USA Baseball announced Wednesday that over the course of five games in early July, it raised $2,500 for efforts to help rebuild baseball infrastructure in areas of Japan affected by the tsunami and earthquake damage. Donations were accepted throughout the five-game collegiate all-star series between the U.S. and Japan, July 3-8.
During the first four games of the series in Durham, Cary and Kannapolis, N.C., July 3-6, USA Baseball set-up a donation table on the concourses of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, USA Baseball National Training Complex and Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium, respectively, to raise awareness for the effort. Fans that donated two dollars or more received a USA Baseball ‘Our Pastime’s Future’ bracelet.
On July 8, when the series shifted to Omaha, Neb., for the fifth and final game, USA Baseball worked with the Omaha World Herald to print game programs which were offered in exchange for a donation. Donation buckets were also placed at the entrance to TD Ameritrade Park.
At both the North Carolina sites and Omaha, USA Baseball auctioned off authentic U.S. jerseys signed by both Team USA and Japan, with the profits going toward the relief effort.
“The United States and Japan have had a great baseball relationship since 1972, and we decided this international friendship series would be the perfect opportunity to help the Japanese baseball community,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “We want to also thank our partners in Cary, Durham, Kannapolis, and Omaha for their support of this initiative as well.”
USA Baseball’s donations will be distributed to three baseball conferences in Japan that were affected by the tsunami and earthquake tragedies. The federation will work with Japan’s baseball governing body to help rebuild the sport in damaged areas.
“I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to USA Baseball for its support and encouragement concerning the tragic east Japan earthquake and tsunami,” said All-Japan University Baseball Federation president Hideitsu Ohashi. “We have sent the contribution to the Sendai University Baseball Federation, which represents three university federations in the area that was affected, and they are committed to use the contribution for the reconstruction of their baseball activities. Nothing is more heartening in a crisis than the encouragement and support of friends overseas.”
Prior to playing Team USA, the Japanese College All-Stars played in Forest City, N.C., against the Forest City Owls of the Coastal Plains League. Forest City also participated in fundraising efforts and collected $1,200 toward Japan relief.
The 2011 USA vs. Japan series was won by Team USA, with the U.S. sweeping three games in the Triangle-area of North Carolina before moving to Omaha for a double-header. The teams finished the first game tied, and Japan won the series finale.