A's and bake sale to help Japan relief efforts

Oakland Athletics' Hideki Masui smiles at a news conference announcing the team's plans to aid in the Japanese Tsunami recovery in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Matsui has personally donated funds to the Red Cross to aid Japan Tsunami victims. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
April 1, 2011 11:37:32 AM PDT
Two of the most legendary baseball stars from Japan face off against each other in the Oakland A's season opener tonight against the Seattle Mariners. It's more than a battle of baseball titans. They will also draw attention to victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami.

Getting to watch either Hideki Matsui or Ichiro Suzuki play baseball would be a treat. Getting to see both of them playing against each other at the A's home opener is like baseball heaven.

"We have Ichiro against Matsui - two of Japan's biggest stars of all time for Major League Baseball," said Oakland A's VP of sales Jim Leahey.

The A's are clearly excited; they've even created a t-shirt for Matsui they'll hand out to 10,000 fans on Sunday. But there will also be a serious tone to the weekend. The team wants to bring awareness to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"We're going to have a dollar per ticket donated to Japanese relief. We have already raised about $50,000 to help those who are suffering there," said Leahey.

Both players have donated significantly to the cause and the uniforms they wear today will be auctioned off to raise more money for the victims.

And it's not just baseball that will be thinking about the people of Japan this weekend. Cooks will also be pitching in for the victims as well by holding a nationwide bake sale. An Oakland woman organized the relief effort - her second. She also did one for the victims in Haiti.

"I knew it would be a bigger effort than last year, but I had no idea it would spread so far, so quickly. It's been really amazing," said bake sale organizer Samin Nosrat.

The Bay Area Red Cross said the timing of these fundraisers is great -- given that the tragedy happened three weeks ago.

"After some time has passed, the interest tends to wane, especially when things are happening in the world to get people's attention. So donations tend to drop," said John Ruiz of Red Cross Disaster Services.


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