Over the past two years, and continuing in 2016, Good Sports, the Tampa Bay Rays, and pitcher Chris Archer have teamed up to provide donations of equipment and apparel to youth programs in Florida.  In that time more than $78,000 in donated equipment has supported over 4,150 kids in Charlotte, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties.  Additionally, Good Sports and Chris have made donations in Raleigh, North Carolina, valued at nearly $60,000 supporting nearly 4,400 children.  Altogether, these donations have provided 8,547 children with over $138,000 in equipment.

Chris recently took some time to speak with Good Sports about the importance of youth sports and why he enjoys teaming up with Good Sports.

Why do you believe as an athlete it’s important to give back to the community?

Athletes are looked up to as role models for so many people, especially children. Being in that spotlight is an opportunity to show how much impact we can have on the community. That should be the major focus for every celebrity, athlete, and entertainer. We need to embrace our roles in the lives of children who look up to us and tell kids to focus on things that will make them successful in the future not just athletically, but also academically. We should use our success and highlight it in a positive manner.

It is becoming pretty well known that reading is an important part of your life. How do you feel like that love of reading has shaped who you are today?

It’s helped me understand that all successful people have gone through some type of adversity in order to become who they are. Whenever I’m reading about Frederick Douglass and how he was a slave, but taught himself how to read and when he was freed became one of the biggest Civil Rights activists of all time or about Nelson Mandela and how he was in prison for 27 years only to become president of his nation, me reading and educating myself about these people overcoming these obstacles and odds that are way tougher than anything I will experience allows me to see how I can be successful through my own very minor struggles.

After the season you had an opportunity to become involved with ESPN and their telecast for the playoffs, it was universally very well received. What was that experience like for you? Do you see sports broadcasting as part of your future after baseball?

It was a really cool experience. My favorite part of it all, though, was going to the World Series. I’ve never been to a Super Bowl, NBA Finals or World Series event and being there, being in that atmosphere, made me want to participate in that as a player. That was the number one thing I took from it. I think it would be fun to be an analyst in the future, 20 years from now when baseball is all said and done. Going out and educating people about what’s going through a pitcher’s head and letting them know what’s going on in the play at a deeper level than what they may see. I’d be more than happy to do it again with any network!

What did your recent nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award mean to you?

It meant a lot. Anytime you’re recognized for being yourself, it’s a little strange, but seeing the other players who had been nominated made me take a step back and realize, wow, this is a really high achievement. It’s almost equal to being the MVP on your team because they’re basically saying you’re the most valuable person in the community on your team. Not only am I trying to be the best player I can be, but also be the best person I can be and have the best possible impact I can on the community and my peers. Getting nominated for that award was validation for that.