Second Annual Pittsburgh Pirates Equipment Drive
By Clark Ehman (Sophomore)
The Pittsburgh Pirates are hosting a baseball equipment drive on January 28th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at PNC Park. Donors can come by the stadium any time (to the garage on Mazeroski Way) within this window, and with their donation they will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a Pirates game during the upcoming regular season. This year the Pirates are planning on ordering fifteen shipping containers for the drive to send equipment to international communities in need.
Last year, around this time, a similar baseball equipment drive was held at PNC Park. This drive was to collect used, but in decent condition baseball equipment to be shipped off to the Dominican Republic. The process went unexpectedly well, twenty shipping containers full of equipment were packaged. The turnout was much greater than expected.
“I love putting baseball equipment in the hands of kids who may not be able to afford it,” said Johnny Leonard, the manager of youth baseball and softball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “Every kid in the city and the surrounding area should be able to play baseball or softball without worrying about the cost.”
Leonard jumped into this project in the late stages last year and will be one of the primary overseers of the drive. He formerly played professional baseball with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but when he was in high school he “volunteered a lot with local little leagues.”
The Pirates are taking lots of steps to promote the drive by advertising on their social media accounts and email chains. Leonard says he’s “gotten inquiries about sending the equipment to Africa, as well as the Dominican Republic.”
The project is fast approaching at the end of the month, and Leonard urges anyone that can to stop by the ballpark to do so and donate any equipment they can. The hope is that this meets the same expectations as last year and kids all over the world will get the equipment that they need and deserve. “We’re hoping to go big this year,” said Leonard.