On Saturday morning, my childhood dream will come true. For real.
I started playing baseball when I was seven years old. I decided quickly that I would dedicate the rest of my life to the game. For the first half of my life, my sole ambition was to be a big league baseball player. I never stopped dreaming about it. Every single day.
I came close. I was scouted by the New York Yankees when I was 16. The plan was for me to attend the University of Toledo on a baseball scholarship. It seemed like I was on my way. It’s a long story, but the whole thing fell apart. I hurt my shoulder, I ran into some other bad luck… My baseball dreams not working out is one of the great heartbreaks of my life. It still kills me, to be honest. I know I would have been good.
I had another great heartbreak a few years ago when my marriage fell apart. Over the last three years I’ve walked a long, hard road. Some good people helped me. I worked hard. I wrote a book. I made a record…
Now it’s all coming together. I’m feeling good and strong. Love is beginning to feel possible again. My album is about to be released. The deadline for my book is a matter of weeks away. AND…
On Saturday morning, I’m throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cubs-Dodgers game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. For those of you who don’t know what that means, you can learn about the tradition here:
The point is, on Saturday morning, the thing I’ve always dreamed of doing will happen - I will stand on a Major League Baseball Field (one of the most hallowed at that!) with a baseball in my hand. And I’ll tell you what - when my moment comes, I’m going to throw that ball with everything I have.
Making matters all the more sweet, I might not have been able to do this a year ago. I’ve lived with terrible pain in my shoulder since I was 16. But for the last several months, I’ve been working with Dr. Luke. He’s a sports doctor and he’s one of the best. He told me the day I met him that he’d make my shoulder better than it ever was. We still have work to do, but he made the pain go away weeks ago. The first day I threw a baseball without pain, I became emotionally overwhelmed. I wanted to run to Dr. Luke and kiss his hands. The pain had been there for so long. Now it’s gone. Now I can throw again. I feel like I was blessed with a superpower - a thing that made me special - lost it, and now I’ve got it back again.
So when I stand on that 100 year old pitcher’s mound on Saturday before the Cubs play the Dodgers, I’m going to take a good look around, take a deep breath, and then throw that ball with everything I have - all my dreams, all my heartbreak, all my years, all my strength. I’m being given a moment, a job to do and a great honor and I intend to make the very most of it. I can’t possibly express to you how much this means to me. And I can hardly believe it’s going to happen.
To my friends in Chicago - I don’t know if there are tickets left for Saturday’s game but if there are, please, come on out and let me hear you. For my friends in North America who won’t be at the game - Fox Sports is broadcasting the game as Game of the Week, which means it will be nationally televised. Tune in! If you don’t catch me throwing out the first pitch, you still might see me. I figure I’ll have pretty good seats, so I shouldn’t be too hard to spot! And to everyone else, I’ll make sure I get some video of the big moment and will be sure to share it with you (as long as there are no copyright issues!). Hopefully it will go a little better than this: