One of COVID-19’s terrible consequences is cancelling school, a place where 20 million kids in the United States and Canada rely on free or reduced-price meals. Even though MLB players can’t play baseball right now and musicians can’t rock out to crowds in arenas and amphitheaters, they are coming together to help these kids get the meals they need.
Adam Wainwright’s nonprofit Big League Impact, which is also run by Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson, has partnered up with Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation to form the Home Plate Project to provide over 4 million meals for kids who need them. All 30 MLB teams, led by 50 players, have raised almost $1 million to fund the initiative. While many teams have one representative, the Rockies have three: Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado, and Trevor Story.
Thursday was Arenado’s 29th birthday and instead of spending it playing baseball, he figured out a way to give and told MLB.com’s Thomas Harding: “I just talked to some players who are trying to help, and I wanted to help also. We must pick each other up. I think we have a service and the resources to help. When times are tough, it’s easy to come together and help.”
In another article in an on-going series to highlight and help support local businesses and how their coping with the effects of COVID-19, the Athletic’s Nick Kosmider turned to the Denver Beer Co. and its virtual happy hour. (The Athletic is also offering 90-day free trial subscriptions right now.)
On Friday, April 17 at 4 p.m. MT, the Denver Beer Co. virtual happy hour on YouTube will include two very familiar faces for Rockies fans: homegrown left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland and former Rockie and current broadcaster Ryan Spilborghs, better known as Spilly.
Denver Beer Co.’s head brewer Jason Buehler has a unique connection to the Rockies because in 1999, he worked as an intern for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, who were Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate at the time. It was there where he learned about cause and effect with dollar beer nights and became creative in ways that only working for minor league teams can teach. In the years since, Denver Beer Co. has named several of its beers after Rockies like a wheat beer called the Walt Weiss, a hazy IPA titled Nolan’s Gold, and a Bud Black Lager “Schwarzbier,” which later spawned a spinoff black IPA as well. I had the fortune of drinking the Schwarzbier in 2017 in Denver Beer Co.’s Platte River taproom and it was pretty strong, but very good.
Buehler, along with Denver Beer Co. cofounders Charlie Berger and Patrick Crawford, started brainstorming before COVID-19 forced restaurants and breweries to close their doors, figuring out a system to sell to-go beer and holding virtual happy hours, which have featured former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper among others, on Facebook and YouTube live. They’ve also continued their very successful beer-food pairing events, just moving them online with Denver businesses who make delicious food like Santa Fe Cookie Co., Cheese Meat Board, Tender Belly, Coda Coffee, and The Mighty.
While we saw the stories about Raimel Tapia donating medical supplies and food to people in his hometown of La Loma in the Dominican Republic in early April, this feature from Nick Groke just expands on what else Tapia is doing over the shutdown.
Tapia is on his family’s farm with some other professional baseball players, his three brothers. They practice and set up a makeshift batting cage. This is evident by one of the best quotes in the article: “I am at the farm practicing, and yes, next to my animals.” In a video with the article, there are farm animals in the near distance, not even taking time out of their days to admire Tapia’s swing.
La Loma is a small town that is not equipped to handle people suffering health problems because of COVID-19. There isn’t enough testing, there are rising numbers of people who are sick, and everyone is anxious and scared about getting through this. That’s why it’s amazing Tapia bought enough masks and gloves to help ensure that the residents of La Loma have masks and gloves for a year.
Groke ends the article with the following sentiment from Tapia that makes you love him even more:
“It’s hard not playing right now, but the most important thing is being healthy. And when we can play again, we will be hungry to start playing. What I miss the most are the fans and my teammates and going to hit with mucho swagger.”