Last night I lay in bed contemplating a writing prompt I recently read inviting me to picture the one person I wished was reading my blog and write him or her a letter. You immediately popped into my mind and last night as I thought about writing such a letter, I found myself in tears.
On April 24, 2008, I went blind very quickly and unexpectedly. I wish I knew the exact date I heard your name for the first time but it must have been nearing the end of the 2008 season. I heard Down and Out, a song I loved, and asked my boyfriend why it was playing. He explained all about you and your amazing rookie season and the Rays and how Joe Maddon had taken you guys out of the cellar and it looked like you might just make the playoffs.
I was not a baseball fan. I wasn’t a sports fan period, unless the Arizona Wildcats were playing. I thought baseball was the most boring game in the world but as I listened to the game on TV, unable to see it, relying on the broadcasters and my boyfriend, I was riveted by you and your team’s story. At the beginning of the season, before I went blind, my boyfriend got the MLB Extra Innings package and I rolled my eyes at the cost. He had said he would pay it don’t worry, unless he caught me in the bedroom with baseball on. Little did we know that would be exactly what he would discover several months later.
When I found out how much better baseball was on the radio and that the playoff games were broadcast locally, that cinched it. My little radio went with me as I listened to you and the Rays make it all the way to the World Series. I cried and cried when it was over.
I wasn’t just sad the baseball season was done. I was saddened to lose this newfound passion I had had so briefly. Evan you gave me something incredible that year and I’ve wanted you to know it ever since. You gave me something to look forward to! You opened up an interest in me that I was able to feed and dive into when I had nothing else to hold on to. I had no access to technology in those first dark months. I had nothing but books on CD that friends brought me. Until I heard Down and Out that day and found out about you.
It wasn’t long before I had a full blown crush, especially after my girl friend described you. I fantasized about meeting you, most of those fantasies not for public consumption. These days when I think about meeting you the scene always ends up with me in tears trying to tell you what you mean to me. You saved my life!
Not only am I now a rabid Rays fan who looks forward to the season every year but I have so many friends in the Twitterverse because of you and the Rays. You were the second person I followed when I joined and now I have a host of friends, fellow Rays fans, who have become family to me. I am never alone, even on my darkest days they are there. You started this Evan, you did. You were just doing your thing, playing your game, being you and you had no idea you were doing this for me, saving some woman’s life clear across the country! Thank you so much. A thank you is nowhere near enough.
You’ll probably never read this but hey, stranger things have happened right? You tweeted me once, after you were bribed, I wonder if you remember that.
I think that’s all I have. I know the chances of you reading this are rare but the thought that maybe someday you’ll know what you mean to me makes me smile. You also have no idea how much sometimes I wish I was Jaime! You know, because she can see. Right sure uh huh that’s it.