Minor Leaguers help fundraising effort

Players support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines

The YouCaring page has already raised almost $1,000 for the victims. (YouCaring.com)

By Ashley Marshall / MiLB.com | November 25, 2013 6:31 PM ET

A group of Minor Leaguers are putting their competitive differences aside this holiday season to raise money for something much bigger than baseball.

Led by White Sox pitching prospect Jake Floethe, nine players from seven Major League organizations recorded a video to help fundraise for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The early-November typhoon devastated parts of Asia, killing more than 5,000 people and causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage across the Philippines, China, Vietnam and Taiwan. The United States of America has already donated more than $20 million to relief efforts.

All of the proceeds raised through the YouCaring site go directly to Direct Relief, a California-based nonprofit organization that coordinates humanitarian medical aid.

The idea of a collaboration video came to Floethe earlier in the year after seeing the response of players and fans on social media outlets to other natural disasters.

"I'm friends with Archie Bradley and Anthony Ranaudo," Floethe said, "and about a year ago they both did fundraisers to raise money for the victims in their hometowns -- Archie for the Tornado victims in Oklahoma and Anthony for the victims in New Jersey when the hurricane [Sandy] hit.

"I saw how much money they raised to help out. We have so many Minor League teams in so many areas of the country with big fan bases, I thought we could easily raise some money to help the victims of these tragedies inside and outside the USA."

Floethe set up a donation website, penned a script for the video and then reached out to teammates, friends and opponents to help spread the word.

Floethe said he was overwhelmed with the support from fellow players, including MLB.com's No. 7 prospect Archie Bradley, Giants No. 9 prospect Gary Brown and former Montgomery teammate Michael Colla.

Miami's Justin Nicolino -- ranked 58th overall -- and Rays' No. 17 prospect Jake Hager also appear in the video, as do Brewers first baseman Nick Ramirez, Indians pitcher Nick Pasquale and Rays second-rounder Lenny Linsky.

Loethe got each player to record a short video, which he then edited into the final 84-second piece.

"Baseball is such a tight-knit family and players have a lot of followers throughout the Minors and college," Floethe said. "Hopefully, we'll bring them together and see how much money we can raise.

"I figured I could get guys together like Archie and Gary and raise money and show that Minor Leaguers can make a difference. We care about the community, we're not just baseball players."

Among those in the video were Colla, who spent time with Floethe in the second half of 2013.

"I was roommates with Jake in Montgomery and we became friends," Colla said. "He went to Fresno State [University] and I'm from Fresno so we had mutual friends and knew the same places. When he told me his idea, I said, 'What can I do to help?'

"Whether you have 500 or 15,000 followers on Twitter, the network of Minor League guys retweeting here and there helps things spread like wildfire. We're opponents, but we're also a family and that's important."

Floethe hopes the website can become an established place for players, teams, friends and family to donate whenever tragedy strikes.

Brewers farmhand Nick Ramirez said he was happy to be a part of the video.

"I went to college with Jake and our friendship carried over in pro baseball. I was all about helping the project out and helping him out.

"It means a lot. You're helping people who have no idea who you are, but you're giving back. It's crazy to see all the players from different organizations in the video, but this is a cause that can hopefully do some good for the victims of Haiyan."

To learn more or to donate, visit the YouCaring website. You can also show your support by Tweeting with the hashtag #MiLBRelief.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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