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Rays Pitcher Uses His Platform For Charity

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Dirk Hayhurst, otherwise known as The Garfoose and author of the bestselling book The Bullpen Gospels, has recently begun collecting funds for Japanese victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami. Using the MercyCorps website, Hayhust previously raised fund for victims of the the Haiti earthquake and the floods in Pakistan.

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According to Hayhurst, who often speaks lowly of the baseball profession (both in his book and his blog), his fame as an athlete would be amiss without greater causes underlying it:

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I'm an athlete, for the time being, and as long as I am one I will use my platform for as much positive impact as I can. I'll never tell you you MUST donate to a cause I champion, but I will do my best to encourage you toward things I think will help those in need or at disadvantage.

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Hayhurst is raising funds for a Japan-based charity, Peace Winds Japan, and has mentioned on his blog how he wants to someday play in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league (the Japanese equivalent to the MLB). Hayhurst has promised to call and chat with any donors who give $50 or more within the first 48 hours (he originally posted the offer Saturday, March 12).

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The tragedy in Japan has resulted in what Prime Minister Naoto Kan described as "the worst [crisis] since WWII." Recent reports suspect over 10,000 people may have died in just a single prefect (or county), while across the rest of Japan, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.

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To donate to Dirk Hayhurst's MercyCorps page, click here.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.