Friday, July 31, 2009

To Papi, Manny, and the Other 102 Cons, Cheating Is Cheating Is Cheating

There has been no shortage of stories about yesterday's shocking, yet not so shocking news, regarding Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez. Many of my friends and fans reached out to me, inquiring how I felt on the subject.

I'm flattered by the thought that so many of my friends think of me and the Red Sox in the same grouping of brain cells like some psychoanalytical game of free association.

As a die hard and passionate fan of the Boston nine, I suppose many thought that I would defend my boy and minimize the impact that yesterday's "non-news" has on my team.

I certainly did not suffer from a shortage of opinions when my arch nemesis Alex Rodriguez' name was leaked (see my story A-Rod's Not My Hero, My Son is My Hero) as a card carrying member of baseball's infamous list.

Nor did I refrain from sharing my thoughts about the village idiot, Manny Ramirez (see When a Character Lacks Character), when he tested positive for PED earlier this season and was subsequently suspended for 50 games.

I chose long ago to remain a wide-eyed little boy when it comes to the sport I love. Some say I suffer from a strong case of Peter Pan syndrome and simply want to remain a child forever. "Call it as you see it", he says as he drinks from his Sponge Bob Square Pants coffee mug.

From the first time I threw a bat on my shoulder and heard the sound of raw-hide hitting wood, I loved baseball. That will never change.

Some of the characters who play the sport have acted in an irresponsible manner for their own personal gain, but it doesn't change the way I feel about the sport or my team. It does, however, change the way I feel about the player.

The championships don't get asterisks and the Curse isn't magically reinstated. I haven't burned my Papi shirt and haven't ordered my case of Wrecking Balm to fade away my two Sox tats.

I'm not mad at my team and I don't love them any less. I'm simply saddened and disappointed that humankind cheats to win.

Anyone who knows me well or who has become a fan of my writing would know that I am passionate in my beliefs. I'm not afraid to get up on my soap box and scream to anyone who listens about my beliefs on right vs. wrong.

The crime didn't occur yesterday, it occurred almost a decade ago. In my mind, not only is Ortiz and Manny guilty, but so are the others on the list, the commissioner and his court, the owners of the sport and, to a lesser degree, the players who knew about it, but chose to let it continue.

I, like everyone, have my faults. I don't pretend to be holier than though, but I was brought up correctly and have tried to do the same with my children. Though not an overly religious lot, my family does know Commandment Number Eight and that reads, "Thou Shall Not Steal."

Yesterday's game was a perfect test of my own internal belief system. Big Papi stepped to the plate with the game on the line and sent a high fly towards the center field bleachers. I cheered for the ball and I cheered for my team, but I didn't cheer for Ortiz.

As Papi crossed home he stepped firmly on the plate and pointed skyward as he always does.Only this time, instead of thanking God for his strength and his abilities, I sensed he prayed to God that this all would go away.

In life and in sport, cheating is cheating is cheating.

Todd Civin is a freelance writer for the Bleacher Report and a supporter of the children's story "A Glove of Their Own."

"A Glove of Their Own" is the award winning children's story that teaches Pay It Forward through baseball and is being supported by Louisville Slugger, International Baseball Federeration, iFungo, Rawlings, Modells, as well as players and coaches including Jason Grilli, Joe Torre, Luis Tiant, Dick Drago, Ken Griffey, Craig Biggio and Sean Casey. Visit .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski Bangs It Through In Good Sports Home Run Derby

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski proved that kickers are athletes by winning the First Annual Good Sports Celebrity Home Run Derby yesterday at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass.

Gostkowski, the Patriots' pro-bowl kicker, amazed the crowd of about 1,000 by smashing 20 long balls in the first round and another 13 in the final round over the slightly-drawn-in fence at LaLacheur.

Gostkowski, who aside from Lowell's own "Irish" Mickey Ward, may have been the smallest contestant in the derby, smashed home runs on nine of his first 11 pitches, easily advancing into the final round.

