His “Pickleball Season”
López picked up pickleball during the pandemic and kept at it with weekly sessions, humorously dubbing his baseball offseason as his “pickleball season.”.
He and his wife, Kaylee, decided to buy a dog during the 2019 offseason, instantly falling in love with “Bennie.” Despite not having pets while growing up, López talked about a deep connection upon meeting Bennie.
According to founder Carol Caridad, Kaylee has supported Paws4You Rescue by donating dog supplies over the last two years. At the event, the organization showcased three of its 90 dogs, offering them for adoption.
“Pickleball Is A Tiny Version Of Tennis”
Reflecting on his varied interests, López shared, “As an athlete, I enjoy all kinds of sports. Tennis has been one of them, but it’s too risky to play tennis. It’s a lot on the body. So pickleball is a tiny version of tennis, less stress on the body, but you can still have the same amount of fun.”
He also highlighted his growing affection for animals since adopting Bennie, his idea of combining his two passions and creating something positive for the community alongside Paws4You Rescue.
Despite no longer playing for the Miami Marlins, López remains committed to South Florida during the offseason, feeling a sense of obligation to give back to the community. He envisions expanding this event in the future, even considering a version in the Twin Cities.
Undeterred By Drizzle
Undeterred by drizzle during the event, López played singles and doubles matches for three hours, mingling with participants and offering them a chance to play against a professional athlete.
The event conveniently coincided with Give Miami Day, a significant 24-hour charity event, adding even more gravitas to López’s philanthropic efforts.
Expressing gratitude for his platform as an MLB player, López emphasized the importance of using it to support causes dear to him and benefit the community: “I am blessed – just like a lot of MLB players – to have all such amazing resources that are made available to us.
“I think just taking advantage of the opportunity to make something that is a passion for us, something that can be nice for the community, to happen.
“It’s very important, and doing it here in South Florida; I played for the Marlins for five years; I call my offseason home here in South Florida. This community has given me so much. It’s just a little bit, but giving back feels right.”
Humble And Grounded
Many of the attendees at the fundraiser congratulated López on his standout performance in 2023, a year he describes as “unforgettable.”
However, he keeps his feet on the ground and is happy to give credit to Bennie, who comes along to games and training sessions, for helping him stay humble and grounded.
Funnily enough, he credits his dog, Bennie, who often attended Bark at the Park games in Miami or Spring Training exhibitions, for keeping him humble, honest, and in the moment.
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