Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our New Rooting Interest

As our mission statement implies (and our usual content confirms), we generally don't take much seriously in this space. We mock, skewer, and throw bombs from our comfortably obscure internet balcony. Sometimes our targets even deserve it. But deep down in places we don't like to talk about at cocktail parties (or dive bars - we're rarely invited to cocktail parties because of our hideous collection of tattoos and unfortunate social awkwardness), we're a sucker for stories about kids and dreams, and people that believe in both.

And that's why we're now big fans of Kansas University sophomore pitcher Lee Ridenhour.

Brien and Jack are cousins, the sons of a pair of Friends of G:TB. The boys are 9 years old, and share a love for sports with their athletic fathers and mothers. They also both happen to have severe Hemophilia A, a hereditary bleeding disorder. Hemophiliacs have far lower levels of the blood proteins that promote clotting, resulting in longer and more frequent bleeding after injuries, and potentially dangerous complications from internal bruising.

Until recently, children diagnosed with hemophilia were extremely limited in their ability to compete in most sports. Even relatively minor injuries could present life-threatening complications. In the last several decades, however, the scientific community has made significant breakthroughs in the treatment of bleeding disorders, developing synthetic clotting factors that enable most hemophilia sufferers to rapidly treat their injuries with injections. These advances have enabled children like Brien and Jack to play sports - like baseball - that would have been off-limits to them even a few years ago.

Children like Lee Ridenhour, too. The Lenexa, KS native turned down a $150,000 signing bonus with the Minnesota Twins two years ago to accept a scholarship with Kansas. The 6'4", 205 lb righthander went 6-3 with a 4.65 ERA in 79 1/3 innings in 2009, his freshman season. His six wins were the most by a Kansas freshman since 1994. He also suffers from severe Hemophilia A. And in the eyes of two little boys from Virginia, he's a hero.

The boys' families read about Ridenhour in a national hemophilia publication and reached out to the Jayhawk athletic department through a college friend with connections to KU athletics. Coach Ritch Price coordinated a visit through the university's 'Caring for Kids' program. In early March, as Team G:TB was preoccupied with William & Mary's run to the CAA Tournament final, Brien and Jack flew to Kansas to meet Ridenhour.

"He was extremely down to earth and really forthcoming about his battles," said Brien's dad (and FoG:TB), Cliff Krug. "He was also grounded. For a kid that's a D1 baseball player on a nationally ranked program (Note: at the time, the Jayhawks were #23) and was drafted out of HS, you couldn't tell.

One of the best parts is as I talked with him in the OF (during BP), some of the guys on the team told stories of their 'surprise' about him having Hemophilia. One guy woke up one morning to Lee giving himself his medicine, but thought he was doing drugs (Note: Advate, a synthetic clotting agent, is given intravenously)."

Ridenhour was injured and preparing for surgery to repair torn ligaments in his ankle during the boys' trip, and got to spend a great deal of time with the youngsters, pitching batting practice and playing catch in the outfield. Brien took a wicked grounder off his knee while shagging balls during the Jayhawks' batting practice, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise when he got to spend quality time playing XBox games with the team in the clubhouse while receiving treatment.

Brien and Jack threw out the first pitch of KU's game against Missouri and served as honorary bat boys before flying home (with the benefit of an airplane, though neither of them likely needed it). As for Ridenhour, he's seeking to bounce back from his injury and enter the Major League Baseball draft in 2011 as an eligible junior. Two little boys (and their fathers) will be following his exploits very closely.

As will a bunch of generally cynical bloggers who might cop to a soft spot for kids and their heroes.

56 comments:

d-train said...

good stuff. a nice warm fuzzy to start the day. did not know that about cliff's son.

rob said...

warm and fuzzy is how we roll, dan. at least tr, anyway.

Dave said...

this post has made me feel warm and fuzzy too. i'm going to the cherish the moments i have with my children and skip school today (at the taxpayer's expense) and head to the beach with them. if anyone asks, we're "sick."

later . . .

T.J. said...

Nicely done rob.

T.J. said...

rob gets involved in last night's Twins/Yanks game:
http://bit.ly/9bcyhP

Geoff said...

Expect Tea Party sponsored legislation regarding a return to this policy soon:

During a meeting with MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), Walter Breuning -- "the world's fourth-oldest living person" -- "recalled a time when the police would round up the 'hobos'" and "put them on trains heading out of town" (Great Falls Tribune).

zman said...

What do you mean "return"? The cops in Arlington are always rounding up bums outside of the 7-11 on Lee Highway, loading them into paddy wagons, and driving them to Maryland. True story.

T.J. said...

Those trains out of town...they were all headed for Troy(let), NY.

Geoff said...

Zman, why do you think I elected to purchase a home in Arlington?

d-train said...

they ended up tasing that squirrel in case you hadn't heard. he didn't get up for a while. his hair got smokey too.

Geoff said...

And then he had to take his daughters to a dance recital in Ashburn.

cgormley said...

Ah, Arlington busing out the homeless. The better round up story, in my humble opinion, for the DC area was when DC cops rounded up all the prostitutes and had them march over Key bridge into Arlington. Classic.

cgormley said...

