Campesinos manager Daniel Robertson gives instructions during Mavericks league tryouts in April (Submitted).

The Mavericks Independent League has attracted ballplayers from across the country, all for the opportunity to continue playing the game that they love.

While the Mavericks League does provide host families, there is no compensation available for the players. 

Campesinos de Salem-Keizer manager Daniel Robertson recognized the sacrifices players are making to compete in the Mavericks League and wanted to do something about it.

“Their love of the game and the dream of opportunity brings them here to Salem-Keizer, and we want to make their stay more comfortable,” Robertson said. 

Two weeks ago, Robertson started a GoFundMe page, asking for financial support from the community, so that he could provide game-day meals to Mavericks League players. He is asking for $20,000 of support — as of press time, the page had raised just over $2,000.

Robertson’s plan is to hire local restaurants in the Keizer-Salem area to provide pre-game and possibly post-game meals for the players.

Robertson, who played for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians, also spent nine seasons in the minor leagues and is especially familiar with the difficulties that come with playing semi-pro baseball.

“I have skipped meals before a game. I know what it is like. That is what I felt inspired to do this,” Robertson said. “I wanted to do something to ease the burden for the players.”

Robertson also believes that connecting with local restaurants to provide meals will naturally bring more fans to Volcanoes Stadium.

“It all stems back from my playing days. My teammates and I were ingrained in the community, and it won us fans,” Robertson. “That is how you grow something naturally. We want this league to be great, but we have to build it naturally,”  

Along with helping players get fed, Robertson is also hoping that this fundraiser will be a benefit to local restaurants that have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I know that there are many restaurants that are in need, and possibly being able to provide a boost for them would be huge. You can’t put a price tag on that,” Robertson said.

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]