"I was a pitcher in college," explained Gostkowski, who actually attended Memphis State on a baseball scholarship. "I took my share of BP (batting practice)."

Other competitors in the contest included Patriots Tully Banta-Cain and Christian Fauria, Bruins Lyndon Byers and Andy Brickley (NESN), Celtic Bill Walker, WEEI personality Mike Adams, NESN anchor desk personality Cole Wright, and the stars of the Biggest Loser reality series, Mark and Jay Kruger.

Fauria and Wright advanced to the final round along with Gostkowski, with Fauria setting the pace with 12 long balls. Gostkowski trailed Fauria in the finals, 12-9, with only one more out remaining.

"The pressure got to me once they put my kids on the mic," laughed Fauria, who smashed 10 in round one to advance.

Just like he's done so many times for the Patriots, Gostkowski stepped to the metaphorical scrimmage line and banged his next four pitches "through the uprights" for a last-second victory.

"I think we better bring in the testing truck," quipped Lyndon Byers of the WAAF Hillman Morning Show, alluding to the fact that the kicker may be juiced.

The real winners at the event were the fans, the kids and Good Sports. Good Sports is a non-profit organization whose goal is to increase youth participation in sports, fitness and recreational programs by targeting one of the major obstacles in participation, access to sports equipment.

Since 2003, Good Sports has provided more than $3.8 worth of equipment, while impacting more than 180,000 kids in nearly 600 youth programs.

Good Sports CEO Melissa Tatro Harper, took the microhone at the end of the event and reminded fans, "Every home run hit was a home run to help kids."

The event also featured an appearance by the Devil Dawg from the Lowell Devil Hockey team, as well as, numerous vendors, raffles and auctions of sports items and memorabilia.

After the event the crowd was treated to a cook out with the athletes and their families.

"This was really exciting," exclaimed Billerica's Derek Gardner, a youngster who attended the event with his family. "Gostkowski had a great swing. He was awesome."

Gardner's sister Brennah stopped chewing her hamburger long enough to tell me, "Yeah, it was cool to be here."

Overall, the event was a home run for Gostkowski, Good Sports and all the fans of the event.

Visit Good Sports Boston site for more information and to see all of the wonderful events on the Good Sports Calendar.

Todd Civin is a freelance writer for the Bleacher Report. Feel free to contact him at He is also a supporter of the book A Glove of Their Own, the award winning children's book that teachers children to pay it forward through baseball. Visit and purchase the book under donor code GSB 133 Good Sports Boston. AGOTO will donate $3.00 from each sale will go to Good Sports Boston.

PHOTO CREDIT: Holly Johnson

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boston Sports Stars Hit a Long Home Run for Good Sports Boston

For most baseball fans, the Home Run Derby at the Major League All-Star game earlier this month was at best "forgettable."

I suppose, if you're Prince Fielder you may recall the event each time you polish the trophy that rests atop your mantle. While, if you're Brandon Inge, you are more than likely discussing the event each session you lie on the couch with your sports psychologist.

But if you are any other kid from age four to 94, you are more than likely wringing out another box of Kleenex after being bored to tears by another lackluster Pop Up Derby.

Well, cry no longer if you're a baseball fan (or fan of any sport for that matter) and live within throwing distance of central Massachusetts. Good Sports Boston is presenting the REAL Celebrity Softball Home Run Derby this Sunday at LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell Spinners.

Celebrity participants from Boston sports teams and media outlets will be pulling on the batting gloves and slapping on the pine tar as part of central Massachusetts most awesome charity sporting event.

