An all-American charity

A Shield reporter ran down the hallway of the Technology Center at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday shouting, “Is anyone a Toby Keith or baseball fan?” Five minutes later, two students replied, “I am a fan.”

Don Mattingly, the Miami Marlins manager, will host a fundraiser “An Intimate Evening With Friends,” which will feature a cocktail reception, a question and answer session from Mattingly and Albert Pujols, who played for the Cardinals for 11 seasons and country singer, Toby Keith who will conclude the event with music entertainment.

Marcus Gribbins, a freshman undecided major, said he is a Toby Keith fan and respects his music.

“All of his songs are very patriotic … and ‘American Soldier’ is my favorite song, because of the snare drum,” Gribbins said as he demonstrated the drum beat.Gribbins said he believes it’s a great fundraising event, but feels students should be able to attend.

“I just think it should be cheaper,” Gribbins said, “because we live with no money right now and people don’t understand that.”

Breanna Rutz, a sophomore theatre and English teaching major, said she understands the price of tickets since it’s a charity event. However, she said if she could afford it she would attend.

“(The event) is not going to be majorly (Keith), it’s an entire event and that’s why I would basically go, because of him,” Rutz said. “I like music that’s country and he is country.”

Rutz said her favorite song is also ‘American Soldier’ because her father is a military veteran.

Mattingly said he was inspired to invite Keith since they are good friends and he has watched him perform a few times.

Mattingly said his charity started about four years ago, when he was traveling and saw many leagues struggling with funding equipment.

“We always wanted to do something here at home, the RBI program (Reviving Baseball in the Inner-city), is bringing the opportunity to play to less fortunate kids,” he said.

The manager said the goal for his charity is to not just get children playing baseball but to change their lives by providing them with life skills and mentors and teachers. Since baseball found him as a child, he has been inspired to help.

“(My wife) and I have both been affected in that way,” Mattingly said, “and that has carried with us everywhere we go.”