Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman raising money for Baton Rouge flood victims
For most of the country, the images of devastation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have faded from view. The national media has turned its attention to other things. As awareness fades, Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles is hoping to use his platform as a professional athlete to raise funds for the victims of the flood.
Gausman, who makes his offseason home in Baton Rouge, has been affected on a personal level as many members of his fiancée's family are dealing with the flood. The Orioles pitcher has set up a GoFundMe page and hopes to raise $30,000 in two weeks. He has pledged to donate an additional $15,000 of his own money on top of whatever the campaign is able to generate.
Gausman spoke with Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun before Wednesday night's game in Washington, saying, "I think one thing that people don't realize is that yeah, the water has subsided but there are a lot of families who have nothing. Even my fiancée's cousin, they have a newborn baby, and she woke up in the middle of the night and put her feet down and there was standing water in their bedroom. People don't realize that it happened very quickly."
"Being that I kind of have a platform down there, too, I just wanted to just do anything I can to bring some awareness and hopefully help," Gausman added.
The flooding in Baton Rouge, which was brought on by three days and over 30 inches of torrential downpours, is the nation's costliest national disaster since Hurricane Sandy. The Red Cross estimates that over $30 million in damage has been done. The initial cleanup that is starting this week is only the beginning for many families who will have to completely rebuild their lives from the ground up.
Gausman hopes that this campaign is just the start to his work in the community. Specifically, he plans to help with a youth baseball team whose players were affected by the flood by providing equipment and other baseball supplies.
"I'm going to try to do some other things for the community down there. It's going to be a work in progress. I'll probably go into the offseason doing some stuff down there too. When you have that many houses affected, it's tough on a lot of families," he said.
Orioles fans are also getting in on the act and pledging to support Gausman, tongue in cheek or not. For the good of everyone involved, an Orioles victory by the score of 10-9 with much-lampooned starter Ubaldo Jimenez getting shelled would be the best possible outcome.
In less than 24 hours, Gausman has already raised over $10,000. You can donate to Gausman's campaign here.