TBT: Miss Baseball’s Anniversary

Yesterday was Miss Baseball’s one-year anniversary. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a mom with two wonderful boys who live with autism. When you live with someone with autism, it is very easy to lose yourself, and I did. I was so busy being a mom, nurse, occupational therapist, speech therapist and special needs teacher to my boys, I forgot about me. I am not ashamed to say I became very depressed. I even went to therapy. I found a great therapist who didn’t use a pad to solve the problems but a simple question. What do you like to do? Stop being everything to everyone else and start being something for you. I rediscovered my passion for writing, and then baseball came back into my life. Then I combined my two loves, writing and baseball, and Miss Baseball was born.

What a wild ride this has been. I went from not knowing how Twitter works to having almost 800 followers. My Facebook page has some of my most wonderful followers. Thank you to all my fans. Your support means a great deal to me. I would also like to thank all my baseball players who have been supportive of me.

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When I hurt my knee, Derek Holland gave me some wonderful words of encouragement.

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsEncouragement and positivity are important in recovery. Having Derek Holland’s words really made all the long hours of physical therapy worth it. I am all better and very grateful for the kind words.

When you ask your favorite player to sign a photo you have saved for years

When you ask your favorite player to sign a photo you have saved for years

Thank you again Dean Palmer for my autographed photo. When I wrote about Dean Palmer, I never thought in a million years he would respond. And I am amazed that he did.

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On a more serious note, being a special needs parent, I am very particular to the charities that I support. While I don’t have any children with vascular birthmark, it frightens me to think that there is a child with one of these and it is either misdiagnosed or, worse, wrong advice is given. Please go to the Frank Catalanotto Foundation. Learn about this condition and all the good work that the foundation does. Also, to Frank Catalanotto, thank you for all the retweets of my articles. I wouldn’t be here without your support.

Last but certainly not least: Frank’s Ranger teammate Gabe Kapler, whose blog on KapLifestyle inspired me to write. I am very honored to be a part of the KapLifestyle family, and I would like to thank my “brothers” Matt Fields and Matt Paré.

I’ve got to do a quick shout-out to Cleat Geeks. Thank you for letting me be a part of your website. I really enjoy writing for you.

There are also some great people behind the scenes. I would like to thank Peter Summerville and Stephanie St. Amour. Thank you Stephanie for all the MANY times you have helped me on my blog.

Finally to Duncan Gilman, my friend since the seventh grade. He’s also my social media guru. He tells me do this and do that, and it would help my blog. I would do this and that, and each day my blog got more traffic, and I got more followers. He has celebrated every triumph and consoled every failure. There would not be Miss Baseball without Duncan. Thank you is not enough, but I am at a loss for words on my gratitude for all that you do for me.

Today, I thought I would end with my favorite article. It’s something that I truly believe: Baseball is life. No matter where you go or what you do, baseball is always there.

 

 

Baseball is life

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I once read a Twitter post that said, “Baseball is not life, it is something you do. Life is something you live.”  A former ballplayer wrote that, and I can understand it. But I disagree  with it. Baseball IS life.

I am back from a much-needed vacation. I toured the city of Corpus Christi while avoiding Tropical Storm Bill. While my intention to go to a single game was washed out, I was treated to a double header the next day.  The USS Lexington is close by, and I took my boys to view the massive museum.  We toured the ship, and when my youngest was too tired to go on, we headed over to the mess deck to get a drink. We passed by this case full of baseball artifacts from 1933 and ’34 Navy baseball teams.

The vision of sailors, playing baseball — I think about them on the flight deck, with gloves on, tossing a ball around.  I have a vision of the stands in the ballpark and sailors watching and cheering the other sailors playing.

I think a little bit about the Twitter quote as I walk over to Whataburger Field. The Frisco RoughRiders and the Corpus Christi Hooks are Double A-ing my fun with a double header.  I get the last ticket behind home plate.