The following celebrities will be participating in the event:

  • "Irish" Mickey Ward
  • Benjamin Watson-Patriots
  • Stephen Gostkowski-Patriots
  • Christian Furia-Patriots
  • Bill Walker-Celtics
  • Kritine Lilly-Breakers
  • Lyndon Byers-Bruins
  • Bob Sweeney-Bruins
  • Andy Brickley-Bruins/NESN
  • Lou Merloni-Red Sox
  • Luis Tiant-Red Sox
  • Dana Barros-Celtics
  • Cole Wright-NESN
  • Pete Sheppard-WEEI
  • Mike Adams-WEEI
  • Mark Kruger-Biggest Loser Reality TV Star
  • Jay Kruger-Biggest Loser Reality TV Star

The event will take place using celebrity pitchers, catchers, reporters, and emcees. Contests & raffles will take place throughout the day giving fans the chance to win amazing prizes, including signed memorabilia from the celebrity participants, and even the opportunity to take the field and hit a home run of their own!

Following the event, an exclusive VIP reception will be held where fans, sponsors, and auction winners will have the opportunity to meet all the stars. All proceeds from the event will support Good Sports Boston.

Good Sports mission is to increase youth participation in sports, fitness, and recreational programs by targeting one of major obstacles that is limiting participation and that is access to sports equipment.

Through the efforts of Good Sports, Boston youths and youth organizations in need are provided with sports equipment, apparel, and footwear.

Good Sports Boston CEO, Melissa Harper believes that the event will be a success and is excited for the first long ball to clear the fence.

"This is our first time holding the event so I hesitate to estimate on the crowd size. We do think that the turnout will be a good one," explained Harper, who with a little goading from the writer predicted Kristine Lilly of the Breakers as her favorite in the competition.

"We're moving in the fences a bit so the fans are sure to see some hits leaving the park. Regardless who wins it 's exciting to think that every swing and every home run that leaves the park will be to benefit kids who need uniforms and equipment."

Since 2003, Good Sports has provided more than $3.8 million worth of equipment, while serving nearly 600 youth programs and positively impacting the lives of more than 180,000 kids who would go without new sporting equipment and uniforms if not for the effort of Good Sports Boston.

Harper is especially gracious to the corporate sponsors of this event, Celsius, WEEI Radio, NESN, The Red Sox Foundation, Celtics Team Up for Kids, Boston Breakers, and Boston Bruins, as well as, all the fans and sponsors who help Good Sports throughout the year.

Tickets to the event are $12.50 for admission, with a limited number of VIP tickets available for $75.00. The VIP tickets include admission to the VIP reception where fans, sponsors, and auction winners will have the opportunity to meet all the stars of the event.

Gates open at 11:30 AM with the first pitch to be thrown at 1:00 PM. Follow the signs off of Rte 495 and Rte 3 in Lowell, MA to find LeLacheur Park.

Visit Good Sports Boston site for more information and to see all of the wonderful events on the Good Sports Calendar.

Todd Civin is a freelance writer for the Bleacher Report. Feel free to contact him at He is also a supporter of the book A Glove of Their Own, the award winning children's book that teachers children to pay it forward through baseball. Visit and purchase the book under donor code GSB 133 Good Sports Boston. AGOTO will donate $3.00 from each sale will go to Good Sports Boston.

"Reel Hardball" Movies Coming to a Ball Park Near You

Terence Mann: Brett and PJ, people will come.

They'll come to the ball park turned movie theatre for reasons they can't even fathom.

They'll turn into the parking lot not knowing for sure why they're doing it.

They'll arrive at their seats as innocent as children, longing for the past.

Of course, you two won't mind if they look around, as they wait for the opening credits to roll.

It's only $10 per person. They'll pass over the money to the ballpark movie theatre usher without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and Baseball Movies that they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect moonlit night.

And they'll watch movies...Baseball movies Brett and PJ...Baseball Movies.

They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the Baseball Movies and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.

They'll sit with their kids and they'll eat popcorn and Cracker Jacks, PJ and Brett and memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.

People will come Brett and PJ. They will come.

The one constant through all the years, Brett and PJ, has been baseball and the outdoor movie theatre. Combine the two and you have an irresistible combination that fans will not be able to resist.

Fans of baseball. Fans of the movies. Especially baseball movies, Fans of family, and friends, and America. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.

