Goodwill baseball visit delivers million-dollar boost to JamaicaTuesday, February 05, 2019
Local baseball in Jamaica got a major shot in the arm last Friday, thanks to the BMR Energy/CEBF Goodwill Visit to the island involving Jamaican-born former Major League Baseball player, Justin Masterson.
The three-day trip was spearheaded by the Caribbean Educational and Baseball Foundation (CEBF), as well as the Mandeville-based American renewable energy firm, BMR Jamaica Wind Limited.
Over 150 children were to receive playing equipment valued in total at approximately $1 million from an initiative made possible through the state-run Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), and its parent ministry. Also, the programme received endorsement from the US Embassy in Jamaica, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Jamaica Baseball Association and Jamaica Little League Baseball.
Two clinics were conducted last Friday at the National Stadium's East field and G C Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, while a third exercise was to take place Saturday at Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth.
Speaking at a media briefing at the INSPORTS office at National Arena last Friday, Masterson, on his first visit to the island since leaving as child, was really ecstatic to return.
“I am really overjoyed at the invitation to help the sport to have further growth here in Jamaica — and this is just the start of great things to come through CEBF and Jamaica,” said Masterson before conducting a series of baseball drills.
The former Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and St Louis Cardinals pitcher added: “I am thrilled to be in this capacity to not only spread the sport, but to make an impact on the lives of local kids in a positive way.”
Meanwhile, Pip Decker, senior vice-president of BMR Energy, was equally overjoyed at the historic launch.
“Our organisation, which has built wind turbines in St Elizabeth, is elated and excited at this venture in giving hope to students through baseball,” said Decker. “And we identify with the shared passion of CEBF to make a positive impact on our communities through baseball.”
CEBF's executive director Tommy Goodman said building a solid partnership was the key to the future success of the programme, which will see many more children benefiting.
Goodman said: “We want to understand what the baseball landscape looks like here, and based on the next two days we can figure out how we can come back, broaden the programme based on specific needs and based on friendship and partnerships that we can develop on this visit.”
Some of the participating schools included Hope Valley Experimental Primary, Dupont, August Town, Excelsior, New Providence, Angels, and Homestead Primary School, as well as St Peter and Paul Preparatory School.