Manger for the Hooks Rodney Linares and acting as manger for the Rough Riders Jason Hart

Hooks Manager Rodney Linares and RoughRiders Acting Manager Jason Hart exchange lineups.

I am in my seat ready to watch some baseball, when my seat neighbor appears, a nice woman with her mom and a family friend. That’s right, I am sitting behind home plate and it is girls’ night out. My neighbor  is a huge Hooks fan, and the teasing commenced as I cheered for the RoughRiders. She and I talk about baseball throughout the game. She had her favorite players, ones she liked because they were kind to her child and others that were kind to the eyes.  Yes, I was giggling like a schoolgirl over some cute ballplayers; not going to apologize for that. Baseball pants are the world’s greatest invention.  Two games, 7 innings each, and the RoughRiders lost both, but there was some good ball in there, and I see a great team. I even have a favorite RoughRider. His name is Drew Robinson, and he wears 16 (Dean Palmer’s Ranger number) and he has a passion for the game.

The game is over, and I find the Frisco team bus. And while I couldn’t wait for the players to come out, I did meet more people.

I met the founders of Keeper of the Game Foundation, and the business card read, “Serving kids with special needs and disabilities while promoting servant leadership.”  As a mom of two children with autism, I am in awe. I am then handed a photo of my favorite player, Drew Robinson, and I hang it here near my desk.

After saying my goodbyes and getting in the car to head back to my hotel, I am just as relaxed after a double header as I was playing in the ocean.  Baseball is life — it keeps popping in my mind. Seeing baseball artifacts on the USS Lexington, going to a double header and being with other women who love baseball as much as I do, meeting people who understand how important baseball could be to special needs children. It just made me think, this is life.

Baseball is life. Baseball connects us. It moves us, it bonds us into a community. Baseball has all the markers of life: passion, love, hatred, obsession, lust. Baseball is the perfect euphemism for life. You may strike out more than you hit a home run, but you never stop swinging.

 

 

Autism Awareness: From Burnout to Baseball

Look. If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment, Would you capture it or just let it slip?  “Lose Yourself” -Eminem

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This month is Autism Awareness Month, and for me I like to laugh at that. I am very AWARE of Autism. I can’t understand how in this day in age how anyone can’t be aware of Autism. It is everywhere. The Current stat is 1 in 68 and in boys its 1 in 45.

Last June, I had a nervous breakdown. What is called today as “Burnout”  It came on the heals of a very hard year where it was discovered that my second son Ian was diagnosed with Autism level 2. I had been dealing with my older son Ben’s diagnosis and getting him all the help he needed it never even occurred to me that something would be wrong with Ian. I felt like the worse mother in the world. How could I have missed this? Me?!

I was super involved in the Autism world. Reading anything I could get my hands on about Autism and attending conferences.I was an active member of a Autism mom support group.  I was even doing advance parent training with an Applied Behavior Analyst so I could basically be my son’s full time therapist.  When in April we were told the news that  Ian had autism. I thought OK I can handle this I know what to do. Come June I would start to unravel.

I remember when it happened. I am at the pharmacy where they know me and my kids by first name. My children are on six different medications. I should tell you this is not a mom and pop pharmacy but a big chain one. I am there so often they KNOW me. I was going to have to wait 15 minutes for them to finish the order. I saw a friend in passing and said Hi. I sat on a bench and when the friend was out of sight. I burst out into tears right there in the store. I came home wrapped myself in a blanket and cried for three days straight. I couldn’t do not do it again!  How was I going to help Ian? I am drowning in Autism already. There is no more I can give.

My moms support group had a therapist that they used for their group therapy and I called her. I went into therapy. She helped me get rid of my guilt for Ian. She showed me that a life of only autism was no life. I needed to rediscover myself. I went out and got some new friends, I rediscover my love of writing and started (and still working on) a novel. I went back to the love my life. Baseball.