But baseball movies have marked the time. This ball park turned movie theatre: it's a part of our past, Brett and PJ. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.

Oh...people will come Brett and PJ. People will most definitely come.

Though the famous dialogue above may sound vaguely reminiscent to a scene from baseball movie lore, the expertly trained ear may notice the differences.

The ball park is not in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, but in a local minor league ballpark in your own back yard.

There will be no baseball played on the field today and certainly no ghosts of baseball past coming from the vegetable garden.

But, if filmmakers Brett Rapkin and P.J. Moynihan see their "dream" come to fruition, the fans will come...The fans will most definitely come.

Rapkin and Moynihan will be presenting the first in a series of independent baseball film festivals, tonight at historic Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, MA. Tonight's baseball double feature under the stars will feature Rapkin's films, “Holyland Hardball,” and “Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey”.

“Holyland Hardball,” is the story of Israel's first professional baseball league, created by Boston bagel maker Larry Baras, and his quest to bring baseball to the Middle East. “Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey,” is the documentary that follows famed Red Sox pitcher and resident Spaceman, Bill Lee, on his adventures to Cuba.

Both are award winning films, which were produced by Rapkin.

The two film makers, see tonight's event as a coming attraction of sorts, for a series of baseball movies they are packaging under the name “Reel Hardball”.

"Reel Hardball" is a collection of independent baseball films that the duo expects to launch on network cable in December, 2009. They hope to announce who their broadcast partners will be in the near future and see these ball park movie events as a precursor to the "Big Game".

"We envision Reel Hardball becoming a series very much like Turner Classic Movies. A package of Independent Baseball films that fans look forward to watching each week," explains Moynihan, who earned his degree in Film Making from Columbia University in 2002. He started Digital Eyes Films in 2003, a company he currently owns and operates

"We'd love to see this develop into a very strong brand through the distribution channels we've identified such as ball park screenings, network broadcasting and a strong online presence.

"We see the ball park screenings as a way to put the films in front of baseball fans and a way to educate the public about these wonderful independent baseball films."

At the same time Moynihan and Rapkin will have the opportunity to see the crowds reaction as they view these films with center-field as their back drop.

Moynihan was the creator of a ten-part baseball film series entitled “Eye on the Dream,” which chronicled the lives of the Keene Swamp Bats as the players followed their dreams to become professional baseball players.

Moynihan was also the general manager of Holyoke Giants, a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Giants have since relocated to Lynn, MA and play as the North Shore Navigators.

The two film makers were actually brought together by Executive Producer Philip Rosenfield, who was the owner of the Holyoke Giants at the time and worked with Moynihan on the "Eye On the Dream Series". Rosenfield is the current owner of the Navigators in Lynn.

The “Reel Hardball” double-feature night begins at 8 p.m. tonight at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield. Tickets will be sold at the gate and cost $10.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sioux City Saints Play Baseball To "Build a House For Blake"

"What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:27

The Bible verse from Luke 18:27 is only one of several that fills the pages of Blake Jorgenson's website, but perhaps it is this one, which speaks most loudly to the many supporters who visit his "Build A House for Blake" website.

Be it with the help of God alone or the combined commitment of many men, women, family and friends who have joined forces to Build a House for Blake, the story screams of all that is right in the small mid-western town of Sloan, Iowa today.

On November 8th, 2008, tragedy struck the small community known as Westwood, when five Westwood Community High School wrestlers and their coach were seriously injured in a near head-on collision near Hornick, Iowa.

A driver of one car perished in the crash, while the wrestlers and their coach were seriously injured, while on their way to a wrestling clinic. The teenage passengers Trent Baker, Jordan Mitchell, Sage Washburn of Hornick, Adam Greeno, along with their coach Daniel Thompson have recovered from their injuries. Blake, who was the most severely injured, is paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair.

Blake and the other passengers were immediately transported to Mercy Medical Center twenty miles north of Sioux City, Iowa. On November 20th, Blake was transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado with a severe C-6/7 spinal injury. He remained at Craig until February 17th, when he and his family returned home.

