KANSAS CITY -- Billy Butler and his teammates hosted a group of children from the Bishop Sullivan Center in Kansas City at the Major League Baseball Players Trust's "Buses for Baseball" event during batting practice on Monday.
The Players Trust provided transportation and game tickets to the children, who were then invited onto the field for batting practice where Butler, Aaron Crow, Bruce Chen, Jeremy Guthrie, Greg Holland and Salvador Perez all signed autographs and took pictures with the group.
"That's an opportunity that they never would have had if it wasn't for Buses for Baseball, the Royals, Billy Butler and the Bishop Sullivan Center," said Nancy Simons, a community member working with the Bishop Sullivan Center. "Most of them play softball or baseball but have never been to a real Major League stadium."
For Butler, it served as a continuation of his work with the Bishop Sullivan Center, which provides emergency assistance in the Kansas City area. Five years ago, Butler and his wife, Katie, started a program called "Hit-It-A-Ton" as a way to raise money and collect food for the Bishop Sullivan pantries and community kitchen. He donates a ton of food (literally) at a cost of $250 for each home run he hits and a half a ton ($125) for each double. Proceeds from his Hit-It-A-Ton BBQ Sauce, Ton of Bar-B-Q Sandwich at Zarda BBQ in Lenexa, Kan., and Blue Springs, Mo., and "FEAR THE SAUCE" shirts also go toward his program.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.