Most major leaguers head south in the off season, but not Carl Pavano.
He has a thing for the snow and Okemo, so he has turned to the Ludlow Rec Center for his winter workouts.
"Thanks to Howie -- he lets me use some of the facilities," Pavano says. "The gyms and the basketball courts which enables me to throw and keep my training going. It's a perfect fit."
Rec director Howie Paul says he is happy to open the facilities to Pavano. But a few months ago, he had to ask for a favor of his own.
Tropical Storm Irene took out the Ludlow Little League's home turf, washing away tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment downstream. After seeing the extent of the damage, Paul said he knew someone who could help.
"I made a couple phone calls to some MLB players association reps they told me what kind of steps I can take to help. Gave me some numbers to foundations to call," Pavano says.
The Ludlow little leaguers may have no idea where Charlie's pizza is or where Darien FD is based out of, but they do know they are thankful to have these jerseys to play in this season thanks to a very special donation.
"Eithin a week they called back and said we are going to give you everything you need," Paul says.
A Philadelphia-based organization called "Pitching In For Baseball" came to the rescue, sending these two boxes full of brand new baseballs, helmets, uniforms, gloves, pitching machines -- any and everything else baseball -- enough gear to outfit 12 teams.
"Like xmas times 10," Paul says. "We had a big event when the equipment came in. Carl came down, David Rhodes from Pitching In For Baseball came up from Philadelphia. To see the smile on the kids' faces and how happy and excited they were that is what this is all about. All about the kids."
During this time of rebuilding so many people need help, but Pavano said he chose a group he knew would be last on the list.
"Howie had said that most likely these would be things that would be left last to be picked up because of the budgets in Vermont and the shortfalls and stuff like that," Pavano says. "I took it upon myself to put it on the front burner because I have the ability to do that."
"With all the chaos going on that is where they would want to go, and when it's not there it makes things tough," Paul says.
Pavano says it doesn't matter if you are gearing up for spring training in the major leagues or just little leagues, new gear always helps when it comes to the win column.
"You always feel like you are that much better when the stuff is new," Pavano says.
It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of a rebuilding year.
Sunday, December 8 2013 5:16 PM EST2013-12-08 22:16:48 GMT
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