He now lives each day journeying down the long road of rehabilitation and recovery, while learning to do many daily tasks all over again with the help of his family and the rehabilitation team.

The Jorgensen's current home is a split-level house, with many narrow halls and doorways which are impossible to maneuver with a wheel chair. In an effort to help the Jorgensons, the community supporters established the "Build a House for Blake" fund to build a new home for the Jorgenson's.

Their goal of raising $100,000 for the project and to "Build a House for Blake" has nearly become a reality. The community has participated in a series of bake sales, talent shows, dinners, concerts and other wonderful efforts in an effort to reach the goal.

On Sunday, July 19th, 2009 at 5:00 pm the annual Fred Stolen Classic will pit the Sioux City Saints Baseball Club against the Yankton Tappers at the Westwood High School baseball field in with all proceeds going to the Jorgensen family.

The tournament takes place each year but this year the event is being held to raise funds for Blake's fund.

The Saints are a summer amateur collegiate baseball team established in 1975 by Fred Stolen. The team is primarily comprised of former Sioux City and area high school players that currently play in college and return home for the summer to play baseball.

The Saints use wooden bats, play nine inning games, and have a twenty-five game schedule. The Saints are managed by Marty Pottebaum, a retired Sioux City police officer, and assisted by former Sioux City Explorer left-handed pitcher, Leo Patino.

Patino played minor league baseball with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers.

The Saints General Manager is Bob Protexter, a 1985 Sioux City East High graduate, who played for Blake Jorgensen’s grandfather Don Jorgensen Sr. at East High. Protexter also played against Blake’s father, Don Jr., while playing amateur baseball many years ago. Protexter remembers ‘Donnie’ as “an imposing six foot, six inch righty that had the intimidating ability to effectively place blazing fastballs outside of the strike zone.”

Protexter is also instrumental in the quest to get baseball back into the Olympic games in 2016.

For more information on the Saints and the benefit game, visit the Saint's website.

For additional information on "Build a House for Blake&quot", contact Head Project Coordinator, Chad Shook at 712-946-5577, Assistant Project Coordinator, Todd Greder at 712-428-4337 or by email at or go. The website for the fund can be found at

Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for the Bleacher Report. Both he and Bob Protexter are supporters of A Glove of Their Own, the award winning children's story which teaches the art of Paying it Forward through baseball. When purchasing A Glove of Their Own $3.00 of every sale goes to non-profit organizations and an additional .30 goes ot buy equipment for under privileged children.

Visit to purchase the book and to pay it forward to baseball fans everywhere.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Future of Olympic Baseball Rests in His Capable Hands

Up until yesterday, my heroes of baseball included Roy Hobbs, Ray Kinsella, Henry Aaron, and my son, Corey. Each holds a special place in my heart for a multitude of different reasons and for what they represent in my thousands of fond baseball memories.

After speaking yesterday with Dr. Harvey Schiller, President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), it is quite clear that I need to make space for yet another hero of the sport I love.

Though his name will never be found in a box score or the record book of baseball history, Schiller may forever be remembered as the man who saved Olympic baseball.

Schiller and the rest of the IBAF are faced with the daunting task of trying to get baseball reinstated into the 2016 Olympics for the games of the XXXI Olympiad.

Imagine the immense pressure and the magnitude of the task resting on Schiller's shoulders, as the future of the the inclusion of baseball on this International stage rests in peril.

"We have done everything asked of us by the Olympic movement, including stepping up our anti-doping policy, in order to meet the requirements to return to the Olympic Games," said Dr. Schiller who was elected as President of the IBAF in 2007.

Schiller and the IBAF insist that its Olympic hopes should not be hurt by the high-profile doping controversies in Major League Baseball involving such stars as Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Barry Bonds.

In a June 13 article written by Simon Ward, Schiller stated “We have millions of people who play the game, billions of people who watch the game. Why should young people around the world be denied the opportunity to play in the Olympics by these few?”

