boston red sox Posts

Love Baseball / Hate Cancer

At this point, it’s not really a secret that I love baseball and have a slight bias towards the Red Sox – let’s be honest.

Monday night, starting lefty pitcher, Jon Lester, threw a No Hitter for the Red Sox in Fenway Park against the Kansas City Royals.

By now you have probably heard (even if you’re not a Red Sox fan) that less than 2 years ago, Lester was disgnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, missing the end of the 2006 season.

In December 2007, it was announced that Lester appeared to be in remission, and he returned to the Red Sox in July 2007, and successfully pitched Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies. And now a No Hitter.  And he’s only 24 years old.

Lester’s fairytale night reminds me why I love baseball. It’s a game of cameraderie; a true example of a team sport. Would there have been a No-No without Jacoby Ellsbury’s diving catch in the 4th? Would it have happened without Jason Varitek behind the plate? Curt Schilling certainly doesn’t think so.

No Hitters aren’t the result of one play. Rather, they are an epic build up of 9 innings, at least 27 batters and at least 9 other guys who have got your back. There’s no other equivalent.

Maybe except for Curling, according to my friend, Molly (“Have you ever seen them go with the broom?”).

Curling aside, that’s why I listen to 162 games – you never know when something like this will happen, or when it will happen again. Jon Lester has a great story – one which has been done greater justice by many more entrenched than me.

Still, the story reminds me of how fulfilling it can be to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Who is your team? Who is your support group? Who do you owe your successes to? But more importantly, who do you root for? Whose team are you a part of? Whose successes can you celebrate?

What do you champion?

Congratulations to Jon Lester and here’s to everyone who is fighting or has fought cancer.

“It still has some cement on it!”

Recently, the GlobalGiving blog has been moonlighting over at eBay’s What Gives!? blog.  So when my friend, Roman from eBay, emailed me yesterday with a link asking me to write a post about it, I could hardly say no.  Frequent readers of this blog will know that I never pass up a legitimate excuse to blog about the Red Sox.

A quick recap of JerseyGate 08 for anyone not as thoroughly engaged with New England sports: The Yankees are building a new stadium, and one of the workers on the concrete crew – a diehard Red Sox fan – decided to “curse the new stadium by burying David Ortiz’s jersey in the brand new foundation of the new park. This is humorous at the very least, but after an 86-year World Series drought in Boston, AL East fans take even the vaguest semblence of a curse seriously (even if they won’t admit it). So seriously, in fact, they dug up the jersey.

But there’s a point beyond good old Red Sox/Yankees trivia.

The jersey is being auctioned off on eBay. They’re using this latest incident in the long-time Red Sox/Yankees rivalry to raise money for cancer research.

The jersey is being auctioned in its current condition (“It still has some cement on it!”, the auction page boasts) as part of a larger package that includes tickets to an upcoming Red Sox game at Fenway Park. All proceeds (over $30,000 at the time of publication) are going to the Jimmy Fund, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

I’ve written here before about this concept: Sometimes the best approach isn’t to try to get people excited about what you’re doing, but find out what they’re already excited about and get involved.

What started off as a funny prank and baseball folklore for years to come has ended up as a generous windfall for the Jimmy Fund and cancer research. (Construction) hats off to you, Gino Castignoli, Randy Levine, Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber.