By Josh Greene
As part of Monday’s first-ever D-backs & Fox Sports Arizona Tweetup, a special guest has been added to the Sports and Social Media forum hosted by D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall.
Reliever Brad Ziegler will stop by to talk about his foray into the social media arena, which consists mainly of driving support to his foundation, Pastime for Patriots.
“Every once in awhile I’ll throw something out there that’s baseball related,” Ziegler said, “but most of it is geared toward promoting Pastime for Patriots. It supports troops and their families and gets them tickets to our ballgames. I use social media as a way to network with fans and get the word out and hopefully they’ll spread the word to people they know so that it will allow the foundation to grow.
“When you want to spread the word, you have to stay current with the technology. In a few years, Twitter and Facebook may be obsolete, but something else may be the next big thing. You have to constantly adapt and be aware, otherwise you’ll miss out on potential supporters for what you’re trying to do.”
The right-hander started Pastime for Patriots last year when he was a member of the A’s and carried it over to the D-backs following his trade to Arizona this summer. So far, over 5,000 tickets have been donated, with 1,000 of those coming at the September 8 D-backs-Padres game at Chase Field alone. He is also in the early stages of helping fund a scholarship program for high school seniors who’ve had a parent killed in the service.
“We’re partnering with another government foundation for the scholarship program,” Ziegler said. “Having a parent killed shouldn’t hinder their education.
“As for my foundation, it’s a full 501-C3 non-profit, so everything is tax deductible. It’s something I’m very passionate about, and it’s also something where I can reach out to these people, meet them and thank them personally for the sacrifices they are making – both the troops and their families.”
When it comes to his philanthropic interests, Ziegler has an active presence on Twitter (@BradZiegler), Facebook (Facebook.com/BradZiegler31) and on the Internet (PastimeforPatriots.org).
“Our website has a lot of basic information, but we’re working on making it more adaptable,” he said. “We can accept donations through the website. Fans can contact me through the website and find other ways to help. Times are hard right now, so if people can’t help donate monetarily, but they can donate their time, we’re more than happy to pass that on.
“More than anything we’re trying to use it as a way of letting people support the troops, but another primary focus is supporting their families. They sacrifice, too. They are away from their loved ones, who are risking their lives half way around the world for years at a time. They don’t have big budgets. They need all the physical and emotional support they can get. If we can get them out of the house for a night and take their minds off things, those are our goals. A family of four can easily spend a lot of money at a baseball game, and we want to alleviate that cost by taking care of the tickets. It’s a night on us.”
A self-professed history buff growing up, Ziegler took an active interest in military history after becoming fascinated with the fighter jets in the movie, Top Gun.
“The more I read about the military,” he added, “the more I realized about all the sacrifice that’s brought us to where we are now in terms of our freedoms and the rights we have as a country.”
Ziegler will definitely reference his foundation’s use of social media during Monday’s Tweetup, that will also include myself, Fox Sports’ Todd Walsh and Jack Magruder, fan bloggers Jeff Summers and Jim McClellan, MLB.com blogger/writer Steve Gilbert and D-backs social media moderator John Prewitt.
“I’m not a brash, outgoing guy with the public,” Ziegler said, “but I do like communicating with my fans and thanking them. I still don’t know many of the D-backs fans, but I knew a lot of them in Oakland. This is a good way to meet our new fans and see the people I will hopefully see at games night in and night out for the next several years.”
For tickets to Monday’s Tweetup prior to the D-backs-Pirates game at Chase Field, CLICK HERE.
For tickets to the D-backs’ remaining regular season home schedule, CLICK HERE.