Tag Archives: baseball

What does baseball have to do with diabetes?

I watched a lot of baseball over the weekend. Oh, I know there’s a lot of college and NFL football out there, and that’s okay, but I watch as much October baseball as I can. That’s partly due to the fact that the best of the best are playing against each other right now in the playoffs, coupled with the knowledge that we are now officially less than a month away from no more baseball for about six months.

I’ve watched a lot of baseball over the years. I mean, a lot. I’ve been watching baseball on television since the 1960s. I’ve been to hundreds of major league games in person, in (if I have this correct) Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago (Wrigley Field and the old Comiskey Park), Washington, New York (just the old Yankee Stadium), San Diego, and of course, Baltimore. I’ve been to, I think, 13 or 14 Opening Day games in Cincinnati, and a couple more in Baltimore. I even made Opening Day in both cities a few years ago.

And it’s not just the major leagues. The Great Spousal Unit can tell you that if we see a little league team playing in a park somewhere, I’ll want to stop the car and watch a few innings. And we’ve done that.

Now… what does all this have to do with diabetes?

Well, I get a lot of enjoyment from watching baseball. Always have, always will. A lot of the baseball I’ve seen in my time has been since my Type 1 diagnosis 24-plus years ago.

Joe Carter’s World Series winning homer in 1992… all those great Atlanta Braves teams in the 90s and 00s… the Florida Marlins’ improbable championship in 1997, and again in 2003… Madison Bumgarner almost single-handedly giving the Giants their third championship in five years last year.

What do I want to see? More baseball! It’s one of the many things in my life that doesn’t give me any value except great memories. Priceless memories. Like my father taking me to see the Reds against the Cardinals in 1971, when I was nine years old. Joe Torre (the National League MVP that year) hit two solo home runs, and Johnny Bench, the Reds catcher, picked off a runner at first base. I remember almost 40 years later, taking my father and father-in-law to see the Twins and the Dodgers in a spring training game in Fort Meyers. My dad caught a foul ball. I still have it. Don’t tell him… he might want it back.

The truth is, I have a hundred stories like that. I have a hundred memories like that. And I want a hundred more.

I’ve been able to enjoy a lot of those moments in my life thanks to insulin, my care team, and my family and friends. If I’m going to enjoy even more, it’s going to be because I learn, adapt to new techniques and ideas, and take advantage of the latest in technology and drugs.

I think what I’m trying to say is this: When you’re burned out, when you just don’t want to do that BG check, when you just want to unplug and walk away from diabetes, well, I get it. I feel the same way sometimes. Often, when I feel like that, I try to think of one really fantastic thing that I would miss if I couldn’t be around to enjoy it. The One Thing might change from time to time, but I try to get that focus on what’s important and permanent (memories), and off of what’s temporary and annoying (burnout).

Find your One Thing. I’m not saying it will make things so wonderful you’ll never ever get burned out again. But sometimes, remembering the good stuff helps bring us back and refocuses us so we can not only live to fight another day with diabetes… we can live to enjoy another day of piling up the best memories we can, against the worst thing that might ever happen to us.

What’s your one thing?

A Non-D Post: Trip Recap.

I was gone from home for most of last week. I went to Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, my birthplace and where I grew up. The main purpose of my trip: Baseball.

At Great American Ballpark on Reds Opening Day

At Great American Ballpark on Reds Opening Day

As I said in a post last week, Opening Day is really a holiday in the Queen City. And I’m fortunate to have a brother-in-law with a partial season ticket plan. So we were able to be two of the 45,000-plus to attend the 13 inning loss by my Reds. I’ve been living in Baltimore for 19 years, but I grew up in Cincinnati in the age of the Big Red Machine. And I’m still a huge fan.

Here are a few quick hits from my trip:

– My encounters with TSA staff going out of Baltimore/Washington International and Dayton International Airports was very nice and without incident. They waved me through the metal detectors with my insulin pump, and they hand checked everything with the Dexcom G4 that I was carrying as part of my clinical trial. I had to explain how a CGM works about 50 times, but everything was pretty easy going and no full body pat downs. I’ll ask this again: Am I just lucky so far, or am I having such an easy time with TSA because I’m male?

– I arrived on Friday, which happened to be Good Friday, which meant I got to spend Easter Sunday with some of Maureen’s family. For various reasons I won’t waste time detailing here, I didn’t get to spend any of the holiday with my family. First time in a long time I spent time with family at Easter, and we had a great time. It was also the first time in a long time that I was apart from Maureen at Easter, and we missed each other terribly. Life is a balance.th

– I did get to spend a little time with my parents, ages 78(dad) and 74(mom). I hope they don’t mind my giving their ages… after raising six kids, they should celebrate the fact that they look this good and they’ve made it this far. I really enjoyed our lunch together.

