Max Scherzer just wrapped up his charity, Baseball Cards for a Cause, for the year. Scherzer's program encouraged fans to send him a baseball card, along with a $25 donation, and in return, he signed the cards and sent them back. He did all of this while putting together a strong season that featured two no-hitters. He reflected on the charity, as well as his historic season, with ThePostGame.
ThePostGame: Just to refresh our readers on Baseball Cards for a Cause, can you give a brief summary of what this charity is all about and why you chose to keep it going in Washington?
MAX SCHERZER: This charity allows fans to get access to autographs in exchange for a donation to a charity. I really do enjoy signing autographs for fans of mine, and that's not me just saying that. I, as a player, enjoy making a kid's day by signing a baseball card. I think fans can see the favorite athlete or celebrity seemed turned off by an autograph request. The thing the fan doesn't realize is how the autograph collectors ruined this relationship. They constantly bug you away from the field and will go to lengths that a normal fan won't do because they are trying to run a business out of our time, from chasing you around the field, team hotel, restaurants, and even in line at Chipotle. That's why I think this program has so much potential. It really allows the true fans to easily get access to an autograph and a player knows it's not going towards someone's business.
TPG: Now that the season is over, how do you think Baseball Cards for a Cause went?
SCHERZER: The program was very successful in its first season in DC. We were able to raise $16,700 and with my match donation the Nationals Youth Academy received over $33,000. We are coming up with new ideas for 2016 to grow this program even farther.
TPG: Since the money goes toward the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, have you seen the benefits of BCFC yet? If not, what types of changes will you hope to see at the Academy?
SCHERZER: The funds are unrestricted for the YBA as they continue to grow and provide mentoring and athletic training to at risk youth in D.C.
TPG: I know your wife, Erica, was very passionate about the cause, as well. What has been her reaction to the program this season?
SCHERZER: Erica was very happy with how well the program did this season. She's very active with many different nonprofits and loved how much money we were able to raise for the youth academy.
TPG: There are always fans that want to go above and beyond with autographs, so did you receive any interesting items from fans aside from baseball cards?
SCHERZER: A lot fans asked to have their ticket stubs signed from the no-hitters. That is something we are currently exploring to add to the program.
TPG: Have you seen any teammates or players around the league take notice of BCFC? Do you think this charity is something that could spread across the MLB?
SCHERZER: Yes. This program was created in Detroit by Jordan Fields and after having success there, we wanted to expand what we had started. We are exploring having other National players participate for 2016.
TPG: What does it mean to you to be able to make a difference in the lives of children in Washington and around the country?
SCHERZER: It's really important being in the position I am in. I feel it is important to give back to the game of baseball because the game has given me so much. I want every kid to be able to enjoy the game as much as I do. I want to have an impact on the communities where I live and play.
TPG: Switching gears to baseball, what are your general thoughts on the 2015 season?
SCHERZER: It's such a Jekyll and Hyde memory for me. Individually we had some unbelievable moments throughout the summer. There were some games that we played that I’ll never forget and some accomplishments and awards that players most definitely deserve. However, as a team, we had put all of our success into making the playoffs and by not making the playoffs, made the 2015 season feel like a failure because we were more than capable of doing that.
TPG: With two no-hitters this season, you joined a small group of players to do so. How does it feel to enter this part of baseball history?
SCHERZER: Now that I have had some time to reflect on that accomplishment, it's pretty surreal to be a part of baseball history. I have always believed there is a certain amount of luck involved in pitching a no-hitter. I mean anything little thing can happen when trying to make the other team go hitless. But the thing I'm most proud about is the fact I didn't walk a batter in either game and to me that made both games even sweeter.
TPG: Now that you're in the offseason, what do you like to do when you're not training?
SCHERZER: I love to golf and hike here in Arizona. There are some really beautiful areas around Phoenix. This is my first offseason with dogs and they keep me very busy because they need to be run every day. The other thing I love to do is scuba dive. I have a trip planned for the middle of November to dive in the Cayman Islands and in Cabo San Lucas.