For years, Mariner leadership has shouted from the rooftops about J.P. Crawford's innate leadership ability and willingness to rally the team toward common goals. President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto and Manager Scott Servais have praised him for being the heartbeat of this Mariner team. They doubled down on their commitment to the 28-year-old shortstop this offseason when they refused to pay top dollar for one of the big-name shortstops (Correa, Bogearts, Swanson, Turner). That move would transplant one of the team's leaders to second base and possibly force him into a secondary role.
We've seen Crawford's intangibles play out on the field over the past couple of seasons, as this team advanced to playoff contender status. He's been more vocal and a lightning rod of sorts for the second-youngest roster in the league. This week, his intangibles and influence expanded across continents when he reached out to aspiring ballplayer, Dennis Kasumba.
The 18-year-old backstop is a current member of the Ugandan National Team playing both catcher and third base. According to his Twitter feed he dreams of being a Major League catcher someday. Kasumba has recently posted videos showing his makeshift gear, such as stiff paper for gloves and tires strapped to his back for workouts.
This week, Dennis went on Twitter asking people where he could acquire equipment to make his daily sessions easier. Imagine catching a 90-mile-per-hour fastball with nothing but a hard piece of paper or working on your agility and balance by squatting on a cinder block for hours. Fortunately for Dennis, his tweet went viral, with Crawford being one of a hand full of MLB players to reply with promises to deliver the goods.
There is a long list of players and organizations who joined the cause, including former Mariner reliever Chasen Bradford, Dodger's ace Walker Buehler, Dick's Sporting Goods, as well as MLB Network. There's proof that generosity and humanity have a place in the game, and for Mariner fans, there's no better ambassador than our own J.P. Crawford.