A Perfect Strike…And The Crowd Goes Wild!

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Saturday was Autism Awareness Night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and as part of those proceedings, a youngster with autism named Joseph Dever trotted out to the mound with his oversized glove and threw one of the best first pitches we’ve ever seen.

First, he does the old glove to the face trick to communicate with someone about pitch selection (we assume), then he gets into a serious pitching position before balking to get the crowd pumped up. What a showman! Finally, after delivering a pretty decent pitch to the Phillie Phanatic, the kid makes your heart melt by imitating Brad Lidge‘s legendary fall-to-his-knees celebration following the Phillies winning the World Series in Game 5 in 2008. But the cuteness doesn’t stop there, as one of his little lady friends runs out and tackles him to the ground. Amazing.

Thanks for that, Joseph. We all needed it. You rule.

Click on this picture to view the video:


Jim Palmer Gets It

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Here’s to someone who gets it.  Jim Palmer, as closely associated with the Baltimore Orioles as Cal Ripken Jr., an iconic MLB Hall of Fame pitcher in his own right, really gets it.  He is not concerned about accolades, money or his baseball legacy.  He chooses to make a difference in the life of his autistic son, and to the autism community.  Many of today’s often overpaid athletes, entertainers and business tycoons should look at the work being done by Jim Palmer, Dan Marino, Holly Robinson Peete and Paul Allen, to name but a few, and see that life truly begins beyond the playing field, the screen and the boardroom.  Their lasting impact on the autism community will be felt long after their fame and fortune have gone; they will be remembered for their generosity, compassion and activism.  I am old enough to have some faint memories of how Palmer pitched, especially against ‘my Yankees’; he had that smooth, almost effortless delivery.  But like Palmer, at this stage in my life, my priorities have changed; I will remember men and women like Jim Palmer who put aside the bounty accumulated from a productive life, and used their energy and resources to help those who need it the most: the families on the Autism Spectrum. -Ed

 Jim Palmer


BALTIMORE — Jim Palmer said he no longer needs trophies as mementos of his Hall of Fame career, so the former Baltimore Orioles ace has put his three Cy Young Awards and two of his four Gold Gloves up for auction.

Palmer, currently a TV analyst for the Orioles, did not say he was financially hurting. He’s just looking to make some money by selling some of the hardware he received during his 19-year run in the major leagues.

“At this juncture of my life, I would rather concern myself with the education of my grandchildren,” Palmer said. “I also have a stepson, (15-year-old) Spencer, who is autistic and will need special care for the rest of his life. My priorities have changed.”

A portion of the profits will also be given to the autism project of Palm Beach County.

Hunt Auctions is taking bids online and over the phone through July 8 for the Cy Young Awards that Palmer won in 1973, 1975 and 1976, as well as the Gold Gloves he earned in 1976 and 1979. The live auction will take place on July 10.

Each of the Cy Young Award trophies, given to the best pitcher in each league by vote, is expected to garner between $60,000 and $80,000. The Gold Gloves are expected to receive bids up to $15,000.

“Certainly, when you talk about Cy Young Awards and Gold Gloves, these are the elite level of personal awards,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.

Palmer is the latest in a long line of Hall of Fame stars to put items up for auction, and his reasoning is not necessarily unique.

Joe DiMaggio did it. So did Ted Williams,” Hunt said. “They lived the moments, and their accomplishments are really the reward. It’s not all about dollars and cents, either. They want to make sure the items go to homes where people enjoy them.

“With Jim, we got together and he just decided it was the right time.”

Palmer realized his trophies and popularity could be used for charitable gain several years ago when in was Colorado at a fund raiser for cystic fibrosis.

“I donated a Gold Glove, a Cy Young, a round of golf at Caves Country Club and four seats to an Oriole game. And this was back when the Orioles were good – or better than they are now,” he said. “There was a gentleman who had a daughter with cystic fibrosis who paid $39,000 for that and never ever took it. It was for the cause.”

Until recently, Palmer kept the three Cy Young Awards on a wall in his Florida home. The Gold Gloves were in storage, mainly because his wife, Susan, didn’t want them in their home.

“Gold doesn’t go with my wife’s design,” Palmer said. “She has a design shop for women’s wear in Palm Beach, and she doesn’t do gold.”

Palmer, 66, says he doesn’t need polished pieces of hardware to remind him of what he accomplished over 19 seasons.

“You can’t erase the memories of 1973 or 1975 when I came back from my arm injury, when I had 10 shutouts and had to win the last day of the year to beat Catfish Hunter to win a Cy Young and get the ERA down to 2.09,” he said. “To me, those are things that happened in the past. I’m really lucky to remember all of them. Whether I have the awards or not, it’s not going to take those memories away.”

Palmer’s recollection of the four straight Gold Gloves he received for fielding prowess at his position is just as vivid.

“I was a good fielder to get those, but I didn’t win it until Jim Kaat went over to the National League,” he said, referring to Kaat’s 14-year run of Gold Gloves with the Minnesota Twins.

Palmer hopes his awards end up in the hands of someone who will appreciate them as much as he once did.

“While I am immensely proud to have received these awards, that chapter of my life has passed,” he said. “I am aware of people that love baseball and would treasure items like mine. Hopefully, these awards will bring happiness into baseball fans’ lives and allow me to make a difference in my family’s future.”

NY Mets Leading The League In Autism Awareness and Acceptance

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Mets Exploring “Quiet” Section at Citi Field for Families With Autistic Kids

(credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Yes, the Mets are exploring the possibility of selling tickets for a “quiet” section at Citi Field.

The Amazin’s posed the question to their fans in an email survey Wednesday: “The Mets are considering adding a designated ‘quiet’ seating section with lower volume PA announcements and no music or cheerleading. How likely would you be to purchase tickets in that section?”

It “would apply to a section in the second-deck, left-field seats,” which sell for between $20 and $78 apiece under the team’s dynamic pricing plan, according to the New York Post. The paper quoted a few Mets fans who panned the concept, calling it “stupid,” “boring” and “just not baseball.”

But there’s more to the story.

The idea is to make Citi Field more welcoming to families with autistic children, the Mets told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton.

WEB EXTRA: Guide to Citi Field

The franchise wanted to know if the interest in such sections extended beyond their autism awareness days, morning show co-host Craig Carton said Thursday morning. The Mets held their 10th annual Autism Awareness Day on May 6, a 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“If that’s the sole reason you’re considering it, well, bravo!” said Carton. “You want to allow all kids … to enjoy a baseball game. So why not just say that?”

When asked about “quiet” sections on Twitter, one fan responded, “I think giving the parents of kids with autism a chance to see a ball game without having major issues is exceptionally noble.”