Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman is known for his phrase “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart,” but if his actions to support a grieving Saskatchewan hockey community this week are any indication, there might be no measure for the size of the pitcher’s heart.
On the morning of April 7, after hearing about the devastating bus crash that claimed the lives of 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey an evening earlier, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman carried a heavy heart.
“Waking up to that was pretty hard,” he told reporters during a press conference following the game that night. “I had a heavy heart all day to be honest with you, seeing that…a young team having a buch of lives taken from them. It’s extremely unfortunate and tragic.”
If there’s one thing we know about Stroman, it’s that he wears his heart on his sleeve. And when he started the game – the team’s second in the series against the Texas Rangers – he also wore it on his cap. The words “Humboldt Broncos!” were written on the right side of Stroman’s all-over blue Toronto Blue Jays cap, “SK” for Saskatchewan, on the left.
Sportsnet announced following the game that the cap would be auctioned through MLB Auctions.
“Anything I can do to help,” Stroman said. “We’re going to try to raise some money with that hat that I wore today.”
The cap appeared on the auction site April 8 and bidding will remain open util 8 p.m. EDT April 15, 2018. As of today it’s had 68 bids with the current bid at $3,510.
Reaction on social media to the gesture was fast and effusive:
@MStrooo6 you’re a compassionate, thoughtful & caring person- “kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out”- Abraham Lincoln. Thanks for all u do #HDMH “HumboldtStrong ❤️🇨🇦
— UJGM (@imujgm) April 10, 2018
Great look by Stro! Hell of a pitcher, and seemingly a great young man…
— Danny (@DannyDoubleYew) April 9, 2018
@MStrooo6 Honourary Canadian! Height doesn't measure class!
— Craig Andrew (@Craigisphotos) April 10, 2018
Stroman, a native of New York’s Long Island, routinely expresses his love for his adopted city of Toronto and Canada in general. His goal with the cap auction is two-fold: to raise funds and support a community so devastated by loss.
“To everyone in Saskatchewan – I just want to say we’re with you. You’re in out thoughts and prayers. we’re gonna do anything we can to support you guys through a tough time,” he said.
The team bus is a way of life for athletes, especially young men and women who are working toward elite levels of their sport. Stroman said during the press conference that that certainly figured into the impact the tragedy had on him.
“It’s hard to swallow, it’s hard to stomach,” he said. “I put myself in that position – we’re on busses all the time riding through the late nights going to different locations and it really puts life into perspective,” he added.
The entire country has reached out to support the Humboldt Broncos community in the wake of the devastating loss. CNN reported that the GoFundMe campaign established for the victims of the crash with a tractor trailer along Highway 35 is the 5th most “successful” on the platform, raising some $7.3 million (and growing).
The Toronto Blue Jays, as Canada’s Team, has been active in supporting victims of tragedies across the country and in the states. Baseball Media Manager Ryan Brown said that the team has not yet announced any specific fundraising activities, but will do so at the appropriate time. “Right now, our thoughts remain with the community of Humboldt and those affected by this tragedy,” he said.
To bid on Marcus Stroman’s Game Worm “Broncos” Cap, visit the MLB Auctions Site.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Joy Frank-Collins is a Communications professional who got her start writing as a journalist at a daily newspaper in southeastern Ohio. She was born in Reds country, but “found” baseball watching the 1986 Mets win the World Series. A long-time Pittsburgh Pirates fan, she added the Blue Jays as her AL team the day they picked up Russell Martin. She lives in Marietta, Ohio, with her family, who all share her passion for baseball. She loves the suicide squeeze, a crisp 6-4-3 double play and catchers. When not obsessing over baseball, Joy likes to work out, travel and drink wine.