Monday, March 29, 2010

Through The Eyes Of...Garrett Berger and The iFungo Ordinance Bat Line

The following is part of a weekly series called "Through the Eyes Of....". In each segment, I share interviews with or stories about those that I view to be the "Good Guys."
"Through the Eyes of..." is a part of my personal crusade to present baseball in all it's beauty, splendor, and goodness, instead of through hashing and rehashing all that is broken with our National treasure.

It is 12:40 a.m. and my family has been asleep for nearly four hours, while I am still glued to the longest double shutout I can ever remember.

Fifteen innings, 11 hits total and zero runs scored between the Red Sox and Yanks. In my world, believe it or not, it doesn't get any better than this.

As I write, A-Rod deposits one in the seats and the play-by-play man dubs him a hero. I chuckle to myself. Partially in disgust, as the Sox have fallen another game behind the Bronx Bombers, but due in part to the announcers loose use of the word "hero."

I flip off the tube and decide to finish my Q and A piece with Garrett Berger, the first pick of the Florida Marlins in the 2001 draft. Quite fittingly, Garrett Berger knows who the "true heroes" are and is doing something about honoring them.

You see, Garrett Berger is the owner and CEO of iFungo. And while our troops are fighting around the globe to ensure our freedom, Garrett Berger is doing all he can to make sure we don't forget them while they're away.

So, as you read my interview with Garrett Berger and learn about his new Ordinance Line of baseball bats, remember...A-Rod's not a hero. The men and women of the US Armed Forces and their husbands and wives and children who are waiting for them to come home are our heroes.

Civ: After baseball, you started iFungo. How did this come about?

GB: The idea was presented to me and then I immediately jumped at it. I thought it was a great idea and concept and had always thought it would be beneficial for people to sell premium products to all players.

My first few years in pro ball, I saw a demand for high-end equipment, especially for those players without agents. Now, not only do we supply minor leaguers with their equipment, but now we make professional equipment available to the masses.

Civ: Explain what iFungo does/is.

GB: iFungo supplies all players with high-end equipment. Whether you’re a professional or a professional at heart we offer the same equipment the guys on TV use and make our amateur/professional players more confident in their pursuit of their dreams. Whether it is pro gloves or big league bats, we have it all.

Civ: Who have you met in the baseball world that readers would know; your coolest brush with greatness?

GB: Playing for six years in affiliated ball you meet a lot of great players and great guys. The past two years playing for Tommy John was a priceless experience. The players that were on my team as well made my time there a very humbling experience.

Between the guys I played with and the guys I played against, it made a great experience playing with the true professionals like them.

Civ: Tell me about your new venture with USA Cares.

GB: iFungo has teamed up with USA Cares to create a way to give back to the brave men and women who defend our freedom. We call it the “iFungo Ordinance Bats.” These bats are very special in every sense of the word.

Family members can now purchase bats with their soldiers name and rank on Line One, as well as, a personal message to them on Line Two.

Fifty percent of every bat sold will go to USA Cares and our goal is to reach 555 bats by 9-11-09 so we can donate $10,000.

We just had a bat sold the other day with the personal message, “Husband, Father…Hero.”

With personal messages like these you can feel the type of power and emotion we are bringing to the table with these bats. I am truly grateful to be a part of something like this.

Civ: What did USA Cares say when you came to them with the proposal?

GB: They loved the idea. There are a couple of wood bat companies that have had similar ideas but none of which were willing to donate 50% to them. They have been great about trying to help us get this cause out there.

Civ: Who do you see buying the bats?

GB: Anyone. Businesses, families, celebrities, anyone who wants to supports these brave men and women.

We would love celebrities to purchase these bats and take them overseas when they visit the troops so they can sign them and give the troops something special, while helping a great cause and organization in USA Cares.

Soldiers can even purchase them for their sons or daughters to be used in their games! I mean how great would it be to have the son or daughter of a soldier step up to the plate swinging a bat with their parents or family member's name on it. If that doesn’t give you confidence at the plate, I don’t know what will!

Civ: Do you have family or friends in the military?

GB: Yes my parents' god son is in Baghdad right now; as well as I know a few friends over there as well.

Civ: How is the program doing so far?

GB: Its going great! We have received a great response of people about the bats and how they love the overall concept. So now it’s all about spreading the word of mouth and getting these amazing bats in the hands of soldiers or soldiers' kids.

Civ: Do you envision kids of the military using the bat in a game or displaying it?

GB: Yes. Think of the power in this. A player is playing in a wood bat tournament and his family member is serving overseas.

He steps up to the plate with an ordinance bat with his family members name and a personal message on the bat saying, “We love you son” or “Swing hard!” If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, you're un-American!

Civ: Think back, if you were the child of a military person using one of these bats in a game, what would be going through your little head?

GB: This is all theoretical for me, because I could never say I was one of those kids, however, I can only imagine the confidence that this bat would be able to provide for these players.

They won’t have to think what horrible things there family member is facing because right before they step in to the box they can see them saying, “It’s ok” or “We Love You!” Very powerful stuff!

To order your iFungo Ordinance Bat go to

Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for the Bleacher Report and Seamheads. He can be reached at with comments or story ideas.

He is also a supporter of "A Glove of Their Own", the award winning children's book that is capturing the heart of the nation. For more information visit the site at and purchase under today's donor code USC247 USACARES.

No comments:

Post a Comment