– Speaking of lunch together, check this space later in the week for details about my meetup with another Super Diahero.

– There’s hardly an inch at Great American Ballpark that isn’t covered by advertising, and that can give the casual observer the impression that it’s a cheesy place to watch a game. But after several visits now, I can tell you that to me, it seems like Reds ownership and staff give an almost hurculean effort to make every fan’s experience a positive one at their home park. Even if that fan roots for the visiting team. Kudos to Bob Castellini and the rest of the Reds front office for making it fun to go to the game. Even when it’s football weather outside. Can you send a team to Baltimore to show the folks at Camden Yards how it’s supposed to be done? I root for the Orioles, but I don’t much enjoy going to the game here.

– I really like Reds Opening Night, a newer phenomenon held two days (or nights) after Opening Day. The day after Opening Day is always an off day, held in reserve in case of inclement weather on Opening Day. Anyway, Opening Night is made into a big deal there partly because a lot of fans can’t get a ticket to Opening Day. So on Opening Night, the team’s broadcasters, the stadium’s ushers, even the grounds crew wears tuxedos. There are red carpets leading to the main gates to the stadium, and the team sets up a band on a platform out beyond the right field line. The band plays before the game and in between innings during the game. A very fun experience that I now look forward to as much as Opening Day.

– As luck would have it, thanks to some recognition our team received at work, I went to work last Friday and found a ticket to get into one of the luxury suites for the Orioles home opener at Camden Yards. Two Opening Days in one week… for a baseball fan, it doesn’t get any better than that. Unless my two favorite teams make it to the World Series… Go Reds and O’s!

Here are some additional photos from the trip:

At the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.  Championship trophies from 1975, 1976, and 1990

At the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. Championship trophies from 1975, 1976, and 1990

Plaques at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum

Plaques at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum

With the family on Easter Sunday

With the family on Easter Sunday

From Easter... one for the DOC cupcake lovers...

From Easter… one for the DOC cupcake lovers…

First pitch of the 2013 baseball season

First pitch of the 2013 baseball season

The Rusty Griswolds playing on Reds Opening Night

The Rusty Griswolds playing on Reds Opening Night


No D Day. The other thing that really matters.

You read that right… thanks to George Simmons at Ninjabetic.com, October 1st is known in our world as:

That means that I have permission (like I really need it) to talk about something non-diabetes today. So what would I write about if I didn’t write about my diabetes? Probably the only other thing that really matters right now:


And if we’re talking baseball, really, we can only talk about the two Teams That Really Matter.

The First Team that Really Matters: The Cincinnati Reds

Just a sample of my Reds memorabilia: Cincinnati Magazine featuring The Great Eight on the cover… A 50’s-era replica white hat with Red wishbone C… The red, white and blue hat that gets worn on Memorial Day & Independence Day… one of the green jerseys the team used to wear on St. Patrick’s Day (note the shamrock on the shoulder)… a ticket from 1993 and 2012… an Eric Davis commemorative plate (circa 1988)… my Reds flip-flops… and the Reds Mr. Potato Head kit.

You may be thinking, “Hey, a guy from Baltimore? A Reds fan?”. Here’s Why:

The Great Spousal Unit and I grew up in Cincinnati, during the days of the Big Red Machine. That team won five division championships, four National League championships, and two World Series championships in just seven years. Even today, Maureen and I can recite the names of The Great Eight from those championships. Probably, in their order in the batting lineup. Pete Rose, Ken Griffey (Ken Griffey Sr. for you youngsters), Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, George Foster, Hall of Famer Tony Perez, Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, and Cesar Geronimo. In addition, I was at the ballpark when the team captured the National League West crown in 1990. I was there on Fountain Square downtown, celebrating after that win with about 20 others in the rain. I was there again after the National League Championship victory over Pittsburgh, with about 1,000 others. And I was there yet again after the four game sweep of Oakland in the World Series, with about 10,000 others. I’d like to be there the next time the Reds win the championship.

