The Black Keys hit a home run for Akron

AKRON -- They've won over the hearts of music fans all over the world.

And now the Black Keys are hitting a home run for their hometown.

Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach both suited up for the West Akron Baseball League before music entered the picture and the Black Keys became rock stars.

Now they're hoping to help a new generation of ball players with the sales of a new T-shirt.

In 2013, the Akron-native band paid $300 to be a sponsor of the Orioles, a Little League team coached by Steve Milkovich.

"When you wear the shirts out the community, you get stopped. 'Is that the team?' or 'Where can we get the shirts?' It's been going on for a year of people waiting for these shirts to come out," he said.

The band's creative director, Pat's brother Michael Carney, created this year's jersey design that they're promoting on the Black Keys' website. All the profits will go to the league, which offers baseball for kids from T-ball through high school.

It makes dad Jim Carney, a staff writer at the Akron Beacon Journal, proud.

"I think it's a great way to give back to something that they realize is important -- boys splaying baseball outside," he said.

League President Mike Dies says the league will spend the much-needed funds to help upgrade fields where aging fences and bleachers and poor drainage systems make it hard for practices and games to get going during rainy springs.

"They really helped WABL out, because we can buy fields now and do upgrades," said Max Milkovich, a second grader who plays on the Orioles. "They are going to redo all the benches and all the fence that's torn up."

The T-shirts went up Monday, and they've already raised more than $10,000 for the ball club.

"The wave is still coming. It's still just getting out there. We're very excited for this opportunity. And very grateful for the boys and what they've been able to give back to us," said Steve Milkovich.

The tees are $24, with 100 percent of the profits returned to WAPL.

If you'd like to buy a shirt, go here.


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