In 2009 Paris Whitehead, an eight year old girl residing in South St. Petersburg, was fatally shot. This atrocity drew the attention of a few Tampa Bay Rays employees concerned about the youth in their communities. These employees thus created the Rays Dugout Club, an organization that wishes to educate youths and promote the Dugout Club message: Stay Healthy, Stay Positive, Stay Involved, Stay Smart.
On June 28th Rays Pitcher, Matt Moore, made a visit to the Childs Park Recreation Center on behalf of the Dugout Club.
Moore now sponsors “The Moore Corps” at the rec. center.
Childs Park Recreation Center is an impressive facility to say the least. It is Equipped with a gymnasium, workout facility, pools, pool-slides, playground, outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, dance studio, walking trails, kitchen, rental rooms and a good amount of green space.
Prior to Moore’s arrival, kids laughed, giggled, and joined in chants with counselors and group leaders. The center had a community feel to it with adults and leaders seeming to enjoy the interaction just as much, if not more so, than the children.
“I say childs, you say park! CHILDS!”
That was one of the more defining chants that the Recreation Center took part in.
Upon the arrival of Matt Moore the excitement only grew.
After the kids were reaffirmed of the Dugout Clubs message Moore broke down each value one by one with accompanying relevance to his own life.
First, Moore asked the kids what kinds of foods they ate, then he responded with the foods he would eat on a daily basis highlighting the importance of balanced diets and portion control.
The Rays Pitcher then attributed having a positive attitude as key to success. He praised his MLB teammate, David Price, for his impeccable attitude.
Moore told the “Moore Corps” that working through the rough times with a smile on your face and believing in yourself is essential in all aspects of life because in the end it will be okay.
He demonstrated the power of a positive attitude with a story about a previous game he had pitched for the Rays. The team was tied 1-1 and he had not had the best game but he kept believing and maintained faith in his own ability thus leading the team to a 5-1 victory.
The kids eagerly lined up to ask Matt questions, some divulging into his career and others more broad based about life.
Moore wrapped up his massage by pressing the kids to stay involved with the community veering away from trouble and challenged them to stay smart in the face of the many obstacles we must overcome in life.
Staying healthy, positive, involved, and smart will not only be important to the children of Childs Park but also Moore if he desires to build off his potential and continue on the path of a promising career.
According to Baseball America, Matt Moore was the number two prospect during the 2012 season.
Both David Price and Desmond Jennings will also represent the Dugout Club at various recreational centers in St. Pete.