Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt and his wife Jessica want to have an impact on their new home in Toronto.
The Bassitts pledged on Tuesday to donate US$10,000 every time the Blue Jays win when Chris pitches this season, retroactive to Opening Day. To date, the Bassitts have already committed $120,000 to the charity.
“Every team we’ve been with it’s kind of been a been a one-year thing,” said Jessica sitting in the home dugout of Rogers Centre beside her husband. “We’ve always wanted to get plugged into the community and so now that we’ve signed a three-year contract, we thought that was a really good place to start.”
Bassitt (9-5) signed with Toronto as a free agent during the off-season, agreeing to a three-year, $63 million deal. He started his Major League Baseball career with the Chicago White Sox, then moved to the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets before landing with the Blue Jays.
“One of my favourite quotes that I heard growing up was ‘if you’re blessed, be a blessing,”’ said Jessica. “So I think that with this contract that we have, we really wanted to try to make a difference with where we were going to be.
“We’re just very thankful.”
Proceeds from the Bassitts Pitch In program go to Jays Care’s RBI Summer Edition, a free sport-for-development program designed to enhance the mental and physical health of kids in under-resourced communities across Toronto.
More than 1,000 students from eight Toronto schools are participating in the program in 2023, which features inclusive baseball training, co-operative games, arts and crafts, and team-building, as a complement to summer school.
“We’ve always wanted to do something and it was just about finding the right time,” said Chris. “Then figuring out and learning about Jays Care through spring training really spoke to me.”
Jays Care has also hired and trained more than 300 youth from the community to help lead the program.