Chad Bettis honored with the 2017 Tony Conigliaro Award
Chad Bettis' battle with testicular cancer was a prominent storyline throughout the 2017 season. The Bettis family exhibited toughness, openness, positivity and grace throughout the entire process-which included surgery and chemotherapy-and used their platform to educate fans around the world.
For his inspirational story and efforts to raise funds and awareness for testicular cancer, Bettis was named the recipient of the Boston Red Sox's 2017 Tony Conigliaro Award in voting conducted by a 21-person committee of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, fan representatives and Conigliaro's brothers, Richie and Billy.
The Conigliaro Award has been given every year since 1990 in memory of the former Red Sox outfielder whose career was tragically shortened by a beanball in 1967, and whose life ended in 1990 at the age of 45. It is awarded to a "Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C."
"Being the recipient of this year's award is nothing short of an honor,'' says Bettis, who received the award on Jan. 18 at the Boston Baseball Writers' dinner. "I feel like the award goes beyond just myself, [I'm forever grateful for] the help and encouragement of my family and teammates and the entire Colorado Rockies organization.''
Bettis' 2017-18 offseason was far more low-key than last year, and he continued his efforts for cancer awareness and fundraising. On Jan. 11-12, Bettis partnered with the Testicular Cancer Society to host the Chad Bettis Charity Classic, a two-day gala and golf event at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. A number of Rockies players were on hand to support Bettis' mission, as well as many men and women from the general public.
2018 Rockies Caravan
This year's Colorado Rockies Winter Caravan visited three states, 10 cities and hosted 25 total events with 19 players and Manager Bud Black in tow, as well as three Rockies alumni, GM Jeff Bridich and Dinger. The Caravan is a time for fans throughout the Rocky Mountain Region to interact with their favorite Rockies players, and the Rockies were involved in various community initiatives along the way as well.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, Mike Dunn, Tom Murphy and Trevor Story participated in a special event with Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County held at Colorado State Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo. The following day, the same group, with the addition of Scott Oberg, held a youth clinic at Lincoln Park Barn in Grand Junction, Colo. Ryan McMahon, Mike Tauchman and Cory Sullivan visited Archuleta Elementary School for an assembly on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and later met up with Vinny Castilla to meet patients at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colo.
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman and Pat Valaika made their way over to HUB Restaurant located on Fort Carson to meet some base personnel, service members and their families. The day wrapped up with a visit to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo. And on one of the last days of the Caravan, Freeland took Gray and Valaika back to the elementary school he attended, Holm Elementary, for a presentation of the Make an Impact Program delivering positive messages for the assembly of students.
Rake Up Colorado
On Nov. 10, a group from the Rockies front office went out into the Ballpark Neighborhood around Coors Field to participate in the Rake Up Colorado program. Rake Up Colorado is a longstanding program through Volunteers of America and the Safety of Seniors Handyman program that pairs low-income senior citizens and individuals with disabilities with groups that can rake their yard and assist with basic yard work before the winter cold hits.
Holiday Gift Card Donations
In what has become an annual holiday tradition, individuals from the Rockies front office participated in a grocery store gift card drive in mid-December. Employees came together to donate nearly $1,100 in gift cards, which will make a difference for seniors in the Denver Metro Area. The Senior Hub, a local non-profit agency that supports low-income older adults, was the beneficiary of the grocery store gift cards this season. The Senior Hub's mission is to advance the quality of life for seniors through advocacy, community partnership and direct services to help sustain an independent and healthy aging experience.
Front Office & Dinger Projects
The Rockies front office, as well as Dinger, continue to give their time to the community by participating in various volunteer programs throughout the year, even in the offseason.
Early in the offseason on Oct. 13, Dinger and some of his friends visited the Ronald McDonald House to help decorate for Halloween.
On Nov. 24, Dinger helped kick off the holiday season at Union Station's annual Denver Grand Illuminations event, where he helped flip the switch to turn on the lights in Lower Downtown Denver, turning the Union Station lights to green and red.
Dinger went to Coyote Hills Elementary to visit the winners of the Rockies Youth Essay Contest on Dec. 8. 2017, marking the 15th year of the annual contest in support of the rich Hispanic Heritage within the Denver community. The writing topic last year was "Make an Impact," which was inspired by baseball legend and humanitarian Roberto Clemente, not only for the way he played baseball, but also for how he always sought out ways to help his community thrive.
Dec. 13 marked the Rockies' first Holiday Pizza Party at the Boys & Girls Club's Owen Branch. It was a fun-filled afternoon celebrating the holidays by designing photo frames, creating ornaments, making candy cane reindeer and paintbrush Santas, listening to holiday stories and decorating cookies. "Dinger Claus" also made an appearance to help the kids make gifts for their family and get in the holiday spirit.
Dinger and Rockies staff also hung out with kids from St. Rose Lima School at the Gold Crown Foundation Field House in Lakewood, Colo., on Dec. 17 hosted by Gold Crown Foundation, a great afternoon filled with games, cheers and contests. The Rockies maintain a longstanding community partnership with the Gold Crown Foundation, a non-profit youth sports organization that emphasizes educating youth and community through sports and enrichment programs. The Rockies partner with the Gold Crown Foundation on numerous community projects each year, including the maintenance of Keli McGregor Field at All-Star Park in Lakewood, Colo.
The organization continued its offseason outreach on Jan. 25 as Rockies staff volunteered at the City of Aurora America's Promise Career Expo for middle and high school students.
And on Feb. 8, the Rockies partnered with Goodwill to serve as mock interviewers for high school students from all over Colorado who are finalists for major college scholarships. The students were preparing for the rigorous interview process each of the foundations require. More than 100 students attended this year's event at Goodwill Industries of Denver, interviewing with a panel of three Rockies volunteers.