Elliot reach his ultimate goal.
â€œI am trying to inspire other kids to care and to get them, and adults involved too,â€ said the 11-year-old from Altoona, PA.
Please visit Elliotâ€™s blog www.elliotmast.blogspot.com and watch his videos.Â Check out his baseball photos too, just from the photos, you can tell heâ€™s got a good approach at the plate.Â Â
Sugarâ€™s Random Thoughtsâ€¦
Congratulations to friend Scott Lauber, who goes from covering the Philadelphia Phillies for the Wilmington (DE) News Journal to covering the Boston Red Sox for the Boston Herald.Â Scott is a terrific writer and an extremely hard worker, who will do great in Boston.Â
Never for a second did I think that Nationalsâ€™ prospect Stephen Strasburg would be sent to Single-A Potomac in the Carolina League to start the 2010 season.Â I have never been to Harrisburgâ€™s ballpark in the Eastern League, but I am betting itâ€™s a better facility (clubhouse and playing surface) than G. Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA, home of the Potomac Nationals.Â The softball fields nearby offered better hops on the infield.Â Â Â Â Â Â
Can someone explain to me how Jermaine Dye is still not signed?Â How in the world can 30 big league clubs not think that this guy can help?Â Â Â
Mets fans have not had a whole lot to be optimistic about over the last 36 months or so, but can now be excited over prospects Fernando Martinez, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and Jenrry Mejia.Â Include 23-year-old lefty Jon Niese in there as the Mets fifth starter.Â What I am wondering is where did all those people go who have said over and over that the Metsâ€™ farm system is pathetic or worse?Â Â Â Â Â
I am rooting for Billy Wagner this year!Â
Itâ€™s interesting that Joe Mauerâ€™s agent, Ron Shapiro, also represented both Cal Ripken, Jr. and Kirby Puckett.Â Outside of Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Iâ€™ll give you Jorge Posada to name just a precious fewâ€¦Can you come up with players that you could see staying with their original organization for their entire careers?Â Evan Longoria?Â Tim Lincecum?Â Justin Upton?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Steve Lenox resides in East Haven, CT.Â You can follow him on Twitter @ Steve Lenox and on www.lexy.com.Â Throughout the season, heâ€™ll provide daily audio text/email scoreboard updates for MLB, as well as coverage on the New York Yankees and minor league baseball prospects for lexy.com.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â