My ankle is in BAD shape, and for that matter, so are my legs. Check it out:
Every one of those scrapes and bruises came from major league stadiums. See the small dark scab six inches above my right ankle? That’s a result of slamming into a seat on 5/26/11 at Rogers Centre. See the near-matching scrapes on both of my shins? I got those by diving over the tarp for a foul ball on 6/2/11 at Citi Field. And so on.
Attempting to snag 1,000 baseballs in one season requires an all-out effort. That’s all I can say. And now, unfortunately, that effort is going to take a serious hit because of my ankle (and my general stupidity).
Four days from now, I’m flying to Denver for a four-game series (June 9-12) against the Dodgers. After that, I’ll be in Seattle for three games (June 13-15) against the Angels. Then I’ll be spending a long weekend in Portland, Oregon with an old friend, and from there I’ll be flying to Boston for two games (June 20-21) against the Padres.
How is that going to work with a severely sprained ankle? I have no idea. I might still be on crutches, and even if I’m not, I probably won’t be able to run. Conveniently, at Coors Field, I’m going to have tickets in a “handicapped” section, so look for me on TV. I’ll be sitting in the very front row/aisle behind the outfield wall in left-center field. I’m excited. Both lefties and righties can hit balls there, and it’s one of the best spots in baseball to snag a ground-rule double. In Seattle, my goal will simply be to snag a commemorative ball from the Angels (and, ankle permitting, to explore the stadium). And in Boston? Heath Bell, baby. I haven’t seen him since last year, so I’m hoping to flag him down for a bit and catch up.
Finally, I want to give an update about Pitch In For Baseball and my charity fundraiser. You all know about the horrific tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri two weeks ago, right? Well, Pitch In For Baseball is already helping kids in that community, and there’s a huge article about it on MLB.com. Here’s a screen shot of the first part of the article…
…and here’s the link in case you want to read the whole thing.
This is just one example of the many wonderful things that Pitch In For Baseball is doing, and it’s why I’ve been raising money for them since 2009. For those who may not know, I’ve been getting people to pledge money for every baseball that I snag at major league games — anywhere from a penny per ball up to 50 cents or a dollar, or whatever. That money really adds up over the course of the season, and it all goes directly to Pitch In For Baseball. None of it ever enters my possession. I’m just the middle man, so at the end of each season, I send donors to the PIFB website, where they can make a secure/tax-dedictible payment with their credit cards. So far this season, there are 48 people who have made pledges to this charity through my site. If you add up all these pledges, it equals $6.94 cents per ball. That means that if I snag 10 balls at my next game (including batting practice), I will have raised an additional $69.40 for Pitch In For Baseball. See how it works? So far this season, I’ve snagged 386 balls and raised more than $2,600. Making a pledge is really easy. Click here to go directly to the “pledge submission form.” You can fill it out in 30 seconds or less, guaranteed. Or, if you have a bit more time, click here for more info about how the whole thing works. Big thanks to all of you who’ve donated — and to the rest of you who’ve given moral support. It all helps.
I’m happy to say that my fundraiser has inspired several other ballhawks to start their own. Two years ago, for example, John Witt snagged baseballs for MADD, and this season, Zac Weiss is raising money for The Children’s Institute. Follow him on Twitter (@wewill1992) and consider supporting his cause as well. Great stuff all around.
I just unwrapped my ankle. Ready for it?
Yes, that purple thing is a bruise. Hoo-boy…