Sometimes I write for you. Sometimes I read and listen and watch stuff for you, so you don’t have to. (Isn’t that nice of me?)
Here are a few things I found. Think of them as Free Baseball* from The Baseball Bloggess – like the gift of extra innings that you didn’t expect when you came to the game.
After A Decade In Pro Ball, A Former Pitcher Goes Without Health Insurance
Public Radio International’s awesome Only A Game this week profiled Paul Wilmet, a pitcher who spent nearly a decade in pro ball, including playing three big league games for the Rangers in 1989. Today, he’s nearly blind but, with no pension, long-term health insurance, or benefits from his long baseball career, he’s been unable to get the surgery that could help him see again.
“If there weren’t any minor leaguers, there would be no major leaguers,” Wilmet reminds us. This story will break your heart, but I promise, if you listen, there is a hopeful ending, too.
Chase Utley Reunited With Minor Leaguer Who First Met Him During Cancer Treatment
Before a game in 2006, Chase Utley, a second baseman who was with the Phillies, met a 9-year-old fan, Devin Smeltzer, who was battling cancer. Today, Utley plays for the Dodgers. And, today, cancer-free, so does Smeltzer, via MLB.com.
Sean Doolittle And Eireann Dolan May Be Baseball’s Most “Woke” Couple
The Washington Post profiled Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle and his wife Eireann Dolan this week. “Most major league players wouldn’t have their local paper requesting a photo shoot to accompany a story about their work with Syrian refugees or LGBT pride night or an op-ed they wrote about veterans’ issues. Doolittle and Dolan are not most major league couples.”
(P.S. Doolittle also played at Virginia and was inducted into the University of Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame in January.)
Twenty-Nine Percent Of Players On Opening Day Rosters Are Foreign Born
Those foreign-born players represent 21 countries, via NBC Sports. (The study noted that it included the 19 players born in Puerto Rico and the one player born in the U.S. Virgin Islands as “foreign-born.” This is, of course, not correct. Subtract those 20 players from the study, as they were not “foreign-born,” and the percentage drops to 26 percent.)
Six of the seven continents are represented, but I guess we’ll still have to wait for that first player from Antarctica.
In Case You Missed It, The Orioles Won A Game
The Baltimore Orioles won on Opening Day – their eighth straight Opening Day victory. They defeated the Twins, 3-2 in extra innings, thanks to an 11th-inning home run from center fielder Adam Jones. If you didn’t see the homer on Thursday, here’s the clip. (If you did see it, watch it again, because it is beautiful.)
Aren’t you glad baseball’s back?
* Free Baseball refers to extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here it’s extra things I didn’t want you to miss.