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Rangers to take part in hurricane relief drive

Club will attend equipment drive in Frisco as part of Winter Caravan
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

FRISCO -- A baseball-equipment drive to benefit hurricane victims in Puerto Rico will be a part of the Rangers Winter Caravan stop on Saturday at the Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.

The drive is being put on by the Frisco RoughRiders and Keeper of the Game, a non-profit organization dedicated to athletes with disabilities and special needs which promotes programs that allow those athletes to watch, play and experience baseball at a very personal level.

FRISCO -- A baseball-equipment drive to benefit hurricane victims in Puerto Rico will be a part of the Rangers Winter Caravan stop on Saturday at the Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.

The drive is being put on by the Frisco RoughRiders and Keeper of the Game, a non-profit organization dedicated to athletes with disabilities and special needs which promotes programs that allow those athletes to watch, play and experience baseball at a very personal level.

"I think that foundation does a lot of great things with special kids," Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos said. "They are trying to grow and reach more people. Every time I have the opportunity to work with them and help them out, I try to do it."

The caravan stop will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT at the home of the RoughRiders. Scheduled to attend are manager Jeff Banister, pitchers Matt Bush, Keone Kela and Shawn Tolleson, catcher Jose Trevino and shortstop Elvis Andrus.

The Keeper of the Game equipment drive will benefit the people of Levittown, Puerto Rico, which was hit hard last year by Hurricane Maria. Carlos Ramirez, who is the assistant baseball coach at Weatherford College, is from Levittown and will distribute the donations personally.

Fans attending the free event are encouraged to donate new or gently used baseball gear, children's clothing, baby items and formula. The drop-off location will be inside the ballpark near Guest Services, on the concourse level above home plate.

"Keeper of the Game encourages others to make a difference in the community around them through the sport we all love," Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. "What Keeper of the Game does is necessary and very special."

The organization was started in 2014 by James Vilade, a longtime college coach who is currently an assistant at Oklahoma State and who also worked with the RoughRiders for four years. Vilade was also instrumental in helping start the Diamond Dreams Foundation to honor the life of Mike Coolbaugh, who died after getting hit by a batted ball while coaching first base for the Tulsa Drillers in 2007.

Keeper of the Game works with baseball at all levels, from MLB to the Miracle League. The organization also partnered with Pastime Training Center in November to raise 2,970 pounds of non-perishable food items to the Frisco Family Services Food Pantry.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

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