The Season of Giving is Upon Us

You might not know who Ricky Stone is, but his story is one that folks should hear.  For every Andy Pettitte or Roger Clemens, there’s also a Ricky Stone.

Stone spent 6 years in MLB and one year in the Chinese Professional Baseball League.  Stone was one of the many players outed for steroid use in the Mitchell Report in December 2007.  This past August, Stone was back in America and made a visit to former teammates in the Houston Astros visiting locker room at Citizens Bank Park,.  Soon after, he had a grand mal seizure at his home in Ohio and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  Ricky Stone is only 33 years old.

Whatever your feelings on steroid use in baseball, this is a sad story.  I’ve yet to read anyone make the connection, in this case, between steroid use and the brain tumor, but it won’t surprise me to find out sooner or later that there’s a connection.  Ricky wasn’t a superstar so he doesn’t get the support of the fans and MLB in general like Pettitte and Clemens did.

The Stones (Ricky is married with two young children) are hitting financial hardships because of the medical bills so free agent, relief pitcher Nelson Figueroa and his wife, Alisa, set up the “Rally for Recovery” auction over at eBay.  You can bid on items like an autographed, game-worn Mark Bellhorn jersey (really!) and know that 100% of what you pay goes to help defray Ricky’s medical costs.

I had a brief discussion (online) yesterday with Curt Schilling in which I wondered why MLB needed to give Lou Gehrig a day when there were so many diseases, sicknesses and birth defects that affect everyone, including MLB players.   Soon every day of baseball will be designated a “day” for something in MLB.  Which wouldn’t be so bad but I see it as a PR stunt for Bud Selig, especially where MLB does a lot of work for ALS awareness already (as they do for other charities).   I wasn’t questioning whether Gehrig was a good man or that ALS is a horrible disease, but I don’t see how you can pull one horrible thing out of the air and say THAT is the worst and IT will be what we deal with.  I donate to The Angel Fund, as I donate to many other causes, but I don’t think one group’s pain is worse than another’s.  Schilling wrongly believed that I was belittling what ALS sufferers and their loved ones go through by wondering why MLB would give Gehrig a “day”.  I wasn’t.  Not at all.  But mine was a point that was difficult to get across.   Then a friend pointed out that I had paid special attention to the Taylors and maybe there were people who didn’t understand why I felt they were worthy over someone else.

Which was a great point and something I had been thinking about a lot when I came across the auction for Ricky Stone.  And what I believe is that, in helping individuals, you aren’t deciding that one’s life is more important than another’s…you’re making a mark where you’re able to.  We can’t save the world, but we sure can try one person at a time.  So while Curt fights the good fight and tries to get ALS awareness more facetime with MLB, I’ve decided to bring Ricky Stone’s plight to your attention.  Neither of us is wrong, we’re just trying to do our part.

There are many cool items over at the Rally for Recovery auction and the auction ends in plenty of time for you to get items in for the holidays!  You get to kill two birds with one stone and do something for someone else while knocking a few items off your Christmas list!

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