Jered Weaver will be taking time out of his busy schedule for a special job.
Weaver, a California native and ace of the Los Angeles Angels, was recently named a Sports Ambassador for Special Olympics Southern California. That's a return to form for Weaver, who has been a supporter of the Special Olympics since his days at California State University, Long Beach. Now, six years after he left to become a first-round draftee, he gets to go back to his roots.
And in this case, Weaver knows someone near the top. Bill Shumard, who was previously the athletic director at Long Beach when Weaver starred on the baseball field, is currently employed as the president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Southern California.
"Jered Weaver is one of the outstanding young pitchers in all of baseball," said Shumard as part of a prepared statement. "To have him show his support means the world to our 13,000 athletes who are also some of his biggest fans."
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Weaver went 16-8 with a 3.75 ERA last season, setting career bests in victories and innings pitched (211). The right-hander has yet to turn in a losing record or an ERA over 4.50 during his four-year big league career. In his capacity as a Sports Ambassador, Weaver will participate in Special Olympic events, film several public service announcements and provide autographed memorabilia for silent auctions.
The Special Olympics, which were formed in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, have a stated mission to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities through sport and competition. More than 13,000 athletes train and compete in 12 Olympic-type sports for Special Olympics Southern California, and Weaver seemed excited to attach his name and his reputation to such a reputable cause.
"Everyone should have an opportunity to play sports," said Weaver, "And Special Olympics offers that to a group of people who are often excluded from sports activities. I'm happy that I can help to spread the word about a great organization like Special Olympics Southern California and how sports can change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.