Players inspire at annual golf tourney01/27/2011 2:43 PM ET
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Care. Act. Inspire.
That's become the motto of the Major League Baseball Players Trust, and those qualities were evident in abundance Jan. 12-14, 2011, when dozens of active and former players gathered at the Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif., for the seventh annual meeting of the players' collective charity.
The focus is fun -- with some business mixed in. The Players Trust golf tournament has become a highlight for players who team with sponsors to raise some of the money necessary to administer the wide range of programs in which the Trust is involved.
"The Players Trust does a lot of great work around the community, not just in this country but in a lot of Spanish-speaking countries as well," said Chris Capuano, who has been an active member of the Trust since breaking in with the Brewers.
The presenting sponsor for this year's event was 2K Sports, which has been a Trust sponsor since the event's inception. Other sponsors included Glaceau, Majestic, Major League Baseball, Protege Sports and Manfredi Jewels.
The golfers range from youngsters like Zach Braddock and Dexter Fowler to veterans like Mark Kotsay and Trevor Hoffman, who became a former player while this year's tournament was in progress. And even the most veteran players like the idea of rubbing elbows with Hall of Famers Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield, who have become regulars during the tournament's seven years.
This year's event included rounds of golf at Del Mar Country Club and Torrey Pines South, whose grounds crew was well into preparation for the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open. There were also meet-and-greet sessions with sponsors and supporters, a live auction and a laughter-filled night of bowling.
"But it's not all about golf and having fun," Capuano said. "That's a big part of it, but the great majority of players came out a day early to actively participate in the Trust's annual meeting."
What makes the Players Trust different than all of the charities in professional sports is that it's the only one to be run and administered by the players themselves -- an obligation the players take seriously. Thirty-one players and former players participated in the Players Trust's annual meeting on Jan. 12 before many of the golfers had arrived. The all-afternoon meeting is used to establish the Trust's priorities for the coming year.
"We go over all of the different Trust programs, and we collectively make decisions about how we can put our money and resources to the best use to impact the lives of the most people. There is a lot of active player involvement. The Trust is possible because there are a lot of conscientious players who want to make decisions and help run this thing."
It was just another call to serve for this committed group of players and former players. They cared. They acted. And they inspired.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.