Extra Bases: David Thompson On A Mission

Extra Bases: David Thompson On A Mission

It’s not often college students take study breaks right before finals – especially to travel outside of the country. But for sophomore David Thompson, the decision to pack his bags for a trip to Cuba last week was a no-brainer.

As part of a mission trip with LOGOI Ministries, an organization based in Miami which equips thousands of pastors and church leaders worldwide, David embarked on the four-day excursion alongside his father Ed – who serves as the organization’s president.

“I just realized how blessed I am and everyone here really is,” David said. “People were crying when we brought them small gifts – a Christmas tree, a bag of baseballs, little things. They have nothing. We always want more, more and more, and we have to take time to realize how blessed we are.”

The organization was founded in 1968 by David’s grandfather, the Rev. Les Thompson, who passed away two years ago. David, whose father is now in charge of the nonprofit organization, has a dream to rise to the same position when the opportunity arises.

David, his father, family friends of the Thompsons and Alberto “Al” Valdes, who works for LOGOI as an instructor to aspiring preachers and pastors, traveled around Havana, Placetas and other nearby Cuban towns. They handed out workbooks written by Les, stopped at churches and delivered donated baseball equipment.

“There were 30 leaders of church that were trying to become pastors that were being trained,” David said. “These people aren’t in possession of much material. They have a Bible and really that’s it. The main thing is teaching them how to get into it, read it and understand it more.”

Among other countries LOGOI frequents are Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. David said he might return to Cuba next summer – to take part in a church baseball league tournament that takes place every July.

“I’m so happy I went,” David said. “The thing I took away the most is how the game of baseball can give you opportunities to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

Locker Room Upgrades

The Forty Nine Degrees design team paid a visit to the University of Miami baseball locker room at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field last week, and the results were typically impressive. The company, which also worked on designing the DiMare Gallery of Champions inside the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence as well as the BankUnited Center offices, is set to return for the final installments in January.

To view a gallery of the installations, visit TheUBaseball.com.

Early Returns Are Positive

Much has been made of the Hurricanes returning all three weekend starters from last season’s staff, which combined for a 3.38 ERA. Baseball America profiled lefty Andrew Suarez in its first top 100 college player rankings of the season.

The 2014 returning pitching statistics are staggering: 442.0 innings (80.1%), 31 wins (83.7%), 357 strikeouts (79.8%), and 59 of 62 starts (95.1%). Not far behind are returning hitting numbers, including 353 hits (69.3%), 61 doubles (73.4%), 174 RBI (70.4%) and 12 of 14 home runs (85.7%).