Mark Wahlberg helps propel Cooperstown trip fundraiser
While filming on location in Bogota (and being visited on set by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos), actor Mark Wahlberg looked into the camera and gave a shout out to some boys from Duvall.
“Hey guys, Mark Wahlberg here”, he said. “I’m asking you to please support the U-12 Duvall Valley Bombers as they raise money for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play baseball at the Hall of Fame Mecca at Cooperstown, New York. Good luck, have a great time, God bless you all.”
The Duvall Valley Bombers are a select baseball group of eleven players at 12 years of age. Five kids hail from Duvall, four from Woodinville, one from Snoqualmie and one from Carnation. They’ve been playing together for years and are capping off this era of their lives by competing this August in Cooperstown, New York.
After Walhberg’s message was put onto social media, $5,000 in donations came rolling in.
“I had sent an Instagram message to him,” Bomber coach Jim Fowler said. “My wife’s uncle is his pilot. I just mentioned it in the message, and asked if he would be willing to help.”
To Fowler’s surprise, Walhberg’s manager responded that the actor would be happy to do so.
“So in between takes on the movie, he filmed a little selfie,” Fowler said.
The Duvall Valley Bombers were started five years ago. A group of dads wanted to expose their kids to a higher level of baseball. The problem with select programs is that they conduct tryouts and then take only the most talented players. The Bombers wanted to do something a little different.
These Duvall dads created a grass roots team that focused on recruiting kids with great attitude and work ethic, as opposed to simply being the most talented. There were actual cases where talented kids were turned down because their attitude wasn’t conducive to the team’s mission statement.
“We’re still very competitive, don’t get me wrong,” Fowler said. “But we wanted to build the players’ skill set and help them fall in love with the game of baseball. We have never cut a player. We believe that hard work is a great equalizer to athleticism. And we’re big on encouragement.”
The Bombers have been playing 8-10 tourneys a year for the past five years. All the kids also play little league. But while playing for the Bombers, the kids and their families have melded together to form one large family dynamic.
Now as the kids have reached 12 years of age, the group wanted to do something special before the team ceased to exist. Hence, the idea of playing in Cooperstown came into being.
“We will be playing there the week of August 11th,” Fowler said. “One hundred and twenty teams will participate.”
As of this writing, the Bombers have raised $11,225 on Snap-Raise.com. They’re looking to raise another $4-5,000 so they can take everybody on the team.
“At the beginning of this fundraiser, people were saying `Are we really doing this?” Fowler said. “And I was like yes, we’re really doing this!”
Team members include Austin Flatness, Jackson Rees, Jaxen Mentink, Jaxon Fowler, Justin Link, Kobe Shimada, Parker Holden, Ryan Bowles, Tillman Yowell, Tristan Hollis and Ty Vandall.