Through the power of social media I was able to connect to baseball in a way I could not have imaged. I found Gabe Kapler and his health and fitness blog. http://kaplifestyle.com/  The advice got me healthy, I went from being sick every month to I don’t know when the last time I was sick now. I have lost count of my healthy months. His blog is my inspiration for this blog. I just saw it and said to myself “That what I want to do. Write about what I care about and tell my story.”

Social media also helped me connect with other former and current ballplayers. When I wrote about how I was too chicken to get Dean Palmer’s Autograph. https://missbaseball.net/2015/01/15/tbt-dean-palmer/

I then shared the story with him via Twitter and his wonderful reaction to my request.

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Well that was it for me. I knew right then and there that I want to be a sports writer. I want to interview ballplayers and go on television. I had a purpose in life. I am me again. I am Miss Baseball.

Now I would love to tell you that everything in my life is just wonderful but” Let’s snap back to reality.” ( that’s for you Kap) I had a set back in December when I decided I could dance like Janet Jackson at a party and tore up my knee.

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Because I was active and healthy I was treated like an athlete and after 8 weeks of intense physical therapy I am back. My first son Ben has had some issues with sleep and seizures and we are dealing with that now.

A new plus. My boys love baseball. We watch it on television. They are big Ranger fans. My boys want to play baseball. I am hoping next year I can put them in a special league and they can really play. Ben is left handed and I think I could make a pitcher out of him. Ian is my tough guy, he’s got a lot of muscle on a little body he’s going to be my big bat.

If there is one thing I have learned is Don’t stop being yourself. Autism is in my life but it shouldn’t be all of my life. My children need to see me, living my life.

What’s in a number

What is the importance of a jersey number? Well this winter break Nelson Cruz and BIlly Butler did a lot of work to get the numbers that they wanted. As a fan, I have a combo of numbers that are important to me. 29(Rusty Greer) 2(month of my birthday and when I played my number) 11(the day I was born) and of course 16 Dean Palmer.

16 has been around the Ranger block. Scott Sheldon had it and I approved. He was a good utility player and did the number justice. It has been worn by coaches the last few years so it’s been a while since I’ve seen 16 at play on a Ranger uniform.

I love the MLB.tv app, I got to see my Rangers playing during Spring Training. I then saw 16 come up to bat and I felt a little jealous part come out. Ok there was a big giant monster. Who exclaimed
WHO DARE WEAR THE NUMBER OF DEAN PALMER!!!
Ok pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.

In all seriousness, the number is now in the possession of Ryan Rua. Who played 28 games last year.
You can read more about him here: http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=607387#gameType=’R’&sectionType=career&statType=1&season=2015&level=’MLB’

Dear Ryan,
To this Ranger fan you have some big shoes to fill. I have faith in your abilities. Make me proud and do justice for 16.
Sincerely,
Miss Baseball

Thank You Dean Palmer

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Fear has no place as a player or as a fan.  I’m just sitting here smiling and then a fit of giggles comes out, then the tears well up. I’m 16 again. I have so much to say but no words to say it. A horrible predicament. Dean,  thank you for this lovely autograph it’s my first personalized one. I will treasure it always. Thank you for reading my blog and responding to my request. Thank you for letting me correct a twenty year old mistake. Never again will I be afraid to go after what I want.

TBT: Dean Palmer

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Here is my unsigned 8×10 of Dean Palmer. I love baseball, I love the nature of the game. I love the stats and I love to watch diving catches and big homeruns. But before I loved the game,I loved the ballplayers.

I had a huge crush on Dean Palmer! Oh I had it bad, doodles on the notebook, (What!  Hollie Palmer has a nice ring to it) confused friends who couldn’t understand why I was so into baseball. This is not a tale of my interaction with him, because there is none. I could never get the courage to ask him to sign my photo, the best I could do was write to him. A week later he was traded to Kansas City. The Rangers were kind enough to send my letter back. I cried for a week.  A harsh lesson learned.  I should go up to the players say Hi, maybe get a autograph, maybe a picture. Now with the power of social media and a little bit of bravery, I can ask the question I have been waiting so long to ask.  So Dean Palmer Can I have your autograph?