SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain has dedicated himself to another team in this city.
The Giants right-hander has become an ardent supporter of San Francisco RBI, a non-profit that promotes literacy by working with students at Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary School and middle schoolers at KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Bay Area Academy.
Cain spoke Monday night to a rapt audience at San Francisco RBI's annual All-Star Dinner at the Olympic Club's downtown facility.
"They want to develop the whole child," Cain said, praising San Francisco RBI's program of integrating reading with baseball, softball and technology.
In an interview preceding the event, Cain expressed his admiration for San Francisco RBI, founded and directed by Jim Messemer.
"Jim and everybody who's a part of RBI has done a great job of mixing reading and sports," Cain said. "To read, that opens up so many gateways for you. I think it brings out the life in a lot of kids and [the organization] is able to do that."
Messemer expressed his gratitude for having Cain on his team.
"To me, Matt Cain epitomizes what a role model as a professional athlete should be," Messemer said. "We're trying to develop well-rounded children, and Matt represents that kind of ideology."
Cain's involvement with the group completes a circle of sorts in his life. As a youth growing up near Memphis, Tenn., he received pitching lessons from Mauro Gozzo, a former Major Leaguer. Having been active in various charitable causes, Cain has found another method of using his platform as an athlete in a positive way.
"Baseball has brought a lot of friends into my life," he said.