View Full Version : Dickerson helps club beyond the field

07-08-2008, 02:20 AM
Dickerson helps club beyond the field
Triple-A outfielder implemented a clubhouse-wide green effort
By Brandon Harris / MLB.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Chris Dickerson is admittedly a bit of a news junkie.

Dickerson is an avid reader of Time Magazine and the kind of guy who scours the Internet daily, just waiting for an article, story or report to strike his fancy. And while his teammates at Triple-A Louisville sometimes arrive to the ballpark early so they can relax in the locker room, Dickerson arrives early so he can log on to a clubhouse computer and find out what's going on in the world around him.

About six months ago, Dickerson really got into the global warming issue. He read multiple articles in Time, watched the documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" and read a few books on the subject. But as gung-ho as Dickerson was about stopping global warming, he struggled to think of a way that he, a Minor League baseball player in Louisville, could contribute.

"I'm not going to go out and save the world or implement a cap-and-trade system or anything like that," Dickerson said. "I wondered, 'Where can I start?' I was looking through another magazine and saw an interesting fact -- in the United States, we throw away 30 million water bottles a day. That was an alarming number to me."

So alarming that it has inspired Dickerson to become a pioneer of sorts. A California native, he had an environmentally friendly upbringing and has always been an advocate of recycling. When he saw the number of bottles the United States goes through, the first thing he thought was how much plastic is used in the clubhouse.

From Vitamin Water and grab-and-go plastic cups, to the bottled water and the jugs of Gatorade -- it was clear that his opportunity to help was right in front of his eyes.

"I went into the training room, and the trainer had just bought like 15-20 orders of Vitamin Water and Smart Water -- that's like 700 bottles right there," Dickerson said. "We don't have anything to do with those except toss them in the trash, and I wanted to figure something out. I knew then that this was going to be my thing. I'd been looking for my thing, and I knew that it was going to start right now."

Dickerson started out small. He found a couple cardboard boxes and spread them around the clubhouse -- one in the locker room, one in the training room and another in the coaches' offices -- and instructed the team to dispose of its plastic trash in the boxes. Once they got full, he took the plastic to be recycled.

Though the boxes piled high with plastic bottles and cups, Dickerson still felt there was room for improvement. If the team was using this much plastic -- he and Louisville strength coach Kevin Casula estimated close to 1,000 bottles per week alone -- then certainly something could be done to reduce that figure.

That's when Dickerson stumbled upon MySIGG.com, a Web site that sells reusable, non-plastic, Swiss-made water bottles. Dickerson bought himself one, and later asked the company if it would donate a set of 30 to the team. The initial response was no, but SIGG and StopGlobalWarming.org later got together and agreed to donate the water bottles to the team.

"This just isn't something that crosses your mind," Casula said. "Especially when we have 12 cases of water plus another 12 or 15 cases of sport drinks -- there's so many bottles there. Chris just figured, 'Let's do something.' We've gotten better at it. We all have room for improvement, but this is definitely a start. We're doing what we can, even though it's just a small part."

Dickerson, who said he was "two seconds" away from buying 30 of the $25 water bottles himself, then contacted the City of Louisville and had official recycling bins sent to the clubhouse.

"From here, hopefully as people see these bottles, lights will come in people's heads," Dickerson said. "Hopefully it'll be a viral type of inspiration. From there, I'm really looking forward to getting all of baseball, not just the Minor Leagues but the big leagues, too, to adopt some sort of effort, no matter what it is."

For now, Louisville is definitely doing its part. Trainers and interns have the bottles filled up and ready before every game, and Dickerson's teammates are actively participating in the movement.

They carry their bottles to batting practice before the game, refill them when they're back in the clubhouse and rarely use disposable plastic cups or water bottles like they used to.

Dickerson, a prospect who could see the Majors this season if the Reds need an outfielder, said his future plans include calling other clubs and their officials about setting up similar programs. And if he indeed lands in the Majors, he said he'd like to contact the players' union about making the issue more widespread.

"Hopefully we can start to see something come out of this where other teams start to pick it up, whether it be managers, clubs or whoever, both in the Minor Leagues and the Majors," Dickerson said. "But for now, when I look in the dugout and there are no plastic cups on the ground because everybody has their bottles, it's great."


