A random act of kindness a year ago led to Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden sponsoring a youth baseball team in the Canton area.
This year, Haden is doing it again.
When a sponsor pulled out at the last minute last year, team manager Mike Clapper reached out to Haden — “on a whim,” Clapper said — via his popular Twitter account, @joehaden23. Within a week, Haden’s business manager had delivered Clapper $325 and the team changed its name to Haden Nation.
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Haden even made the trip to attend two of the team’s games — dressed in a personalized jersey and team hat — and interacted with the players in the dugout. Haden Nation is back this spring, this time as 13-year-old hot stove team representing Plain Township, just outside of Canton.
Haden has made multiple appearances at Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers games dressed in team colors — or, in some cases, team uniform. He accompanied Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and family to the NBA Draft lottery a year ago, and he was spotted at Opening Day for the Indians this year wearing a special-made jersey that was half Colt McCoy Browns jersey and half Indians Grady Sizemore jersey.
When he makes it to Canton to watch his other favorite baseball team later this month, he’ll have baseball pants and socks waiting.
“I know Joe likes to go all out,” Clapper said. “So this year, we got him a full uniform.”