Barry Zito is pretty darn cool.
"At the risk of mixing a baseball metaphor, Strikeouts for Troops has been an unqualified hit.
"Our expectations were to help the Marines and whoever else wanted to be recipients," Zito said in the hallway outside council chambers. "Other than that, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.
"It’s not about (being) pro-war or anti-war. It’s about helping our fellow Americans who are out there. I felt that so much of the anti-war stuff that was going on, we were forgetting that these people were putting their lives and their limbs on the line for us. So it’s really just making a statement to say, ‘Listen, you can feel however you want politically, but baseball is behind the men and women that have the courage to go out there.’ "
"Among the benefits of life-altering wealth and national celebrity are the funds and the forum to affect meaningful change, to use one’s prominence and discretionary income to "give back," if only for the image and tax advantages that accrue. Some athletes establish charitable foundations for the purpose of appearances, for providing employment to family or friends, and some spend so much on administrative costs that few dollars are left to distribute.
"Barry Zito’s deal, however, elicits no eyebrow-raising. Everything that is raised, he says, goes toward reimbursing the families of injured servicemen and women. What is required for administrative costs is paid for by Zito personally."