Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don J.

Just minutes before first pitch, I thought I’d share a voicemail I received today from a longtime fan, Don J. in Michigan.  It never ceases to amaze me and humble me when I get emails, calls, messages etc. from fans of the White Sox and I hear just what an important role baseball and the Sox play in some people’s lives.

Don started to write me years ago, usually to ask for an organization-wide roster.  I could tell from his hand-writing that he was older, and he mentioned that had served in the military.  Over the years, I sent along media guides, schedules, rosters, stats, etc. and Don always offered his appreciation and thanks.

The letters turned into phone calls.  Don usually asking about some of our younger players, offering his opinions on the club.  It was just nice to hear from a fan who cared about his White Sox.

When I heard his voice today, it reminded me that I hadn’t heard from Don in March or April.

He sounded tired and a couple of sentences into his message, I heard the wheezing.

“I’ve had a tough go of it lately,” he said. “My health hasn’t been good. I’ve been tied to this oxygen hose.  And my wife died this week.  Now, I can’t attend her funeral because I can’t get around.”

OK, by now, I’m feeling awful for Don and am kicking myself that I missed his call.

“But I still get to watch the Sox,” he says.  “We really need to start hitting, but I know we will.”

And with that, Don ended his call.

“I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be around,” he said.  “If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know.  I appreciate what you’ve done over the years, thank you.”

Wow.  How is that for a two-minute voicemail/punch in the gut?  Nothing like baseball, and more importantly our great fans, to always put things in perspective.

Don, I absolutely do hope and expect to hear from you again this summer.  A White Sox season just won’t be the same without hearing your voice.  We’ll have a whole new draft class to discuss in June.


Wow, Scott. That post is humbling and as your title dictates, it puts a lot of things into perspective. My sincere condolences to Don on the passing of his wife, and I pray that he comes into better health.

Baseball isn’t a necessity, but a world without it would be bleaker. We get to root for guys who play a kid’s game and win or lose, it is a joy to see the White Sox take the field.

My local sports talk radio station recently interviewed Bill Ripken and Cal Ripken Jr. as their foundation is doing some charity work in my area. But they talked about a quote that their dad Cal Sr. used to say that really struck with me. “Everything you do in baseball you do in life, and everything you do in life you do in baseball.” Baseball is a game of failure. A quarterback completing a third of his passes or a basketball player making a third of his shots is deemed to be struggling. But in baseball, a guy who gets 3 hits in 10 at bats is said to be doing well. Baseball teaches teamwork, perserverence, and that taking care of the little things will lead to success.

Baseball is a game where anything can happen – a triple play, hitting for the cycle, a perfect game. Where else can a scrawny speedster who hits no home runs in the regular season become a franchise icon by hitting a walk-off homerun in the World Series?

Baseball isn’t everything and there are more important things in life. But for 3 hours a day, we all can put aside our daily troubles and root for our guys, win or lose. I’d gladly take watching a White Sox loss rather than seeing no baseball at all, but a White Sox winner makes things a lot sweeter. And having been through the magical run of 2005, I can say that my favorite baseball team has won a championship, something a lot of fans go a lifetime without (cough…Cubs fans…cough 🙂 ).

Again, I hope Don feels better soon and that hopefully he’s able to see this year’s team make a run for the playoffs. Will they be able to do it? We’ll just have to find out, but as I’ve said before, anything can happen in baseball. Either way, I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Let’s take the series today from the Tribe, and don’t forget to help Southpaw win the mascot challenge if you’re on twitter today. Go White Sox!

Kudos to you Scott for posting such a GREAT inspirational blog about Don J. God Bless you Don and I’ll put you in my prayer group. May you live long and enjoy many more SOX games.
I couldn’t have said it better that joshva.
Now as for Peavy and his “tired arm”. If I was making 10+ million/year and had an ERA over 6 and was 3-4 I would also start finding “excuses” for my atrocious performance!

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