Leave Things Better Than You Find Them

“I grew up poor, just like you,” explains Albert Pujols. “No matter how successful you may become in baseball or in life, you can never forget where you came from. Never be ashamed of being poor; never forget that Batey Aleman is your home. You will always have a responsibility to your God, your family and your home.”

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This is About God

So many people erroneously think that because the poor live such difficult lives, marred by illness, hunger, gangs and all other symptoms of poverty, that they are somehow used to death around them. I am here to tell you, a parent is a parent in all cultures and classes and that loving bond is not easily broken. Heartache may surround them, but just like us, they still don’t expect to be a casualty. It’s nothing they can ever get used to.

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Anticipating the Launch of Batey Baseball

The anticipation of the official launch of “batey baseball” with Albert Pujols, the president of Rawlings, 60 Minutes, the Pujols Family Foundation and of course Compassion, is evident at Batey Aleman. People have really come together in this community to take ownership of it, to take pride in it, and to give thanks for it.

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Bringing Baseball to the Batey: Rained Out

Yesterday, I made it into Batey Aleman, during a complete rainout. Tropical Depression Bonnie paid a visit and the rains haven’t ceased.

Right before going to the batey, I stopped at the Compassion Dominican Republic office and saw the 87 boxes of Rawlings and Nike equipment lining n entire wall three feet deep. I also learned quite a bit about Albert Pujols involvement in all the details of this league, including the discussions he had with Nike and Rawlings about what the team would look like.

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Bringing Baseball to the Batey

A batey (buh-TAY) is a sugar plantation in the Dominican that mostly uses the labor of Haitians. Most bateys are defunct, but in some case the Haitians have been permitted to stay on the land, living in slums with little clean water or any means of support.

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From Diamonds to Rectangles

Albert Pujols charity Giving back to the community has become chic for many who are in the public eye and have the resources to do so, but for St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, it isn’t about what’s fashionable or what looks good. It’s about being faithful to a God, Who has given him much, and helping the children he loves in his native Dominican Republic.

As Albert steps off one of Major League Baseball’s many well-manicured baseball diamonds, he often finds himself stepping onto the dusty streets of the Dominican Republic. But he’s not coming to play baseball, nor is he coming to instill in the children who live the way he once lived a love of the game he is now famous for.

His mission is to provide to those who are less fortunate something we in the United States take for granted – rectangular mattresses to sleep on.

For many of the world’s poor in places such as the Dominican Republic, a mattress isn’t a necessity: It’s a luxury. For Albert, this is a tangible and lasting way to use baseball as a ministry in his homeland. Through his partnership with Compassion, he is able to provide to those less fortunate something that will last for months and years to come.

But it’s not just mattresses that Albert is providing to the people of the Dominican Republic. To find out what else he’s doing, read his story in the summer issue of Compassion Magazine.

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