"I'm really excited this year," Dickerson said prior to a
game with his newest team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the Triple-A International League. "It's definitely a transition, we kind of stumbled upon it. We had this idea that there was a big need for recycling for old appliances and things like that. We did a trial run last year and had an unbelievable response. By midday we had filled up two 18-wheelers of TVs, hard drives and keyboards. We collected 275,000 pounds of e-waste despite it raining on that Sunday."
It was such a success -- the largest e-waste event ever held by partner Global Environmental Services -- that the Reds called wanting to know when they could do it again this season. And that was with Dickerson no longer being with
the organization. The outfielder was traded to Milwaukee
last August for Jim Edmonds.
That was of no big concern to Dickerson. Things were fairly
well established on the ground in Cincinnati, so Dickerson
didn't necessarily have to live there to make sure a second
e-waste campaign ran smoothly. One of the keys has been
player buy-in. Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs were there last
year, and knowing that big leaguers would be present
certainly helped the turnout. This year, Stubbs and Bruce have
re-upped to help out, with Mike Leake and Ryan Hanigan
lending their support as well.
"It's a community thing," Dickerson said. "It really allows
players to get involved with the community, rewarding people
who participate in the event by getting to meet the players.
The players helped them unload the cars. It was really fun
to watch last year."
"We're getting corporate sponsors on board," said Cassel,
who spent 10 years pitching professionally, with parts of
two seasons in the big leagues on his resume, and is now a
financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in San
Francisco. "It's starting to pick up some momentum, which is
very exciting for us.
"The Reds are promoting it within their stadium. We're
working in unison with the clubs. promoting our cause of
Dickerson's trade to Milwaukee, then, seemed to be a
blessing in this regard. It was an easy choice of a place to
expand the e-waste effort, and being that the Brewers and
Reds were in the same division, the collection in Cincinnati
was going to be scheduled when the Brewers were in town. But
then came the trade, and now Dickerson will have to watch the
drives in those two NL Central cities from afar.
"The only thing that throws a wrench in is that I won't be
there," said Dickerson, who along with Cassel gave Steve
Skelly much of the credit for organizing everything on the
ground. "But we got enough work done in Spring Training, we
both agreed what needed to be done. With guys hopefully
making an appearance there, the event will continue to be successful.
"[The trade] did throw me for a loop because I won't be
present. I was supposed to be present in Cincinnati as well.
The players' involvement will help. It shows great character
on their part."
Players for the Planet hopes to expand these collections to
other markets. There are plans in the works for Kansas City
(Cassel said Mike Aviles and Chris Getz are their "players
on board" for the event), and Dickerson added that there's
interest in San Diego as well.
"I'd like to see it continue to grow," Cassel said. "We have
other things on the agenda, but this one has kind of come to
the forefront because it's been generating revenue, which
allows us to continue with the education side of it.
"I could see us doing 30 of them. We're doing it with
baseball because that's our world, but it could be with any
town with any sports team. It's just hooking up with the
"I think if you go to more progressive cities like Seattle,
even a Washington D.C., there's even greater awareness of
the environmental aspect," Dickerson added. "I can see it
going into other markets. In Washington, it would be a great
addition to their green program.
"Hopefully the success will be something that can't be
ignored by the other 26 teams in baseball and we can reach
out to many more next year."
While it is branching out in a new direction, it does fit perfectly into Players for the Planet's mission: raising awareness of the world's consumption, reducing waste and getting professional athletes involved in the effort. Regardless of where one might stand on the issue of climate change and global warming, Dickerson feels that everyone can feel comfortable with making a difference in efforts like this.
"It's been three years now [since the organization was created], and I think it has become more of a significant
issue in the public eye," Dickerson said. "When I first got over here to Scranton...a
perfect example here is my teammate, Greg Golson. He just recently got into the environment. It's an example of how athletes and people are still discovering that there's a lot of stuff that needs to be done. There are a lot of environmental issues that need to be dealt with. I think there will continue to be a greater interest, and from athletes, who will have the greater pedestal.
"Over the past five or six years, we've had a great debate about global warming, but you can't ignore the fact that there's a need for a cut in consumption in this country and around the world, in how we use our plastic and how we recycle."