Baseball has always been an important part of Rich Kaplan’s life. A native of the Chicago suburbs, Kaplan fell in love with the sport as a kid, watching the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field. He went on to play throughout college as a pitcher.
It’s only fitting, then, that he would join Tervis Tumbler — a company equally passionate about America’s favorite pastime.
“Sports are a huge part of our business,” said Kaplan, the company’s president of sales and marketing. “People use the tumblers to coordinate their passion for a sports team or other endeavor. It just ties in perfectly with having fun and being passionate.”
Kaplan joined the company in 2008 after moving to Siesta Key from California.
“My wife and I were looking for a change of pace, and we’ve found Sarasota to be a phenomenal home,” said Kaplan. “My wife suggested I call Tervis, because those were the cups I liked to drink out of. I had no idea that’s who made them, so I reached out.”
Kaplan felt at home with the company, which allowed him to use his passion for sports. As the company grew, it established a relationship with Kaplan’s home team, the Chicago Cubs, and Tervis Tumblers were even named the official cup of the team.
When the team found out that Kaplan was a Chicago native and a Cubs fan, they offered him a chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game last weekend.
“It was like a kid’s dream,” said Kaplan. “But, I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I hadn’t thrown in years, and I was determined not to bounce the ball.”
With the help of friends and family, Kaplan put in hours of preparation to get his arm back in throwing shape, even practicing until the last minute.
“Before the game, I went out to the old ball park that I used to play in as a kid,” said Kaplan. “I took my two sons to help me warm up, and by the time we got to the park, I wasn’t nervous anymore.”
Kaplan says his training and years of playing paid off, and he threw a respectable pitch.
“The best part about it was that they let my sons join me,” he said. “It’s definitely something we’ll never forget as a family.”