Game 6 of the 2014 World Series is tonight in Kansas City! As a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, this is definitely one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I am so grateful for baseball. It has given me the opportunity to do something that I love to do. Baseball has made it possible for me to fulfill my dreams. I'm playing in the World Series for the third time -- that's a pretty big dream!
This year, I have the added joy of seeing my three sons take it in, and dream big dreams of their own. My wife Larisa and I really enjoy encouraging them. In fact, I do my best to encourage everyone. I meet mothers and fathers at the ballpark when they bring their kids to meet the players. When they ask me for advice, I always tell them, "Help your kids dream. Help them dream big." That's what I did as a kid. I didn't know if I could be a professional ballplayer, but I dreamed about it anyway. I could dream any dream I liked!
I had no idea what a privilege that was. When I signed with the Giants, I contacted the San Francisco-based charity Not For Sale, which works to end human trafficking. I thought slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. Was I wrong! Not For Sale estimates that as many as 30 million people are trafficked annually for labor and for sex. We're talking about 30 million people who do not get to dream.
Not For Sale creates safety and stability for survivors and at-risk communities by providing education and economic opportunities. I've been to Thailand to visit some of the kids we help. These kids have awesome talents. It saddens me when I think about how their talents were squandered by the people that enslaved them. They couldn't enjoy the chance to use their talents. They couldn't challenge themselves to grow and reach higher. They didn't dare to dream, not even small dreams.
Imagine not being able to dream at all. It's shocking. These kids only knew one simple desire. "I just want to wake up one day, and not be a slave." Imagine that. "I just want to wake up one day, and know that I'm not chained to the floor; that someone won't come to take the chains off, just to tell me to go have sex with some guy." These are children who never wanted anything more than the chance to simply be a kid. "I'm tired of going to these fields, and working hard every day. What do I get for it? I get put right back where I started. I get hooked to the floor, and I get a chunk of bread thrown in front of me as my food." Kids.
Everyone deserves to say, "One day I would love to..." Everyone deserves to dream that way. But slavery keeps people from being able to say, "One day I want to be..." Slavery kills the very ability to dream.
That's why we have to dream as big as we possibly can. It's through our dreams and determination that we can rescue these kids from slavery and restore them to their talents and their dreams. These kids are suffering and waiting for someone to come and love them -- by saving their lives.
This season, we held a Not For Sale night at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, where we raised funds and awareness. The Royals hosted a Not For Sale night at their home ballpark, Kauffman Stadium. There were Not For Sale nights at ballparks all around the majors. I have a huge heart for people suffering in poverty and slavery, and feel so blessed to be a part of the fight to end human trafficking. We have found a dream that we can dream together. We can end slavery, once and for all.
We're so excited for the rest of the World Series! Thank you for your support.