“Despite some of the recent headlines, baseball as a sport has never been better positioned globally for success,” explained Dr. Schiller.

Schiller and several other IBAF dignitaries traveled to Japan in mid-June to present their case to the International Olympic Committee and feel confident that the meeting went well.

Following the meeting, Schiller held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo and revealed that in order to have MLB players participate in the Olympics, IBAF is proposing a plan to shorten the duration of the tournament from 11 days to five days.

"I have requested all the owners to send their best players to the Olympics. I am confident about it”, added Schiller.

Baseball, along with softball were both voted out of the 2012 Olympics to be held in London and is one of seven sports seeking to fill the two available openings in the games of 2016. The other sports vying for the two spots are karate, golf, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball, and squash.

The IBAF is the governing body of all International competition in baseball, excluding when a Major League team travels to a foreign land to play and includes the recently completed World Baseball Classic.

As the IBAF web site so accurately explains, "Baseball is not Korean, or American or Japanese or Cuban. Baseball is global."

"It's played by millions of children and adults in 100 different countries. It has been played at the Olympics beginning in 1904, and has been a medal sport since 1992."

The IBAF has recently extended support of the book "A Glove of Their Own" to help further their cause and will be sending one of the award winning children's book to each of the participating countries around the globe.

"We feel that the principals of fair play, sharing and inclusiveness exhibited in the book are perfect examples of the values baseball teaches to people around the world. The organization will partner with the "A Glove of Their Own" team to get the book to as many members of the IOC as possible as an example of how baseball can unify all."

"Since the book is geared to young people, perhaps those reading it and sharing it will some day be rewarded with an Olympic experience due to the lessons taught in the book."

The IBAF will also hopes to encourage sales of the book to their Federations throughout the world, with proceeds going to the IBAF Charity "Pitch In For Baseball."

As the site explains, "The first recorded account of a baseball game was in 1838 in Beechville, Ontario, Canada. Likewise, the faces of baseball come from Ghana and Uganda; from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela; from the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland and Latvia; from Israel and Jordan; from Korea, China, Chinese Taipei and Singapore, New Zealand and Australia."

All of the players, all the fans, all the coaches and umpires around the world can say, "I am baseball."

So as you can see, Dr. Schiller and the IBAF have not only America's baseball resting on their shoulders, but baseball around the world. And that is how a man becomes one of my baseball heroes.

Todd Civin is a free lance writer for the Bleacher Report and is a supporter of A Glove of Their Own. He encourages you to visit the site at and to purchase the book using the code of Pitch in For Baseball PIF 129.

Jason Grilli's Commitment is a "Good Sign" for Denver Area Deaf School

Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Grilli has a career record of 16-16 with a 4.73 ERA. Good by all standards, but the Hall of Fame is not yet calling. According to the record book that really counts, however, Grilli is a winner of the Cy Young Award, MVP and slated for induction into Life's Hall of Fame.

After chatting with Grilli this afternoon about his involvement in this years "Signs of Summer Event" in Golden, Colorado, it is clear that Grilli is one of the good guys. Soft spoken, humble, and committed to helping those less fortunate than himself are attributes that don't show up on the scoreboard.

But for those who are keeping score at home, Grilli is throwing a perfect game.

Grilli became involved with the Rockie Mountain Deaf School (Charter School) shortly after he was traded to the Rockies last season and has become a regular fixture at the school to this day.

"I really wanted to do something for the community, because that's the type of person I try to be, explained Grilli who posted a 3-2 record with a 2.93 ERA for the Rockies last season. "My sister was a sign language interpreter, so when I got the letter from the school, I figured things happen for a reason."

The letter Grilli refers to was part of a fund raising campaign sent to him by Kay Bohan, who's son Troy is a student at the school. When the school was forced to move for the fifth time in 11 years Bohan started the "Sign's of Summer" event to raise money for a permanent building.

