Pitching in for a cause

JOE HASENSTAB | Staff Reporter

The Butler baseball team has taken time out of its busy schedule to get involved with a charity known as “More Than Me”.

More Than Me   is a charity that works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tyler Beede, a pitcher at Vanderbilt University, founded the movement along with the help of former Butler baseball player Brad Schnitzer.

“I worked for Make-A-Wish as a wish granter in Chicago, and when he started telling me about his organization, I said, ‘That would be a great way to get athletes involved in Make-A-Wish and a lot of other great community organizations,’” Schnitzer said. “So basically what More Than Me became was kind of a way to get youth, collegiate and professional athletes involved in community programs.”

The charity raises money for donationa through selling T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts and hoodies with the “More Than Me” logo on them. Its goal is to have athletes at different universities across the nation support the movement.

“A lot of organizations ask for donations, but we kind of want to give the students something to show that they’re involved in this organization,” Schnitzer said. “The shirts did it in a cool way.”

Each member of the team bought a shirt in Butler colors, white and navy. The money from the shirts directly benefits the Indianapolis Make-A-Wish chapter, Schnitzer said.

Junior pitcher Eric Stout was the one who helped get current Butler players involved. He, Schnitzer and Beede all work out in the offseason at a gym in Boston, Cressey Performance.

“We talked over winter break about it when we were in Boston, and (Schnitzer)  threw out the idea of getting a bunch of colleges to support the More Than Me logo and the students getting together and supporting local charities,” Stout said. “He thought it would be a good idea to start off with small colleges and guys we knew through summer ball or college ball.”

Schnitzer said Stout was not the only one at Cressey Performance that wanted to get involved.

“The gym is just full of guys who are great athletes but even better people that all want to help out,” Schnitzer said. “So we used More Than Me as a way to get them all involved in their community.”

The charity is currently working in affiliation with four Make-A-Wish branches across seven states. Other college athletes from schools including Vanderbilt, Long Beach State, Air Force Academy  and North Carolina State are showing support for the charity, too.

Butler players realize how important it was for their team to be a part of the More Than Me movement.

“It’s just a good organization, a good way for us to give back,” junior outfielder Michael Fries said. “There’s a lot of things in life bigger than baseball. Any contribution we can make to help Make-A-Wish, or any foundation like that, is positive, not only for our program, but it’s a nice thing for us to be able to do.”

The More Than Me campaign is a way for the team to help the less fortunate.

“It’s important to help people who are less fortunate,” senior infielder Marco Caponi said. ”The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a great cause, and the More Than Me foundation goes along with that.”

Schnitzer said athletes have a specific reason to want to get involved—to show their gratitude to be able to play the sport they love while inspiring  those who are unable to play them.

“They’ve been blessed to play sports at a high level, and there’s a lot of kids that don’t get that opportunity,” Schnitzer said. “There’s a lot of kids that have life-threatening illnesses, and they see the athletes giving back and it really helps them and is important to them.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in the More Than Me movement can go to mtmovement.com to buy apparel and support the cause.