07-08-2008, 02:45 AM
Pretty neat article. :)

07-09-2008, 03:55 PM
Very cool. Hopefully this starts a trend in baseball.

07-09-2008, 05:12 PM
He also helps by recording more outs with his defense thus shortening the length of games so the lights can be turned off sooner.

07-09-2008, 05:24 PM
I'll have to send this to my kids. When we were in Missouri, both my wife and I and her brother from Minneapolis were surprised at how little my in-laws were able to recycle. We brought some bottles home with us, but a lot more got pitched. Their hometown is considering setting up pick up service, but it's a ways off still.

Bravo for Dickerson. I'd like the Reds to beef up their efforts in this area. They need even more recycling units around the stadium and they need to find a way to have the clean up crews place bottles in recycling and keeping it from the waste stream.

07-09-2008, 10:41 PM
I'll have to send this to my kids. When we were in Missouri, both my wife and I and her brother from Minneapolis were surprised at how little my in-laws were able to recycle. We brought some bottles home with us, but a lot more got pitched. Their hometown is considering setting up pick up service, but it's a ways off still.

Bravo for Dickerson. I'd like the Reds to beef up their efforts in this area. They need even more recycling units around the stadium and they need to find a way to have the clean up crews place bottles in recycling and keeping it from the waste stream.

Minneapolis was decades ahead of their time with Garbage Recycling. I'm serious....this isn't some kind of pun or anything. They were doing it almost 60 years ago.

11-18-2008, 04:09 PM
Dickerson looking to make Reds green
Outfielder leading initiative to cut waste, raise environmental awareness

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- This past summer, Chris Dickerson wanted to do his part for the environment by taking better care of his little corner of the world -- a Triple-A clubhouse in Louisville, Ky. He did so by starting a bottle-recycling program that was embraced by his team.

Dickerson's career moved to a higher level in August when he reached the Major Leagues with the Reds. He's hoping his efforts to help the environment can do likewise next season.

"I'm just trying to make people conscious of how much plastic we use as a team on a daily basis," Dickerson said.

Professional athletes need to stay hydrated and the most popular delivery method of those fluids has been via plastic bottles. Whether its bottled water, Vitamin Water, Gatorade or Propel, teams consume thousands of bottles of various liquids each year.

While playing for Louisville, Dickerson was appalled at the amount of plastic that wasn't recycled once those bottles were discarded. He made recycling bins and stationed them in the clubhouse. The 26-year-old also engineered a donation of 30 water bottles for his teammates from Sigg, a Swiss maker of eco-friendly aluminum bottles.

The bottles are reusable and only require refilling from a water jug. Several players promoted from Louisville brought their aluminum bottles to the Majors with them, including Dickerson.

As word of Dickerson's efforts in Louisville spread through the media, he found fellow ballplayers interested in helping. Jack Cassel, who pitched for the Astros last season, joined with Dickerson to found, weplaygreen.org, a non-profit organization with a mission to bring pro athletes together and create more environmental conservation.

The new Web site is scheduled to launch this week. Dickerson said that Major League players such as Jon Garland, James Shields and Reid Brignac of the Rays and Conor Jackson from the D-backs are also getting involved.

"We're going to be a coalition of athletes from all sports to inspire other athletes and fans to start recycling and cutting down on the enormous use of plastic," Dickerson said. "The amount of plastic used in a clubhouse is amazing. I wanted to inspire other people to bring green awareness and at least be conscious of the waste they consume and do away with."

According to data provided by weplaygreen.org from the Beverage Marketing Corporation, the average one-liter water bottle requires .00052 barrels of oil to produce the polyethylene teraphthalate within it. Americans were estimated to have consumed 31.2 billion liters of bottled water in 2008, which would mean approximately 16.2 million barrels of oil were used to make the bottles. Millions of those bottles are often put into the trash and not recycled.

Once up and running, weplaygreen.org will sell green wristbands, shirts and hats made from recycled cotton with a portion of the proceeds to benefit stopglobalwarming.org. The group also aims to gather donations for high schools and colleges to get reusable bottles and plastic recycling bins.

"We're in a full-fledged effort to get the word out," said Dickerson, a native Southern Californian who started recycling at home at a young age. The movie documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," got him motivated to spread the eco-word.

