" As baseball players and athletes, we have the opportunity to kind of reach out to the community in ways that other people. … We have an opportunity to do it," said Matusz, who will be honored in a pregame ceremony at Camden Yards on Wednesday. "And it feels good to be able to give to the community and see the smiles on kids' faces and see the reaction and to be able to touch these kids' lives and people's lives in one way or another, that's why we do these things. To be nominated, it's just an honor. "
Matusz earned the Orioles' 2015 nomination for his work with charities in and around the Baltimore community, including Casey Cares, the Cool Kids Campaign, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter and the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience Program.
This year, Matusz served as the honorary "Race Ambassador" for the Casey Cares 5K Run/Walk at Oriole Park, benefiting critically ill children and their families. He's also made frequent visits to pediatric patients at the Herman and Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai Hospital on behalf of the Casey Cares Foundation and partnered with Coca-Cola in a "Get the Ball Rolling" clinic to help educate area youth about the importance of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Matusz also contributes $5,000 annually to the OriolesREACH Ticket program, providing at-risk children with the opportunity to attend an Orioles game when they normally would not be able to.
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for Matusz. Voting ends on Friday, Oct. 9, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 World Series, where the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be announced.
Matusz joins players like Adam Jones and former Oriole Nick Markakis as nominees for the award, and he said being in the same company as the two All-Stars is an honor.
"I think it shows it doesn't matter what position you play on a team or what role you play on a team," Matusz said. "You can still make a difference in people's lives. You can still dedicate your time to community and do what you can to help. And your position doesn't really make a difference.
"Obviously, you look at the list, and some of the top players in the game [have been nominated], and it's great to see that. It's great, but there's a handful of guys in this clubhouse that give their time on a weekly basis to the community, and it doesn't matter what position or how long they've been in the league. It's always great to see anybody reach out to the community and do what they can."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.