The Columbus Clippers right handed pitcher Jack Cassel does work both on and off the field. In December of 2008, Cassel along with Cincinnati's Chris Dickerson started the non-profit organization We Play Green to utilize professional athletes to help promote environmental awareness.
"Our niche is using the players from inside the clubhouse and out." Around the sports world many stadiums and arenas use recycling receptacles to help out the environment but most do not use them in the clubhouses. "Our goal is to start an initiative to put those recycling receptacles in the clubhouses," Cassel said.
Water bottles are a common thing around a baseball clubhouse, especially in the hot summer months. An estimated 31.2 billion liters of bottled water were consumed by Americans in 2008, according the Beverage Marketing Corporation. By not recycling those water bottles the waste produced further harms the environment.
"It's essential for us as athletes to stay hydrated especially throughout the summer months, which equates to thousands upon thousands of bottles," Cassel said. These recycling receptacles give the players a way to help out their environment. "Use your bottles, continue to hydrate, do what you do but just make sure it gets in a recycling receptacle."
A number of athletes have got on board to help We Play Green and its efforts to help the environmental crisis. Brothers Justin and Matt Cassel, Matt LaPorta, Ryan Braun, Chase Utley, Cat Osterman, and Suzanne Stonebarger to name a few.
"It's a good collection-growing collection of guys and female athletes and everybody's really jumping on board, we're getting a lot of good feedback from it," Cassel said.
Cassel is doing his part to on the field as well. "The biggest thing for me is my fastball command," Cassel said. Major leaguer Russell Ortiz once told him, "If you hit your spot you do what you're suppose to do, if it moves it's just a plus."
Cassel comes out with one thing in mind when pitching. "For me it's to go out there each day and give our team a chance to win, go as deep in the game as I can," Cassel said. "If we win it's awesome, if not then hopefully I gave our team a chance to win."
"We're a very good team," says Cassel. "Unfortunately we've had a couple bad games that have turned into a couple of bad series, it's just a matter of plugging that hole and turning runs into wins."
When going through some of those tough games, Cassel has his wife Julie and one-year old daughter Nellie with him to put it in perspective. "Even after the bad days, she (Nellie) doesn't know dad had a bad day at work," Cassel said with a smile, "she loves me just the same."
That love carries over on the field; Cassel loves the pats on the back and the feeling that comes with accomplishing your goal of winning each game. "Whether it's a good day for you personally or not, you're overall goal is to win the game and come together as a group." Cassel said. "To achieve that goal is something a lot of people unfortunately don't get to experience," says Cassel. "That's something that baseball gives us on a nightly basis."
Huntington Park is filled with a good group of guys in this 2009 season. "This is a really fun team," says Cassel. "You go to war with them every night, you become brother-like and it's a lot of fun." As for Huntington Park, "it's a great place to call home."
For more on We Play Green, visit www.weplaygreen.org.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.