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Rachel Maddow's "Operation Iraqi Baseball" - UPDATE


Operation Iraqi baseball

July 15: Rachel Maddow has an update on the Iraqi national baseball team, announcing the donation of new baseball gear to the team.

Since MSNBC video refuses to play well with LJ on the embedding front, here's the link to the video segment.  Transcript is below.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/31931461#31931461


But first, an update on what we‘re calling “Operation Iraqi Baseball.” Yesterday, “The McClatchy” news service ran a story about the Iraqi national baseball team which has precisely one baseball jersey for its entire squad and that‘s from a Japanese team. They have three baseballs, nine gloves that they share, and one 5-year-old softball bat. This is the Iraqi national baseball team.

McClatchy reported the Iraqi Olympic Committee has given the team enough money to enter into the international associations they need to enter if they‘re ever going to get a shot at playing another country‘s team. But other than that, they are financially tapped out. Plus, no one in Iraq sells baseball gear even if the team had the money to buy it.

Now, if you‘re a fan of this show, you may have noticed that the staff of this show and a certain host of this show happen to be big, gooey, emotional saps about sports. And so, therefore, in response to “McClatchy‘s” story I mentioned on last night‘s show that we‘ve been seeing what we can responsibly do to get the team some gear.

We didn‘t mean for that literally one sentence mention in last night‘s show to be a huge deal, but we did get a huge response on Twitter, by E-mail, by phone, from friends and from famous people and from regular viewers, coast to coast and beyond.

We got offers of everything from money to used gear to new gear to shipping help to contacts in the Iraqi government to contacts in the American government who might be able to help. The response was honestly overwhelming and really heart-warming.

Here‘s the deal. Here‘s the update. We are trying to keep it simple. There isn‘t anyone in Iraq we can figure out who sells regulation baseball gear so we have no option but to ship some in.

We have an agreement with someone who will receive the gear from us in Baghdad and deliver it to the team. The assistant coach of the national team is helping us with the logistics. He knows the gear is coming. And he‘s apparently very psyched.

We‘ve got the team‘s jersey sizes and they‘re getting their feet measured for their cleat sizes tomorrow. I bought a case of baseballs today and an official rulebook. They are already in our office. We have an agreement from a company to field us - to provide us with bats, batting gloves, fielding gloves, and cleats for the team. They should be delivered on Friday once we have shoe sizes from the men tomorrow.

We have another agreement from another company to make custom jerseys for the team. They will get 20 jerseys. And at the team‘s request, they‘ll have the post-Saddam Iraqi flag on the front and the words “Iraqi baseball” on the back above the number. Those will take some time to produce obviously and we‘ll ship those as soon as they‘re ready.

So in terms of gear and logistics, I think we‘re pretty much set. I will give you another update once the stuff is on its way. We‘re thinking probably either Friday or Monday. In the meantime, thank you. Thank you to the folks who are donating things we‘re actually sending to the team. You will get further thanks from me later.

Thank you also to the folks who offered to send gear that we‘re not going to be able to send and to people who offered logistical help and the people who offered donations. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Here is my last request. Don‘t let the generous impulse you had toward these Iraqi baseball players go to waste. It is more than just the thought that counts.

At our Web site today, at Rachel.MSNBC.com, we‘ve posted online donation links for charities that provide humanitarian help and supplies and in some cases even sports gear for Iraqi civilians.

And they do it in a way more sustainable way than any TV show could ever handle. If you were moved to help these Iraqi baseball players by this story, and so many people were, please think about making good on that impulse and making a donation if you can. The links again are at Rachel.MSNBC.com. We will have more to come.
 

Sources

rachel.msnbc.com
Transcript
Operation Give


So, yeah.....this really makes me happy!
Tags: iraq, rachel maddow
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