RIBBE 2019 is just about done on the mound and a fresh new year, RIBBE 2020, is heading in from the bullpen. 2019 logged a lot of miles and performed beautifully. And now it is time for 2020 to take over the game and keep the positive momentum going. Let’s take a look at the incredible memories and accomplishments of RIBBE 2019 before the baseball gets handed to RIBBE 2020.
Red Sox Winter Weekend – I got to spend the day, in Foxwoods Resort and Casino, with my son Harrison walking around Boston Red Sox exhibits, meeting former and current Red Sox players and coaches, taking batting practice, and just breathing in the Boston Red Sox Experience as a superfan. It was extra special being there with my son, who loves baseball and has a great mind for the game and its history.
Meeting and befriending Babe Ruth’s Granddaughter – I found about an event at McCoy Stadium last winter that involved the Boston Red Sox equipment truck, the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the scheduled appearance of Babe Ruth’s Granddaughter. I attended the event, which included an opportunity to write a personal message on the equipment truck headed to the Boston Red Sox Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, FL. And I was able to meet Linda Ruth Tosetti – a direct, blood relative of Babe Ruth (Linda’s Mom was Babe Ruth’s only daughter from birth). From there, I invited Linda and her husband, Andy out to lunch with my wife to talk Babe and baseball. 5 hours into lunch I think I finally asked my first interview question. What an amazing couple Linda and Andy are. I just loved that day and look forward to continuing my friendship with Linda in 2020.
Attending a Challenger Division Clinic at RI Prospects – I met Chuck Cooper and Cody Ortega this past Spring at the RI Prospects baseball facility 365Sports. Both were overseeing a clinic of RI Prospect and District 2 Challenger Division players, all working together towards a goal of playing better baseball. The clinic had laughter and encouragement and enthusiasm and embodied the spirit of giving back to the community. I was beyond impressed with the players and coaches at that clinic for their dedication to baseball for all. It was such a pleasure to meet Chuck and Cody.
Throwing out the First Pitch at McCoy Stadium – I received an email from Joe Bradlee of the Pawtucket Red Sox about attending a PawSox game to commemorate my work with Rhode Island baseball. It was an honor to be recognized and I took my family to the game. I got to throw out the First Pitch, sit behind home plate, even call a 1/2 inning on the radio broadcast. It was a great memory and I thank the staff of the Pawtucket Red Sox for a wonderful night.
Rhode Island High School Baseball All Star Game(s) – This spring, at Rhode Island College, 3 divisions of the very best Rhode Island High School student athletes played a series of games. Divisions 1, 2, and 3 baseball players from all over the state – large schools to small – competed against each other on a beautiful sunny spring day. The conditions for baseball were perfect. I got to sit in the booth with RIC coaches Frank Holbrook and Pete Olsen to learn more about scouting and player evaluation. And I got to watch some future collegiate and possibly professional baseball players from Rhode Island showcase their talents. Thanks to Coach Holbrook and Olsen for letting me hang out with you.
Wickford Middle School wins the RI State Title – Having played at Wickford Middle School and then had children who attended Wickford Middle School, this win was incredibly personal. In addition, my son has been playing with/against most of the players on this team for years and years in Wickford now North Kingstown/Wickford Little League games. I was so happy for the parents as well, who put in a ton of hours bringing players to games, practices, and clinics over the years. It was an amazing season for Coach Bill Brew and the crew. Congrats again to Wickford Middle School baseball 2019.
10th Annual Run to Home Base Event – This summer I signed up for and ran in the 10th Annual Run to Home Base Event at Fenway Park, Boston. The event celebrates our service men and women and their families and looks to raise awareness for Veterans’ causes such as PTSD and mental illness. It was an emotional event to say the least. I ran with a purpose, even though my running days are decades in the past. I ran for my father, a Vietnam Veteran, who still suffers from the effects of PTSD and other war related mental illlnesses. I was so proud to represent my family that day and I encourage others to learn more about the Run to Home Base Event.
Newport Gulls Salute to First Responders Night – You never have to convince me to go to a Newport Gulls game. I always enjoy a night out in Newport in the summer, sitting in the stands in one of the most historic baseball parks in the country, and watching some of the top collegiate baseball players play the game I love. This summer, I attended the Salute to First Responders Night at Cardines and it was spectacular. The color guard was presented by local and state Police, Fire, and First Responders. There was a moving tribute with the singing of the national anthem by the relative of a fallen hero. The stands stood and cheered enthusiastically as our brave men and women marched onto and off the baseball field. It was a thrilling, emotional night in Newport.
Noah Strong Wiffle at Whipple Event in Smithfield – The Wiffle at Whipple Event captured my attention for so many reasons, namely to support Noah Antunes, a youth baseball player from Smithfield Little League who is battling cancer. The Smithfield Little League community got together in a major way this past fall hosting this wiffle ball event at Whipple Field. Hundreds of kids and families showed up to support #noahstrong and raise money for this local hero. I was so incredibly impressed by the volunteerism and community spirit this event showcased. What an amazing community there in Smithfield and a shining example of how baseball can bring hundreds of families together to support a very important cause.
59 Baseball Complexes, 100 + Fields – This fall, I embarked on a journey to connect Rhode Island baseball communities on my bike. My Trek Bike, my wife, and I traveled to 59 baseball and sports complexes throughout Rhode Island. In roughly 6 weeks time, I visited fields from Westerly to Woonsocket, from Little Compton to Cranston, and every field in between. Along the way, I met up with players, coaches, and board members who love baseball and support the RI baseball community. I got to see the beautiful woods and rivers and bike paths and neighborhoods that connect each and every baseball town in our state. I applaud all those volunteers who make the fields look presentable and most of all safe for our kids to play baseball on every single season. What an incredible journey and I can’t wait to do it again in 2020.
Thank you for an incredible season RIBBE 2019. You performed brilliantly in all seasons of weather, traveling the state to share baseball stories, and promote the amazing Rhode Island Baseball community. 2020, you are up next and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me.
Happy New Year everyone!!!