How will the Reds finish? I don’t know. But they’ve already won the National League Central division (Major League Baseball went to 3 divisions per league in 1994, and the Reds moved From the NL West to the newly formed Central division). There are several things in their favor this year. Let’s list them:

1. The Reds pitching is much better than in 2010, the last time they won the division. The postseason pitching rotation will probably include Johnny Cueto (side note: The Great Spousal Unit tells me that Johnny Cueto can’t be his real name. I assured her that not only is his name really Johnny Cueto, he has a faithful clubhouse assistant named Hadji), Matt Latos, and Homer Bailey, who pitched a no-hitter Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not the worst, but not the best post-season rotation ever. Which leads me to:

2. No other team has an overpowering starting rotation. The Nationals have a couple of good starters (really good, in fact). The Giants are dangerous with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. But who really has more than one pitcher that everyone fears this year? Maybe the Tigers, if the Reds get to the World Series. But that’s about it.

3. The Reds lineup is better than it’s been in years. Any discussion of the Reds has to begin with Joey Votto, who is an All-World first baseman. Next to him in the infield is Brandon Phillips, who is maybe (probably) the best second baseman in the NL. Add in guys like rookie Zach Cozart playing shortstop, reclamation project Ryan Ludwick in left field, the fleet-footed Drew Stubbs in center, Jay Bruce playing right field, and rookie Devin Mesoraco catching. Throw in veteran Scott Rolen and amazing fill-in Todd Frazier, and you’ve got a pretty deep squad that really has a chance this year.

Which brings me to:

The Second Team that Really Matters: The Baltimore Orioles

My Orioles memorabilia: Orioles replica jersey… O’s warm-up jacket… tickets from 2004 and 2007… a hat from 2004… and a replica 1966 Orioles hat.

The formerly sad-sack, punching bag of the American League Baltimore Orioles. What an amazing turnaround. For the first time in fifteen seasons, the Orioles will finish with a winning record. As of today, the Orioles are tied at the top of the American League East division with some other team that plays in New York. People around here are super-excited to see the Birds at the top of the standings again.

How will the Orioles finish? The good news is that the Orioles just clinched at least a wild card berth in the postseason. Unlike the Reds, the Orioles have been racking up wins with an unlikely group of characters and lots of extra-inning victories. In fact, the Orioles have won 16 straight extra-inning games. Do you know how unlikely that is? And how’s this for a stat? The Orioles, when leading after seven innings, have won 72 without losing any this year. That tells you that the Orioles have a great bullpen. The lineup has seen a number of guys come and go throughout the year. The front office has made nearly one transaction per day the entire season. Nevertheless, the chemistry among the squad has been remarkable. However they finish, the fans here in Baltimore have been enjoying a season that no one will soon forget.

It’s been fun writing this non-diabetes post! Thanks George. If this isn’t enough non-D stuff for you, check out the other posts at http://www.ninjabetic.com/nodday2012

A Hall of Fame Worthy Speech.

Disclosure: Even though I’ve lived in Baltimore for almost 18 years, and in Columbus, Georgia for a couple of years back in the 80’s, I was born in, grew up in, and lived many years in Cincinnati, where I became, and remain, a HUGE fan of my hometown Reds. So I tuned in to MLB Network Sunday afternoon in anticipation of watching the Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech of Barry Larkin, who will likely be the last Reds player inducted in my lifetime (Dave Parker? Dave Concepcion? Anyone? Bueller?).

Before Larkin’s speech was the speech from Vicki Santo, widow of Ron Santo, who was also inducted this year. His induction comes mere months after losing a long battle with diabetes at the age of 71. He’s not the first baseball player with Diabetes inducted into the Hall of Fame (the great Jackie Robinson comes to mind). But Vicki’s speech, honoring her husband, and his life with diabetes, was an inspiring wake-up call to all of us. It reminds us that the work for a cure goes on, and that great things can be accomplished in spite of what diabetes does to our lives. She reminds us that Ron Santo helped raise over $65 million for JDRF, and that when you walk, ride, or give to a Victoria Cumbow, a Moira McCarthy, or a Jeff Mather who is Riding for a Cure, you are helping to find a cure too. And she reminds me that I have a long way to go in the advocacy department.

The link to the full video is below, courtesy of MLB Network. A few snippets that resonated with me:

“Ron said that playing the game was easy… that only the diabetes made the game hard”.

“He embraced his gift and his hardship equally– believing that one would not have mattered without the other. He believed in his journey and he believed in his cause. His journey has led him here to Cooperstown. And his cause is finding a cure”.

“…in his legacy let it be known that here is a man who attained the highest honor his sport can give, while playing with an insidious disease”.

The speech starts at about the 1:55 mark in the video. If you can, please take the time to listen. And let this speech inspire you to make a bigger difference.

Baseball Hall of Fame | Ron Santo is inducted into the Hall Of Fame – Video | MLB.com: Multimedia.


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