A Seattle Mariner Explains How Baseball Helped Him Save His Hometown

“I didn’t know anything about how powerful baseball was.”

Seattle Mariners' Nelson Cruz. Image by Keith Allison/Flickr.

Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners is already known for mashing the offerings of opposing pitchers as consistently as anyone in Major League Baseball. The 2014 home run king has only improved on his long ball totals since signing a four-year contract with Seattle before the 2015 season. But it’s his off-the-field contributions that may be even more prolific.


After years of contributing philanthropic resources both in the United States and his Dominican hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, he launched his Boomstick23 Foundation in 2016. In one of the foundation’s first initiatives, Cruz led a medical drive that attended to the needs of more than 1,200 patients. Here he explains where that philanthropic spirit comes from and why it’s important.

I think everything started with my dad, Nelson Cruz Sr. Seeing my dad growing up, he was involved always with the community. He raised money for creating a cultural club in the town. He tried to find a way to have tournaments so we could play basketball and baseball. I think everything starts with him.

Growing up, my mom and my dad were both my teachers. They really emphasized I get my high school done. Even after I signed my first MLB contract, I had to go back to playing Dominican summer league and go back to school. It was rough at the time, but I really appreciate their advice and them making sure I got that done.

When I saw my dad in the community and me in the big leagues, the dream started growing and growing. I wanted to help kids finish their school, because we have issues in the Dominican Republic with school. I needed to help kids with whatever they need. My foundation focused on those two things: education and sports.

I love my community in Las Matas de Santa Cruz. I have my house there. I have my gym out there. When I’m training and have time off, I’m in the Dominican in my hometown. My uncle is even the mayor.

We are collaborating with Players For The Planet and META Collective to bring sustainable infastructure to Las Matas. We have a lot of needs but because I live there I know exactly what we need. One of the things I first started doing was trying to find a fire truck because we didn’t have one there. In 2012, I started looking around, trying to buy one. I even looked online, and the price was too high. Back then, I was talking to the Texas Rangers’ foundation, and they found a guy who owned fire trucks. We made contact with them, and then I was also able to find two ambulances. I gave one to San Francisco de Macoris and one to my hometown. Everything really started with that, but I always do stuff in the community.

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]I could not be more pleased with what baseball has done for my life. Not only for me, but for the people around me.[/quote]

I’m very proud of the equipment that I bring to my community. Just knowing about the ambulance and fire truck, what they do on a daily basis really touches me. I have people telling me thank you. They say because you brought the ambulance, my dad or my parent or uncle are alive right now. It doesn’t get any better than knowing you’re doing something to make people’s lives better and helping them to stay alive.

I also work for the foundation Aid for AIDS. We help people in Latin America with supplies for HIV and to get their treatment done in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela and all over Latin America.

My idea is to someday get a computer center in my hometown. That is the goal to help those people who aren’t going to school for some reason. I was thinking more about baseball players who left school and maybe spent three or four years playing ball and couldn’t keep playing. They had to go back to school, so we have to find a way to help them out with that so they can go there and get their degree and hopefully help them get a job.

You always have time to do something. I make sure I do what I like to do and help kids and go and share my experience and make sure they understand that if you can dream it anything is possible. We went last year to three or four schools, and I was there talking to the kids, especially the ones who came from different countries. Just sharing my experience and telling them that anything you can dream you can make possible with hard work and effort. You can make your dreams come true.

I had no clue baseball could help me help others. I didn’t know anything about how powerful baseball was. I could not be more pleased with what baseball has done for my life. Not only for me, but for the people around me. My community and family have all benefited from the game.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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Communities
via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Viral


Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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