How does a starting pitcher with 108 strikeouts continue to rack them up on a team off-day? Rangers starting pitcher C.J. Wilson accomplished the feat by hosting his second annual "Strike Out" Bowling Tournament at Splitsville Lanes on Thursday. After that, Wilson will have to wait until Sunday afternoon to pick up a few more strikeouts against the Boston Red Sox.
For now, his emphasis is more on his charity and less on bowling a 300.
C.J. Wilson's Children's Charities assist all children and their families that are affected by chronic, life-threatening illnesses.
This isn't Wilson's first charity event to host. He is also an avid video game enthusiast and has hosted numerous Guitar Hero competitions. While each event has its share of first-time attendees, some devotees have been there from the very beginning. Wilson appreciates each of them, and on Thursday cited long-time supporter Frank Smith.
"Frank comes to all of my events. He's a good friend and has come to all eleven of them so far. All around, he's an awesome dude," Wilson said. "So these are the kinds of fans that the Rangers have -- that are dedicated all the way through,"
"C.J. is a cool person. I've actually gotten to get to know him a little bit through these events, and also, it's a really good cause. He doesn't have to be here. He could be sleeping right now. This is his off day and he's using it for a good cause," said Smith.
Wilson's inspiration dates back about four years when he, along with other Rangers players, visited children staying at Cook Children's Medical Central to provide a distraction to the otherwise sterile scenery. After seeing a young boy named Micah sitting off to the side, Wilson went over to talk with him. Shortly thereafter, Robert Champagne, Micah's father, sent him a grateful letter of appreciation through the social networking website MySpace, and they have been close friends ever since.
Soon after the special hospital visit, Robert and C.J. collaborated to form C.J. Wilson's Children's Charities, for which Robert serves as president. The charity helps to purchase video games, entertainment systems and develop gaming rooms for kids admitted into Dallas/Fort Worth hospitals for treatment.
"What we are trying to do here is bring community awareness and let people know that there are children's issues out there and getting people out here. It's not really about raising money for us. It's about raising community involvement and awareness," said Champagne.
The event drew special guests, including All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus, team mascot Rangers Captain, and general manager Jon Daniels. Although one might expect Andrus and Wilson to be mobbed for autographs and photos, Daniels had his fair share of fans as well.
"It's pretty impressive for C.J. to take the initiative," Daniels said. "Obviously a lot of our guys do their own things but C.J.'s so out there, he likes to interact with the fans, get out and mix it up. It's for a great cause. I just wanted to come out to support him and the charity."
Whether it's throwing strikes on the diamond or the lanes, C.J. Wilson always enjoys delivering for a good cause.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.