The guy on the left here is Reds third-base coach Mark Berry, one of my favorite people in the game. Mark played baseball at my alma mater, the University of Arkansas, but he was there a few years before I was. He has been battling throat cancer and was told yesterday that he is officially cancer-free. Had a long talk with him right before batting practice. He talked about how, when he was undergoing treatment, he deliberately avoided having any photos taken of himself because he didn’t want to see how much weight he had lost. But he did pose with his parents and siblings for one photo, and when he looked at it later, he was absolutely shocked. Said he lost 40 pounds but has put 10 back on. He looks great now, and in talking to him, he sounded great. Said now that it’s over, only now does he look back and realize what a difficult thing it was to go through.
By the way, Mark Ellis said before the game that the Dodgers and the Reds have helped financially with this really nice thing that he and his wife Sarah are doing before tomorrow’s game, bringing a busload of grieving Little Leaguers and parents down from nearby Union City, Ind., and hosting them on the field. One of their teammates, Dylan Williams, age 8, was killed in a freak practice accident recently when he was hit by a ball.
In addition to the two teams, Ellis said Rawlings is chipping in to provide 300 helmets for the Union City Little League.
Finally, with the Dodgers leading the National League West by such a safe margin and the popular talk around town centered so much on how much importance they should be placing on playing for playoff seeding, my buddy Howard Cole, who blogs about the Dodgers for LA Weekly, has this very well-reasoned, pragmatic take on the matter. I suggest you take a gander at it if you haven’t already.
And finally, if you’re at all interested in the other team, here is video of that postgame ceremony the Reds held tonight in which they honored the starting eight position players from the Big Red Machine. It’s not a very good video. I took it from the press box, and the players are all tiny, and the audio sounds like the adults on the old Peanuts cartoons. But here it is, for what it’s worth.
Day game tomorrow. See ya bright and early.