SAN FRANCISCO -- Like other players, Giants left-hander Barry Zito takes a break from baseball during this time of year. But with charitable endeavors, Zito knows no offseason.
Zito and his wife, Amber, will appear on NBC's "Today Show" on Friday morning to donate toys on behalf of Major League Baseball. This marks the third year that MLB has participated in the television program's annual Toy Drive.
The Zitos will present three products from official MLB licensees:
Stationery products for teen and tween girls from National Design;
Miniature figurines of Major Leaguers (including Zito himself) from all 30 teams, made by Oyo Sportstoys;
"All-Star Express" trains furnished by PPW Toys. The trains, which run on wooden tracks, bear logos of different big league teams.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, MLB's biggest charitable patron, will receive 100 units of each toy for distribution.
Zito provided funding for the Giants' annual holiday party Tuesday at AT&T Park for children and families from local homeless shelters and programs in San Francisco, including the Homeless Prenatal Program, St. Joseph's Village Family Center, Hamilton Family Center, Compass Family Services and Holy Family Day Home.
Zito is widely known for his year-round efforts with his Strikeouts For Troops charity, which enables wounded soldiers to be reunited with loved ones and enjoy the comforts of home. The Zitos also support the St. Anthony Foundation, which provides thousands of meals every day to San Francisco's hungry and homeless, as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, global literacy, organ donation and cancer research.
The Zitos are scheduled to appear on "Today" during the 9 a.m. hour in all time zones. Nationwide TV exposure is becoming commonplace for Zito. Shortly after the Giants won the World Series, he and right-hander Sergio Romo were guests on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. On Monday, Zito and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt served as presenters during the American Country Awards on FOX.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.