Although not assured a 25-man roster spot on next season's team, Dickerson has made arrangements with Sigg to get more aluminum bottles for the Reds and hopes to have water jugs and recycling bins set up in the clubhouse next season.

The Reds, who began their own comprehensive recycling program for employees and fans at Great American Ball Park during the 2008 season, are planning to get behind Dickerson and his grassroots efforts.

"We're looking forward to implementing a sustainable-resources initiative that will encompass all green opportunities," Reds vice president of ballpark operations Declan Mullin said. "We're also excited to see how Chris Dickerson's ideas for a recycling campaign will complement our existing programs."

A frequent hindrance to helping the environment is that it can be expensive. The Sigg bottles Dickerson uses sell retail for between $20-30, which isn't exactly what a family on a budget wants to hear during these difficult economic times.

Thinking globally and acting locally doesn't have to hurt the wallet, Dickerson believes.

"The average person can find plenty of affordable reusable bottles everyday. There are other options. The point is to get people to switch away from the use of plastic bottled water."

One has to wonder if Major League players, used to having many things catered to them in a clubhouse and dugout, will make the extra effort to use the bottles and refill them?

"That is the tough part. I can't force them to change," Dickerson said. "I'm going to give them an opportunity to make the change if they want. I'm just trying to do my part. They can have the opportunity to do theirs. I'm hoping that philosophy will be enough to make a subtle change."


Oops. Didn't realize this was in the minor league forum.

11-18-2008, 06:05 PM
I just emailed the mlb.com article to my client who makes the stadium waste receptacles (and recyling units). They're the red cans at GABP and they've also done the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers and just booked the Royals (about four truckloads after the first of the year). They go to the baseball meetings trade show each year and I suggested they ought to bring Dickerson with them.

11-18-2008, 06:40 PM
I think Chris is doing an awesome job. Not only did he do his part now he has so many others joining him. That in itself is pretty cool.

He's also making many others aware of the problem that wouldn't normally look for it. Take me for example, before I read that initial article about his efforts I was completely irresponsible when it came to most issues outside of sports and issues that only affected me. I wasn't oblivious to global warming and it's affects completely or any other american/world issues but I was certainly not a part of the solution and definitely a part of the problem. In essence I was simply trying hard not to grow up even at (then) 35 years old. I avoided the newspaper and tv news so I could go on pretending that it all would work itself out and I didn't need the aggravation. Since reading this and subsequently watching "An inconvenient Truth" conservation & environmental issues have almost overnight become a passion of mine.

I have yet to make a defined impact on anything but I know it's now simply a matter of time. I just kept thinking to myself that I was never more in awe at anything than when I took a short cruise on the Atlantic Ocean back in the late 90's. I kept telling people just how beautiful and amazing it was and that pictures do not even come close to doing it justice. And then I thought of how all that splendor will look after we are done destroying it and how the looks of it weren't even close to the worst of it. It changed my life forever at that moment.

So thanks Chris you are making a difference brother! :thumbup:

Will M
11-18-2008, 09:12 PM

The world has never seen such freezing heat
By Christopher Booker

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs - run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious "hockey stick" graph - GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new "hotspot" in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen's institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)

Yet last week's latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen's methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.

Another of his close allies is Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, who recently startled a university audience in Australia by claiming that global temperatures have recently been rising "very much faster" than ever, in front of a graph showing them rising sharply in the past decade. In fact, as many of his audience were aware, they have not been rising in recent years and since 2007 have dropped.

Dr Pachauri, a former railway engineer with no qualifications in climate science, may believe what Dr Hansen tells him. But whether, on the basis of such evidence, it is wise for the world's governments to embark on some of the most costly economic measures ever proposed, to remedy a problem which may actually not exist, is a question which should give us all pause for thought.


Science is about finding truth. Not about pushing a political agenda or trying to get power. Beware pseudoscience.

Anyone interested in reading counterarguements against the global warming theory should read Bjorn Lonborg.

11-18-2008, 09:58 PM

Science is about finding truth. Not about pushing a political agenda or trying to get power. Beware pseudoscience.

Anyone interested in reading counterarguements against the global warming theory should read Bjorn Lonborg.

I would be happy to delve deeper into the issue on non-baseball chatter. Thanks for the info.