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Archer meets with RBI participants in St. Louis

@adamdberry
May 9, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- When the Pirates traded for Chris Archer last season, they knew they were getting a two-time All-Star on the mound and a star in the community. But Archer’s impact off the field extends beyond just Pittsburgh, or even the Bucs’ Spring Training home in Bradenton, Fla. Before

ST. LOUIS -- When the Pirates traded for Chris Archer last season, they knew they were getting a two-time All-Star on the mound and a star in the community. But Archer’s impact off the field extends beyond just Pittsburgh, or even the Bucs’ Spring Training home in Bradenton, Fla.

Before the Pirates began a four-game series against the Cardinals on Thursday night, Archer visited the Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club to meet with players from their RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program. Archer previously chatted with a group of high school students in Chicago on April 10 and said he plans to meet with kids across the country this season, as he’s done in the past.

“All of us have a huge platform to help impact whatever we care about,” Archer said. “Trevor [Williams] has Project 34. [Jameson Taillon is] really into helping children with cancer. I want to help not only grow baseball with minorities, but just help them understand they can be successful no matter their circumstances.

“I like helping and showing them that I’m real, I’m a human, I make mistakes. Even with their mistakes, life’s about choice. There’s so much opportunity out there.”

RBI is Major League Baseball’s youth outreach program designed to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth, while promoting greater inclusion of players with diverse backgrounds. Archer said MLB helps him set up visits like the one he made on Thursday; he targets a demographic he wants to help, then all he needs to do is show up and be himself.

“I’ve been super blessed, man, with great parents, a mentor, friends,” he said. “I just want to reciprocate that.”

The message Archer shares with kids is not so much about success in baseball, but success in any walk of life.

“That’s the biggest thing, going to tell kids it’s not about becoming a professional athlete but following your dreams and pursuing what you love and what you’re talented at wholeheartedly,” Archer said. “And you can end up being successful at whatever that is.”

That was Archer’s main talking point on Thursday, then he opened up the floor for questions. Sure, somebody asked him about his pitch grips -- it was a group of baseball players, after all. But the query that stood out to Archer was about personal finance.

“Sometimes it’s about baseball. Sometimes it’s about life,” Archer said. “A great question today was about how to handle finances, because some of those kids are going to jump straight into the working world. Not everybody’s going to go to college. Not everybody’s going to play baseball at the next level. So they were talking about how to manage finances and how to budget.

“It’s cool to be able to help kids on a level more than just, ‘Here’s a pitch grip.’ But I can say, ‘You can prepare yourself for whatever your next opportunity in life is.’”

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.