mlb Archives - Athletes for Hope

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Mental Health Athlete Spotlight

Mental Health Athlete Spotlight

Just another player: How David Kubiak found joy in baseball

From college baseball to 36th round MLB draft pick to securing spots in 4 different organizations, David Kubiak’s baseball journey has been a series of ups and downs. 

Many baseball players picture themselves being drafted and having a long and lustrous career in the majors, but that is oftentimes not the case. Kubiak was cut from the Tampa Bay Rays on the last day of spring training and two years later found himself in Independent ball before taking time away from the game.

photo of David Kubiak pitching

“I think I still had some left in the tank,” Kubiak said. 

Upon his return to baseball, he went on to play several years in the Frontier League and Atlantic League before playing in the minors again. Stints in Mexico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic have brought him to where he is today, playing winter ball. 

While it is a windy path, Kubiak counts his blessings for being able to play the game he loves for a living. 

“I was fortunate enough to get drafted,” he said. “I probably would have played four or five years, now I’m in my twelfth. The stability of affiliated ball is fickle for sure.”

Whether it is the politics within baseball or the sheer number of talents, Kubiak found himself in a unique position. On two separate occasions he decided to take a step away from the game, and each time he came back with a positive attitude. 

As a “faith-driven career,” baseball’s landscape is not for everybody, and mental health is an essential piece to the sport. 

“Mental health is finally starting to make its way into normal, non-taboo talk,” Kubiak said. “When I grew up it was kind of just shut up and play. You just wear it.”

Photo of David Kubiak meditating before a baseball game

The direction sports is headed in the mental health space has carved out roles for people like Kubiak to become advocates, sharing their stories and helping others find peace. 

Kubiak serves as Marketing and VIP Relations Coordinator at WhiteFlag App, a mental health app dedicated to changing the way people communicate and heal. He has worked with dozens of clients and ambassadors to help promote the app and change lives. 

He doesn’t try to mask his own struggles either. 

“I wasn’t happy playing,” Kubiak said about the times he had to step away. “It wasn’t fun to come to the field every day and that wasn’t how I wanted sports to be.”

His support system at home and two years of therapy have helped Kubiak realize that he is not alone. 

Photo of David Kubiak celebrating after a great performance on the mound.

“Everybody goes through this stuff, everybody has insecurities no matter how much people tell you they don’t,” he added. “It’s nice to have somewhere to outlet that.”

The resources being invested in the game from mental skills coaches to other athletes who have struggled speaking out are a few ways in which baseball is helping their own. 

David Kubiak may not have had the easiest journey, but he has found happiness within himself after every twist and turn. 

“Mental health is a really important part of sports,” Kubiak said. “I’m really glad it’s starting to come out of the shadows.”

Sport for Good Highlight

AFH Sport for Good Highlight: Major League Baseball

On March 30, all thirty MLB teams played on Opening Day to officially kick off the 2023 season. While the next seven months will be full of incredible moments on the baseball diamond, we will also be keeping an eye on what teams, players and the League are doing off of it.

Baseball’s ability to bring people together is one of the virtues that has long made it our National Pastime. The game affords all of us with countless opportunities to create memories for fans and to impact the causes that are important to them. For Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs, this unique stature represents a true privilege — one that we honor.

Robert D. Manfred Jr., Commissioner of Baseball | Accessed via

MLB is no stranger to using the power of baseball to create social change and positively impact communities all over the world. Check out some of the recent highlights (courtesy of of players and teams doing just that as we get ready for a great season ahead!

Image shows three former MLB players (Raul Ibanez, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard) with a mom and son at an outdoor hospital event. The Marlins mascot can be seen in the background. Text on image reads: MLB brings smiles to young cancer patients in Miami" with a call to action to click to read the article

““There’s nothing better than a smile on a child. To see the children walk out, and the first thing they saw was Billy the Marlin — [there were] hugs immediately, smiles and laughter. And that’s really great. Especially knowing they were here today for treatment. They had big smiles and were ready for fun.”

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“This month, while it is about history, I think it is really important to remember that it is about our now and learning from our history and [learning] how we can continue to make change in the future and continue developing a better groundwork for the next generation.”

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Image shows a Zoom screen with youth and players. Text reads: "Red Sox celebrate BHM with career panel for young Black scholars" with a call to action to click the image to read more.
Photo of Blue Jay's Manoah with a young child on a baseball field. Text reads: "Manoah gives back with kids camp in hometown" with a call to action to click the image to read the full article.

“Being able to have a platform, being able to live out my dream — [it] started out as just a dream, just like all these kids. They’re just dreaming to be in the big leagues.”

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“[The Yankees] are committed neighbors, and we’re always looking to engage our neighbors and community partners to make a difference. That’s what we’re doing today; we’re making a difference. We’re going to make sure that individuals throughout the holiday season have a smile on their face.”

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Image shows a line of people receiving flyers outside Yankee stadium. Text reads: "Yankees give back to the Bronx on Thanksgiving" with a call to action to read the full article by clicking the image.
MLB logo (red and blue with a white outline of a player about toe hit a baseball) with text that reads: "Learn more about MLB's community service initiatives via" with a call to action to click the image to visit their community page.

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Yankees’ Player Luke Voit Helps Kids Get Active

On Thursday, September 19th, Luke Voit of the New York Yankees took a break from the MLB playoff push to recognize the kids at William Lloyd Garrison Elementary School for their participation in the Active Schools program. Even though the school is only a couple of blocks from Yankee Stadium, this was the first visit from a Yankees player in years. During his time with the students – all of whom wore their favorite Yankees gear – Luke acknowledged their commitment and dedication to the program and then participated in a handful of physical fitness activities with the kids. It was such a fun day for the kids, that they won’t soon forget Luke’s visit!