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And Now For Something Completely Different

Today is a day off for the Cubs. Much as many of us would like to see player or management moves made today, I suspect we'll wake tomorrow to the same sad cast and crew.

So today, I wanted to present to you something positive, something that will, I hope, remind all of us why we are Cubs and baseball fans, and in so doing, do something for some people who really need help.

My daughter Rachel has a good friend who is a HUGE Cubs fan. Her name is Jenna and she is 12 years old, and a year from now, she will be Bat Mitzvah. As part of preparation for that, she has created what is called a "Mitzvah Project". For those of you who aren't Jewish, this is basically doing good deeds in the community, for those less fortunate than you are.

And, as you might guess from a kid who's a baseball fan, it's baseball-related. Here, in Jenna's own words, is her project:

I have been collecting autographed baseballs since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa signed balls for me back in 1998. Before the home games, I wait outside Wrigley Field or inside during batting practice and ask the players to sign my baseballs. It takes a lot of time, but usually the players are nice enough to give me their autographs.

Since my Bat Mitzvah is coming up next August, it was time to choose a mitzvah project. I decided to find projects that involved my love of baseball. This summer I volunteered for Keshet's Buddy Baseball Program. Keshet provides educational and recreational programs for children with special needs like autism. I enjoyed this because I could help kids with special needs enjoy baseball by helping them hit the ball or run the bases.

I also decided that I wanted to raise money for some of my favorite charities. I created the Jenna Shaw Bat Mitzvah Mitzvah Project. I have decided to have an auction and auction off my favorite autographed baseballs on eBay. I am excited because the Cubs and their sponsor Walter E. Smithe chose my mitzvah project to be part of their "Best Seats in the House" Contest. They have given me their 2 seats right behind home plate for this season's Sunday September 17th game against the Reds to use in my auction. The highest bidder gets to not only sit behind home plate, but also pose for pictures on the field and have their name on the scoreboard. Although the Cubs are not having their best year, it still is a great thing to do!

Money raised from my auction will go to 3 charities. The first charity is Cubs Care. They help underprivileged kids play baseball by sponsoring programs throughout the city. The second charity I want to give money to is ADHD research. I have ADHD and it makes it hard to learn. I would like to help others with this. The third charity I want to give money to is Keshet's Baseball Program. From spending time with these kids this summer, I was so touched by how much the baseball games meant to them and their parents.

The auction will begin on September 5, 2006 and will run for 7 days on eBay, ending at midnight on September 12th. I hope you will check out the site and bid on these items. Thank you so much for helping make this auction a grand slam.

This auction is not yet posted. I have been assured by Jenna's parents (who are posting the items) that it will be up in the next day or so. To find the auction items click here, on eBay's "Items by Seller" link, and enter "mitzvahproject" (no quotes) as the seller's User ID.

Check it out. You might find something you'd like to have for your personal collection, and if you do bid and win, know that you are contributing to what I think is a very worthy cause.

UPDATE [2006-9-1 15:59:11 by Al]: I accidentally misspelled the eBay user name above. It is "mitzvahproject". Items will be posted soon.