Baseball and Sight Loss.
Writing about mobility and sight loss involves a lot more than just sharing personal experiences with Retinitis Pigmentosa. It includes delving into our lifestyles, background, the cities where we live and get around in, family interests that impact us, and even a growing respect and curiosity for topics we never dreamed we would be interested in.
When I wrote Hitting a Home Run: Blind and Thriving, I used a baseball theme. I purposely chose this topic because baseball and sight loss have overlapping themes. To name a few:
- A Sense of Humor
- Strategies to Succeed
- Winning / Losing
Baseball felt like a perfect vehicle to represent my sight loss journey. But sharing my diagnosis in a baseball theme also led to a stronger interest in the game itself, in which my older brother invested his time and support. That included the SeaWolves, Erie’s local Minor League team, under the Detroit Tigers, their Major League affiliation. I’m learning more about the players, and players that have gone to be in Major leagues that used to be in Minors. My research and questions took me down a fascinating rabbit path to Erie’s rich baseball history. I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of that in the print version of my memoir, Hitting a Home Run.
I’m hoping to have the final three stories to be released in time for Thanksgiving. Please, readers, help me be accountable. I’m finishing up a story called “Collecting Baseballs” but I’m not sure if this will be the final title or not. You never know! There will be one about attending my first SeaWolves baseball game last year. And also a real tear-jerker. I won’t tell you any more or I will give the story away. But keep your eyes peeled for updates!
Mike liked action. Even when he had a ticket, he wandered out of the stadium for a time and listened to the game on his car radio so he could smoke. On the street level, he kept an eye out for foul balls. Once in a great while the team unknowingly rewarded his vigilance with home run balls. He valued the game baseballs flying over the wall more than the scuffed, warm-up foul balls. But both appealed to him.
Other fans chased after the balls too. Probably those, like my brother, who couldn’t afford to attend all the games. Or perhaps, they, too, preferred action to being a mere spectator.
“I don’t like having competition,” Mike told me once. “This one guy kept finding all the balls and I was getting mad.”
In my mind’s eye, I envisioned the scenario. A ball sailed over the stadium wall. One baseball, two runners. Both guys locked eyes. Turned toward the direction of the ball. Eyes now narrowed. Lips set in a firm line. Both determined. Frantic sprints. Innocence pitted against desire.
Who would reach it first?
Seawolves Community Service.
My research has also enlightened me on all the community outreach the Erie SeaWolves undertakes each season. I had no idea! In 2015, the Erie SeaWolves received the Times Publishing Company’s Commitment to Erie Award for Community Service. Later that year, they even expanded it more with their Community Fund. They contribute more than $250,000 annually in goods, contributions, and money to charities in the Erie area. There are two days during the season they invite those with disabilities to play a baseball game before the home game on All Abilities Baseball Gameday. They have Paint the Park Pink for breast cancer awareness and Stuff the Batter’s Box for the Second Harvest Food Bank. They have Gloves for Kids and all kinds of things. This is so cool. I would love for them to have something for sight loss. This year, the entire Minor League season was canceled because of the pandemic. I hope next year they will be back.
Check out this short SeaWolves video clip of when they won the Eastern League championship!
What I am learning is really fascinating, and it has opened the door to baseball for me! From a human-interest standpoint. I am finding out more and more. It all started with my brother’s interest in baseball.
I just discovered Whitey Ford passed away on Friday, Oct 9th this year. A Yankees legend, he won six world championships in a row. He won more games for the New York Yankees than any other pitcher. If you would like to read more about him, click on the following article:
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Who is your favorite baseball team? If you don’t like baseball, what is your favorite sport and what do you like about it?
You have just read “Baseball Comes into my Line of Sight” by Amy L. Bovaird. © October 13, 2020. All rights reserved. Don’t forget to leave a comment. I read and answer all of them! You can also send me a direct comment or question here.