CLEVELAND -- Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano knows that a little bit of his time can mean the world to a young fan. That is one of the main motivations for the pitcher to take part in Wednesday's "Buses for Baseball" program at Progressive Field.
"You never know where the next Cleveland Indians are going to come from," Pestano said. "To have the chance to be able to inspire kids to play hard and work hard, that's an opportunity you don't want to pass up."
Pestano, along with Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, starter Justin Masterson and catcher Lou Marson, spent some time prior to Wednesday's game with a group of 50 children with the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland. The group was provided with round-trip transportation to the night game against the Mariners and offered a chance to meet the players, and receive free tickets, food and souvenirs.
Throughout this season, the "Buses for Baseball" program will provide transportation and meet-and-greets with players for more than 750 underprivileged kids attending big league ballgames. When asked about helping out with the initiative, Pestano jumped at the chance.
"I think it's important for us, when we're in this position, to be able to give back," Pestano said. "Some guys do a lot of charitable work through their wallet and that's great, but I'm not in a position to do that ... My time has to kind of speak for me with stuff I do during the offseason. During the season, it's a lot tougher, so you kind of have to do it when you can.
"Opportunities like this, when the kids are coming to the field, that's really tough to pass up on. It's important that we go out there and show support for them, because they're showing support for us.