KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A's outfielder Jonny Gomes is trying to raise money to offset travel costs for the Petaluma youth team playing in the Little League World Series.
Gomes, who is from Petaluma, is donating money himself, and he gave several interviews Tuesday trying to urge others to donate to help offset the travel expenses of players' family members who want to make the trip to Williamsport, Pa., to watch the Series.
"I think it's part of being a professional athlete to use your star status, if you will, or use the media outlets that you're granted, to give back," Gomes said. "If I was lucky enough to go to Williamsport when I was 12, there would be no chance my family would have been able to go on their own dollar, and how bummed out I would be about that."
Little League International covers the trip expenses for players and coaches but not family members. The cost is estimated at $2,500 per person.
Donations can be made at www.petalumanational.org, and Gomes is arranging to send an autographed picture to those who donate through the site.
Gomes' efforts are the latest example of his bond with the group of 11- and 12-year-olds who are the first team from Petaluma to advance to the Little League World Series. Their first game is Thursday at noon against New England and will air on ESPN2.
Gomes has talked on the phone regularly with the team's manager, Eric Smith, as Petaluma has advanced. His brother, Joey, has served as a hitting instructor to many of the players.
Gomes collected Nike cleats, Franklin batting gloves and Oakley sunglasses to send to the team in Williamsport as a sort of care package, but he found out that Little League already outfits players with new gear through its sponsorships with Russell and Easton.
"I've still got all that stuff," Gomes said. "It will just be little party favors for them when they get home."