Working with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Drive-Thru Food Distribution, members of the Cerritos College baseball team took part in the latest effort to assist those in need. Spearheaded by head coach Vic Buttler, who was joined by assistant coach Ron Perodin, along with players Buck Anderson and David Hays, the group that helped distribute 80 pounds of food per car also included friends from Buttler's cycling club, Brothas on the Move.
Buttler, who has volunteered to distribute food in the past, put out the request to his players and received a great surprise when seven of his friends in the cycling club, which included Perodin, mentioned that they would be interested in helping.
"A few friends and myself, including Ron & (former MLB player) Brandon (Watson) started riding during COVID," stated Buttler, who will be in his second season as the Falcons head coach in 2021. "It began as a simple 3-5 person ride and grew into a 50-60 rider group in the matter of six weeks. It's a new hobby that we all love and it's slowly but surely becoming a lifestyle for us."
Buttler, Perodin, Watson and Falcon assistant coach and former MLB All-Star Coco Crisp have been friends since playing for Sportsman Little League in Inglewood and have remained close friends for years. Buttler played in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league organization, while Perodin played in the Minnesota Twins minor league organization. Crisp came up through the ranks with the St. Louis Cardinals, played in the major leagues for Cleveland, Boston and Oakland. Watson, also a product of Westchester High like Buttler and Perodin, was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos and eventually played in the major leagues for both the Washington Nationals and Cincinnatti Reds. Watson now works for Al Harmon as a boxing manager.
After riding to campus on their bikes, the group spent the day distributing food to those who took part in the drive-through event. All have stated that they intend to get involved in more volunteer work, both for the college and elsewhere.
What made you decide to get involved with the food distribution that the college has been involved with?
Vic Buttler: Life is about giving back. I want to do my part to help give back to the Cerritos (Norwalk) Community. It's an honor and pleasure to volunteer my time and work alongside other Cerritos College staff members to help make the Cerritos College food drive a successful event.
Ron Perodin: I just love to help out people that need help, as well as helping out our Cerritos program.
Buck Anderson: I enjoy giving back to the community. Coach Vic told me and a few teammates about it and we were all in.
David Hays: Coach Vic told me about it and I'm always willing to help those in need.
Brandon Watson: Víctor Buttler is the head baseball coach at Cerritos. He's been telling us about the great work the college has been doing so we wanted to be a part, so here we are.
Have you done any other volunteer work in the past (either with the college or in your personal life)?
Buttler: I volunteered for the food drive at Cerritos College earlier in the year when the COVID pandemic first hit. I've worked other community-based events in the past, as well.
Perodin: Yes, I have done other food giveaways during Thanksgiving, feeding the homeless.
Anderson: I have done volunteer work in the past. I have done multiple events feeding the homeless in the Los Angeles area.
Hays: I went to St. John Bosco High School and they always emphasized being good stewards. I've done a bunch of kids camps throughout my four years there and helped with soup kitchens, as well.
Watson: We just started a non profit called Brothas On The Move. One of the main reasons we started it is to service our communities. So, I personally have done volunteer work but this was our first time doing with our non-profit involved.
How did it make you feel to be involved in the event?
Buttler: Anytime I am engaged in any community-based event that involves giving back, it gives me a sense of purpose in life. I know that I was placed on this earth to positively effect and change lives for the better.
Perodin: It felt good to try to be a positive influence for our younger generation.
Anderson: Being involved in this event gave me a great feeling because it always feels to good to help other people in need.
Hays: It humbled me first off, because you never know their situation and you just have to be grateful for the opportunities we are given.
Watson: We all loved it. Nothing like giving back. To be able to help people was amazing. Great feeling!
How did you feel your first season went as the Falcons head coach?
Buttler: I felt my first season as the Falcons head coach went well. Over time, I got a chance to see the team buy into my coaching philosophy and really gel as a collective. The family togetherness, the team energy, the trust, the love, the fact of the team all pulling from the same end of the rope was created with time, with hard work, with sacrifice, communication, and with good leadership from the coaching staff.
How do you feel your first season with the Falcons went?
Anderson (pictured, right): I feel that our first season at Cerritos went great. We came out and made a name for ourselves by battling with and beating some of the best teams around.
Hays (pictured, left): I think it went amazing. The chemistry within our team carried into our games. Sucked that we canceled the season due to the pandemic.
How did you handle it when you found out the season was going to end early:
Anderson: I was sort of disappointed once I found out the season was going to end early because we were having such a good season and I feel we would have had a better second half of the season than we did first half.
Hays: I used the time to train on my own and make the most out of it.
What have you done with regards to recruiting to make the team better in 2021?
Buttler: As far as recruiting is concerned, the coaching staff and I did our best to bring in student-athletes who were the right fit. What we had last year was special, what we will have this year will be special. The professional and upbeat atmosphere that our coaching staff create for the players is special, but not for everyone. We recruited like-minded players who can come and fit right in.
What have you done during the off-season to prepare for next year?
Anderson: I have been working out and practicing everyday to be sure that I am prepared to compete once the next season begins.
Hays: I've been big on cardio-based workouts and dieting. So far, I've lost 20 pounds and will continue to do so. Training as well as hitting and pitching.
What made you decide to stay at Cerritos for another season? Did you consider at one point to transfer to a four-year school?
Anderson: I decided to stay at Cerritos because we have such a great team and coaching staff and I believe we will have an even better season than last year. I considered leaving to a four-year school but I didn't think it was the smart thing to do.
Hays: I never really considered leaving Cerritos because of the coaching staff and the many different avenues and connections within this "new" program.
What are your expectations for the season - both as a team and individually?
Buttler: Our goal as a team is to finish at the top of the conference and to be one of the last two teams standing at the close of the season. Individually, my goal is to transition as many sophomores as possible to the next level of baseball, may it professionally or four-year, they all deserve it.
Perodin: Our expectations are to be State Champions - no less than that. We have a great group of guys that have the talent to be champs.
Anderson: I expect our team to have an even better season than we did last year because we pretty much have the same team as last year along with more talented players. I don't really have any expectations of myself. I'll just continue to work hard and once the game comes, I play as hard as I can and let everything else take care of itself.
Hays: Individually, I plan on being the ace on the squad and continue to compete and dominate on the mound. As a team, I want to win it all. I believe the hard work we have and will put in will lead us to the championship.