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Rivets make time for community involvement

The Rockford Rivets play 72 games in a 76-day summer season, but regardless of their busy schedule, they always find time to serve their community. The Rivets spend time with many groups, including youth baseball camps and leagues, church camps, day cares, The Make A Wish Foundation and more. Each player has gone out and served the community at least once this season.

“I enjoy giving back to younger kids the way people did for me when I was little,” pitcher Cory Wright said. “It’s fun to see a smile on a kid’s face and make their day.”

On July 14, Wright and teammate Michael Smith were special guest readers at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford for the Garden Explorers program. They read two books to the attending children and then enjoyed an interactive presentation with Marshmallow, the educational pelican, and Hoo Haven, a local wildlife rescue.

Sometimes the players attend events and read to day cares or programs like Wright and Smith, but other times they instruct and teach the local youth the ins and outs of America’s pastime.

“My favorite outing this season was when we got to run the YMCA baseball camp,” outfielder Hunter Steinmetz said. “We played tee-ball with them and they were such a hilarious group of kids. They really wore all of us out in only three hours of camp.”

Steinmetz and five other Rivets players ran the YMCA baseball camp after returning home at 4 a.m. from a game in Battle Creek, Michigan. The camp was from 9 a.m. until noon and the players taught them the fundamentals of fielding and had a mini scrimmage for the last hour of camp.

“I mean on days like that day you’re tired, you know?” Steinmetz said. “But, you get over the lack of sleep so easily when you see how happy these kids are and how much they look up to you. It really puts everything in perspective and reminds me of how good I have it. Us just playing tee-ball or simply reading to them leaves an impact and I think we’re all extremely lucky to be in a position like that.”