Play Ball!

Garth Goes to Bat for Children

“Swing hard in case you hit it.”

That’s the motto Garth Brooks plans to adopt during the next month as he joins the New York Mets baseball club in their spring training. Just hours after he arrived in Port St. Lucia, Fla., on Saturday morning, he reported to the Mets organization to sign his baseball contract and meet with an assembled press corps.

This is the second consecutive year that Brooks has trained with a major league team. Last year he joined the San Diego Padres club for a six-week stint, raising money and awareness of his “Touch ’Em All” Foundation, which he established to benefit needy children in this country. The charity was eventually able to raise close to $2 million in its first year. This year, Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine reported at the press conference that both the Mets organization and sports web site will contribute $100,000 to the Foundation, and over 100 individual major league baseball players will participate as well.

“I guess the goal of what I hope to achieve here is not to embarrass major league baseball or the New York Mets,” Brooks said. “I hope that these guys will see that my respect and love for the game is unequaled. I feel very lucky to be here, to play baseball on this caliber, and to help kids out there who need it. Hopefully, it will be a win-win situation for everybody.”

“Garth will play some third base and left field,” Valentine explained. “And you might see him at the plate. It’s going to be a fun thing. Garth is fulfilling his own dream by playing baseball, and he is fulfilling many dreams for children. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have Garth here.”