Tag Archives: independent baseball

Sam DiMatteo and the SD Project – Changing the Lives of Young Pittsburgh Athletes

Sam DiMatteo, a featured player on the Pecos League TV Show, is trying to use baseball to reach out to others and help young athletes in the Pittsburgh area.  DiMatteo has lived in Western Pennsylvania for his entire life and began playing baseball as a young child. He was very fortunate to play in the region from little league through college. Ultimately, the experience he gained helped him realize his dream of becoming a professional baseball player.

Over the last few years as an off-season instructor, he has noticed the steady increase in the cost of playing sports competitively at all levels. Wanting to help out, he created the SD Project to raise money for families with players who struggle financially to play the sport that they love.

I recently interviewed DiMatteo to see what his current plans are professionally and to learn more about his SD Project.

After playing for the Trinidad Triggers and being featured on the TV Show, The Pecos League, you spent 2014 rehabbing from surgery and playing with the Fort Worth Cats in the United League. Do you have any plans for the 2015 season?

I will be playing in the ECBL for the Old Orchard Beach Surge in Maine with old teammate (and another Pecos League TV Show featured player) Jacob Fabry.

You are a baseball instructor during the off-season. How long have you been instructing, and what made you want to help coach the youth in the area?

I have been giving private lessons in coaching from ages six to college for about four years now. Passing down knowledge to the younger kids is something I love to do. And like the old saying goes “It’s not work if it’s what you love to do.” So it’s a pretty awesome situation.

This off-season, you have taken your instructing a step further and started the SD Project. Can you explain what the project is all about?

The project I started is to help out families or kids that struggle financially to support themselves with sports equipment or whatever the case may be. I basically put it out there on the internet, and a lot of people have helped out and donated. It took off pretty quickly. I’ve been helping athletes and families as often as I can with the money that has been raised. It’s just a good way to give back.

Is there a page for donations or are there any local fund-raising events you have planned?

If you go to the go fund me website and type in the SD project, it will pop up. It is very easy to make a donation from there. I’m still looking to raise as much money as possible throughout the season.

Do you see the SD Project as something you will continue to do after your playing days are over?

I would love to keep doing the SD project. Who knows, maybe if it is successful I can make something big out of it and add more people from different locations or something like that. I just have to see how it plays out.

Check out some of the local athletes that have benefited from the SD Project below:

SD Project 1

sd project 2

sd project 3

To find out more about the SD Project or to donate, you can visit the Go Fund Me page HERE.

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Brandon Cunniff to begin season with Atlanta Braves

Former Frontier League pitcher, Brandon Cunniff, will begin the season in the major leagues as a member of the Atlanta Braves bullpen.  A vacancy was created in the bullpen when the Braves traded closer, Craig Kimbrel, to the San Diego Padres earlier today.

Mark Bowman, the Braves beat writer for MLB.com, announced via twitter that the Braves GM, John Hart, revealed that Cunniff would be getting promoted from Triple A Gwinnett to become a middle reliever.

Cunniff played in the independent Frontier League from 2011 to 2013 with the River City Rascals and Southern Illinois Miners before having his contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves on June 21, 2013. He is the third Miner to appear in the major leagues, following Clay Zavada (DiamondBacks) and Tanner Roark (Nationals).

You can read more about Cunniff’s baseball journey including his time in the Frontier League HERE.

Congratulations, Brandon!! Best of luck in the big leagues!!!