Billy Butler is a Sophomore Outfielder for the University of Rhode Island Baseball Team (Rhody Baseball). Butler was an All-State talent at Ponagansett High School and has had the attention of Rhode Island baseball fans and professional scouts for many years running. He is the type of player that you put your phone down when he steps into the batter’s box. Imagine that!!! Last summer at an NCBL game in Wakefield at Old Mountain Field, I saw Butler hit a ball so hard it nearly hit the outfield fence before he stepped out of the batter’s box. This Rhode Island baseball star has a very powerful swing. And now he has a powerful message to share about fighting a disease close to his heart, Alzheimer’s Disease.
On several social media pages for Rhody Baseball, I read about a fundraising pledge campaign entitled “Rhody Baseball Helping Fight Alzheimer’s“. According to www.alz.org, the official website of the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.” For those of us that have been affected by this disease, I can honestly say it is a very emotionally frustrating situation. My grandfather was a larger than life figure to me growing up. He and I spent a lot of time together talking sports especially baseball, golfing, and chatting about Springfield College, where he graduated from in 1941 and where I would eventually attend and graduate from. Around the time of my sophomore year at SC, my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia and eventually Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t even remember my name or that I went to Springfield College. From a personal standpoint, I know first hand the frustration and often sadness that this disease brings to family and loved ones.
I wanted to learn more about this fundraising effort so I contacted a few of my Rhody Baseball contacts. I reached out to David Fischer, URI Baseball Director of Operations, who messaged me “Billy Butler came up with the idea and was backed by our athletics department and coaching staff. Great idea and even better cause.” Kevin Vance, URI Baseball Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, who is helping Billy and another Rhody baseball talent Alexarmando Diaz on the pledge campaign, wrote to me “This is Billy Butler’s idea and I’m just helping him. It’s pretty “grassroots” you could say. Excel spreadsheets and names of people that pledged via text, social media, etc. Alexarmando Diaz another player of ours is helping with the graphics as well.” Billy and I messaged via Twitter and he wrote that, “This fundraiser means a lot to me especially since I started it to honor my grandmother who recently passed from Alzheimer’s.” Here is more from Billy, via his Instagram page, regarding the fundraiser and his motivation:
A few weeks back I had the idea to start a fundraiser in honor of my Grandmother who passed away recently. She had Alzheimer’s disease and I always thought of how unfair it was that she couldn’t remember anything or would always ask me the same questions over and over. It was a struggle for her and as well as my family, especially in the last few years of her life… With the help of Coach (Kevin) Vance, Alexarmano (Diaz) and the rest of the amazing people at URI we have started a fun and engaging pledge based system to raise money to hopefully do our part to eventually end this disease forever! I am calling all of my friends, family, teammates, and followers to come together and help find a cure for this disease that affects so many families around the world! #endalz
The “Rhody Baseball Helping Fight Alzheimer’s” pledge program is a fantastic way to support the Rhody Baseball team on some many levels. Each strikeout, win, hit, and home run recorded during the season corresponds to a specific monetary amount for the campaign. There are 5 levels of support so there is surely one that fits your budget. For example, if you pledge your support at a Level 2 and the URI Baseball team wins a game, the Rhody pitchers strike out 10 batters, record 10 hits, and hit 5 home runs, your contribution to fight Alzheimer’s would be $8 for that game. After the season, the game wins, strikeouts, hits, and home runs will be calculated for your pledge level and that will be your donation to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. Very cool concept and idea. And judging by the talent on the Rhody Baseball team, a ton of money is going to be raised for this “Rhody Baseball Helping Fight Alzheimer’s” campaign.
Best wishes to the entire University of Rhode Island Baseball team as they begin their 2021 season. And thanks to Coach Fischer, Coach Vance, and Billy Butler for sharing this information with me. Great job Billy and I will definitely sign up to support your pledge to end Alzheimer’s Disease. If you would like to participate in the “Rhody Baseball Helping Fight Alzheimer’s” pledge campaign, here is how you can get involved.
Sign-Up Form – Rhody Baseball vs Alzheimer’s
Rhody Baseball Facebook Page – Rhody Baseball (you can also make a one time donation through this FB page)
Follow Rhody Baseball All Season – Rhody Baseball Schedule (They start their season today, February 19th!!!)
The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.