ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer, the Rays, and national nonprofit, Good Sports, continued their third year of partnership on Wednesday morning by visiting with members of the Northwest Little League in Tampa, Fla.
Together, they provided the program with new baseball equipment for their season. The donation, which includes bats, catcher's equipment, batting helmets, and training equipment for their baseball and softball teams was valued at $11,000.
Archer served as a spokesperson for the group effort, and addressed the kids during the visit.
"My message is always the same," Archer said. "I always try to tell them to identify their talent early and attack it whole heartedly. And it's probably not going to be in athletics.
"I stress education. At the end of the day, education is going to take you way further than athletic ability. Even if you're a high-level athlete, you're going to need a brain because post-baseball is fleeting."
Archer gives when he talks to the kids, but he receives, too.
"It's defintitely fulfillment," Archer said. "I feel like I have a greater purpose. Throwing baseballs is one thing. It's fun, but to be able to go and donate $11,000 worth of equipment to an area that loves me, that showed a lot of support of me personally. And maybe help change a life.
"Because [it's] not necessarily making them a professional athlete, but you learn so much through sports, about teamwork, leadership, building personal traits. It allows children to do that for one more season, or two more seasons or how long the equipment lasts."
Wednesday's donation was part of a partnership between the Rays and Good Sports in support of local youth in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Over the course of the partnership, $99,535 has been raised to impact 5,916 kids.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.