"I sent out letters along with sports memorabilia to over 1000 athletes across the country. My hopes was to get them to autograph the items so we could auction it off at our first event. I got back about 600 items, which was great," explained Bohan.

"But I only got one phone call from an athlete asking how else he could help. And that was from Jason."

Bohan explained that when Grilli got the letter he was so touched that he called his dad, Steve, who was also a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays from 1975-79. Then he called his wife and his sister and read them the letter as well.

"I knew I had to help," explained Grilli. "I called Kay and told her that signing autographs is the easy part, what else can I do to help?"

The two started talking about communication and how challenging it is for the deaf to communicate. At that point "a light went off" and Grilli told Kay about the Globallinx Video Phone, which he brings on the road so he can see his family when he calls them.

"I bring it so I can see my family and they can see me during times away from home", explained Grilli. "So I sent Kay and Troy a video phone to see if it helped him communicate."

Grilli has since donated several to the school to help the other 55 deaf students who attend. The 5 Linx company that manufactures the phones is also giving away two video phones at tomorrow's big event as well as paying for a one-year phone bill subscription for each one. Grilli is now a company rep for 5 Linx and markets the phone through his Perfect Pitch Marketing company.

"Meeting Troy for the first time, made me melt," explained Grilli. "These kids have such special needs. I have a son of my own and I would hope that someone helped him if he had the need. I just love them."

Grilli went on to explain, "I hope you understand. I don't do this so Jason Grilli get's a gold star next to his name. I do it because it's the right thing to do."

Bohan, who described herself as "just a mom" is not employed by the school, but simply a very involved fundraiser.

"The school really lacks funding as the state cut our budget by over $134,000.", explains Bohan. "The school is funded strictly by state funding and private donations and this fundraiser really helps out."

The Signs of Summer event is held at the Mount Vernon Country Club in Golden, Colorado on Saturday, May 30, 2009 from 11 AM to 3 PM and will feature a huge auction of sports memorabilia, as well as many other items.

"We are absolutely thrilled by the outpouring of goodness," explains Bohan. "We have signed Colorado Rockies jerseys courtesy of Jason and the team. And FSN, who does the television for the Rockies games, has donated tickets to a game and will allow you to go up into the TV booth and announce part of the game."

Additional auction items include:

  • Signed jerseys from the Los Angeles Kings hockey team
  • Disney items donated by Radio Disney
  • Bedside fire alarms and pens donated by Lifetone
  • Pay it Forward bracelets
  • Colorado Rockies memorabilia donated by Fuller-Southeby's International of Denver (who also donated all of the postage for the event).

Grilli has also set up a website for online donations at He utilizes the site throughout the year and not only during this event.

Grilli will also be signing the book "A Glove of Their Own", the children's baseball book which has captured the hearts of the nation.

"Both Jason and I are good friends with Bob Salomon (a team member that created "A Glove of Their Own" and the book's promoter). We are thrilled to have Jason signing the book at the event.

"A Glove of Their Own", which I wrote about in my recent article, "Making A Difference One Glove at A Time", helps raise money for organizations like the Rocky Mountain Deaf School.

By purchasing the book at the event or online using the school's unique donor code RMD281 a portion of the proceeds for each book sold will be donated directly to the Rocky Mountain Deaf School. The book can be ordered using the code for RMDS at

The book, which is being supported by players and managers all across the country, was awarded the coveted Ben Franklin Award for Excellence in Publishing.

Before hanging up the phone with Bohan and Grilli, I asked her what she would do if Grilli ever gets traded away from the Colorado team.

She laughed, "He's as committed to the cause as I am. He's on a mission and he and Troy are friends for life."

Rocky Mountain Deaf School is founded on the belief that deaf children can and should succeed. The driving force behind the school is a theme of excellence in research-based academic programs In this intellectually stimulating environment, communication is totally accessible throughout the day from every person in the child’s environment. Each student’s potential is maximized as teachers continue to instill in each child the joy of living and learning.