The Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners are in Japan to play baseball, first and foremost. But there's a pretty cool secondary mission that's going down on Tuesday, involving tsunami-related charity work.
The Athletics, Mariners and MLB traveling parties all headed over to Ishinomaki, Japan on Tuesday to visit the tsunami-ravaged village and meet with local Little Leaguers, do a baseball clinic, eat some food and hand out a $500,000 check.
"I think, first of all, we're honored to be part of something like this," MLB Senior VP of international business operations Paul Archey said, per Doug Miller of MLB.com. "And humbled. When you go through the city to get here, it really makes it personal.
"I've heard the Commissioner say many times that baseball is a social institution and a global institution, and that's never more evident than today and what you see going on here."
The A's and Mariners had a number of different reps: players Tyson Ross, Tommy Milone and Evan Scribner repped the Athletics, along with special adviser Phil Garner and president Michael Crowley. And players Hector Noesi, Hisashi Iwakuma, Alex Liddi were the face of the Mariners along with manager Eric Wedge.
Oh yes, and perhaps the most popular members of the entourage: A's mascot Stomper the elephant and M's mascot Mariner Moose, both of whom posed for pictures and spent the afternoon hugging the children.
The kids getting the visit have predominantly been displaced by the tsunami, forced out of their (likely) destroyed homes and not spending their summer on the same diamond they're used to playing ball on. Which makes what these two teams are doing this week more than worthwhile.