Couple of weird time wasters this morning. Enjoy.

http://tinyurl.com/ykfh3pw

http://tinyurl.com/28zju3o - really weird

T.J. said...

"...tried to tear off the clothes of a female bartender..."

Now this is my kind of sorority social. http://bit.ly/cHqWpN

T.J. said...

Wu Tang concert, anyone?
http://bit.ly/dirP03

zman said...

I'm more pumped for Rakim and KRS. Seems like they're past their MC expiration date - they could drop dead any day now. See them while you can.

d-train said...

this article is funny on mull-tiple levels

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5221140

Igor said...

Public Enemy coming to my neck of the woods in September. Small venue, could be fun.

Igor said...

D-train, this was the best parrt of the article:

In a 2009 interview, Allen explained his love and respect for his mullet.

"The mullet isn't just a hairdo. It's definitely a lifestyle. You're carrying on a legacy," he said "If I approach you from the front, it's like, wow, that dude is pretty serious. Then I walk away and you're like, damn, he likes to party. With two Rs."

zman said...

I got 4 tickets to see DBT on June 4 in Tarrytown of all places. Then everyone bailed. Any want them? How does Stubhub work?

d-train said...

igor - spot on. and it's so true. that's EXACTLY what i say after seeing someone with an awesome mullet, including you.

Igor said...

DBT's also playing the 9:30 Club on Fri July 23. Saw them in Norfolk last month. They still bring it. You should go to Tarrytown, nancy-boy.

zman said...

I saw them in Boston and they were great. Not sure I want to make a Han Solo schlep to Tarrytown though.

Lumpy said...

you have to register for a stubhub account (no charge) i think you can either set a price, or auction them like on ebay. they take a cut of the sale price- something like 10%?

TR said...

Z-Man: You should use Craigslist to sell, especially b/c you live in Manhattan.

Use the proceeds to get coke and whores. From Craigslist.

TR said...

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on CNBC now. He is in desperate need of public speaking lessons. He sound like an arrogant Kermit the Frog.

T.J. said...

Does he sound worse than Sports Guy on the radio?

rob said...

sir tim berners-lee, the inventor of the internet, sat one table from me today at lunch. i didn't get a chance to thank him for the small part he played in bringing g:tb to the world, mostly because i didn't want to get escorted out of the building.

in what is surely a related note, berners-lee was working for cern when he invented the world wide web. the same cern that runs the large hadron collider. i was thisclose to the answer today, my friends.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

Lumpy said...

i thought al gore invented the internet?

rob said...

just the porn part

zman said...

There are three stalls in the bathroom at work. I went into the one on the left and there was someone in the handicapped stall on the right, cranking out emails from his Blackberry and noxious smells and sounds from his rectum. "Billing while shitting" I thought to myself while suppressing a giggle induced by a pretty loud rip. Then someone came in and sat in the middle stall and I thought to myself "Good God, we're going threesies!" and I laughed out loud. Not good for my intra-office image I bet.

d-train said...

z - what is your intra-office image?
i always get a kick out of the guys that actually talk on their phone while laying cable. it's one thing while talking to one of their broh's but a work-call just seems a bit inappropriate. or am i just a snob?

zman said...

Apparently now it's "Guy who giggles on the toilet."

You can't take a call from the office throne, no matter who is calling.

T.J. said...

That's gotta be better than "guy who keeps tapping his foot under the stall wall", right?

d-train said...

or "wide stance" guy

zman said...

I think that depends where you work.

zman said...

In other news, Apple is now worth more than Microsoft.

Mark said...

That's a horseshit call. You can't kick give Perkins the boot over that.

rob said...

jerry's mvperkins theory will get a real-world test drive here.

T.J. said...

Holy shit, is that Marques Daniels?

T.J. said...

And Nate Robinson? Jesus Doc, settle down.

T.J. said...

This is awful, but I seriously thought another Celtic was going to die on the floor right there.

T.J. said...

Don't worry folks, Joey Crawford just T'd me up for even thinking that.

TR said...

This game keeps getting more bizarre. Big Baby stumbling around, Nate Dogg and his neck ink, bad ejection...

T.J. said...

...the size of the face on Doris Burke's watch...

T.J. said...

Is that Julius Peppers next to the bench?

Mark said...

That was Julius Peppers. And this game is beyond bizzare.

zman said...

That was Peppers ... and his date.

zman said...

And the Red Sox are finished. Put a fork in them.

rob said...

i'm sitting next to an australian senator at the conference i'm attending. no entourage, no staff. it's almost like she's from a different country.

T.J. said...

I hate stoopid people. http://bit.ly/bDm45j

T.J. said...

I think Ozzie Guillen is a little pissed at Cowboy Joe West (for those unfamiliar, West's umpiring in yesterday's White Sox game made Joey Crawford's work last night look downright distinguished):

http://bit.ly/a3cyFG

Dave said...

no new content today?

Shlara said...

Waiting at the gate in long beach for my delayed flight. The chivas USA team is here....wearing matching warm ups. Coaches too. No way an NBA team would do that

zman said...

Chivas?

Dave said...

goats, zman, goats.

went to an mls game at the new stadium in harrison last night. took some pictures and some notes for g:tb-- a post is forthcoming . . .