Pedro Martinez is going above and beyond to help the Dominican Republic cope with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, and he’s not doing it alone.
The Hall of Fame pitcher has developed a coalition of more than 40 Major League Baseball players to create the “Step Up to the Plate” fund aimed at supporting coronavirus relief efforts in the Dominican Republic, according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera.
So far, the coalition (run by the Pedro Martinez Foundation) has raised more than $550,000 for items like essential supplies, personal protective equipment, food and more.
“The Dominican Republic has always been my home, and right now it truly needs our help,” Martinez said on a video call with ESPN, per Rivera. “Being supported in this effort by so many of my fellow players is an honor. These are people without the most basic needs, and we are blessed to be in a position to help, and it is our duty to do so.”
A number of past and present MLB players (all of which hail from the Dominican Republic) have pitched in their efforts, including fellow Red Sox legend David Ortiz. Martinez’s wife, Carolina, is helping lead the charge.
“The focus of the help we’re providing will be twofold,” Carolina, who happens to be the director of the Pedro Martinez Foundation, said. “First, we are providing food to needy families, especially to the many that have lost their jobs. Players will be in charge of distributing meal kits in their respective communities. Second, we are providing protective equipment to our medical personnel. As it happened all over the world, the Dominican Republic is short on medical supplies to deal with a pandemic of this magnitude. It’s amazing and humbling to see all these players and artists come together to support our homeland.”
Martinez said he’s received MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s word that the league will help the cause.