Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

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.

Pirates Sign Chris Peacock from the American Association

The Pirates recently signed pitcher Chris Peacock from the American Association. This league just so happens to be the same one that John Holdzkom was found in during the season.  So… a pitcher from the independent American Association signed by the Pirates? Sounds like the beginnings of a familiar story, but that is where the similarities stop.

John Holdzkom was in the independent ranks to REVIVE his career after a few chances in affiliated ball. On the other hand, Chris Peacock was in the independent ranks to HAVE a career.  He has never been drafted or played in any level of affiliated ball.  That is what makes the signing of Peacock so interesting. It is a signing that may be surprising to most, but it is very low risk with high potential. This is exactly what teams are trying to accomplish when scouting independent leagues.

Chris Peacock’s baseball resume takes a trip through four different independent leagues with six different teams in a span of only three seasons. If this blog had a poster boy for Independent League travels, Chris would be it.
He started his college career at Faulkner State CC then transferred to the University of Mobile. After graduating from the University of Mobile in 2011, he started his professional baseball career in 2012 with the now defunct North American Baseball League. His first stop was with the Abilene Prairie Dogs. After only two appearances, he was traded to the San Angelo Colts. But after two shaky performances with the Colts, he was released.

After his short stint in the North American Baseball League, Chris turned to the Pecos League where he landed with the Las Cruces Vaqueros to finish out the 2012 season. He made 10 appearances (9 Starts including 1 Complete Game) for the Vaqueros while compiling a 4.31 ERA. Next season, he stayed in the Pecos league for the entire season, but this time with the White Sands Pupfish. He appeared in 19 games, 9 of them starts, with a record of 4-2 and a 7.65 ERA.

Chris started 2014 in the United League with the Rio Grande Valley White Wings. Here he turned his career around while working strictly out of the bullpen on his way to two championship rings. In 30 appearances, he compiled a 5-2 record and a 2.27 ERA for the ULB champions. This was enough to get him noticed by the American Association. Chris joined the Wichita Wingnuts at the height of their post season push in August. He finished out the regular season with 6 appearances in relief and a 2-0 record. In the post season, he pitched in four of the six playoff games with a 2.70 ERA for the AA Championship winning team.

On October 11th, Chris finally left Indy Ball Island when the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased his contract. He is the third pitcher that the Pirates have signed from the American Association this year. John Holdzkom (who finished the season with the big league team) and Matt Nevarez (who finished in AA Altoona) also had their contracts purchased.

Will Chris build off his 2014 season and make the most of his first shot at affiliated ball? Can he pitch well enough to stay off of Indy Ball Island? Only time will tell, but it should be an interesting story to follow!