Handing over $89,000 to help fund the White Sox's inner city travel ball showcase for all the right reasons was evident the moment we arrived at the ballpark. A slew of genial volunteers made sure we were catered to, looked after, and treated better than we possibly imagined. The club motto, paraphrased from a quote of Jackie Robinson’s—“A man’s life means nothing, except for the impact it has on others,” echoed in the kindness we received, our ability to help White Sox Charities enabled by our generous donors, many of whom now simply ask, “Who you helping this year?”
No Bats XXXI showcased a future generation of our own stars, something that warmed my heart. A sterling rookie class, sartorially resplendent in uniforms of pink, added to our burgeoning roster of Young Gun superstars who will take this club forward long after I’m gone. Watching these guys play brought back memories of the aging warriors who now stand beside me, stepping aside as the next generation ascends.
No Bats was founded in 1991. Eastern Airlines went kaput, Operation Desert Storm dominated the news, and the USSR dissolved into Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, and Ukraine. This year that poignancy was fitting, as the club was treated to great performances by two children of Ukraine: standout rookie Atlanta speedster Nathan Seidel and the hustling effervescence of Chicago bat girl Valeriia Balakova. Since our No Bats tagline is “Global Ambassadors for the Good of the Game,” it was fitting to see these two prove it by adding so much throughout such a splendid weekend.
Game day highlights included the awesome power of Oklahoma slugger Clint Vaughn and northern Californian bomber Dylan Mayer, both of whom blasted home runs deep into the left field stands. The club’s elder statesmen, the TELOMUGs—The Extraordinary League Of Must Unusual Gentlemen—twice demonstrated what baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson said years ago in Bimini, Bahamas to the team of grade schoolers he coached: “Look at these men,” he said, “obviously on the downside of their careers.” After the old guys limped out of the way, our Rookies, Smites (returning vets who missed last year), and Young Guns put on a show. Watching them all in action was a flashback to when we first began. For the first time I mused that perhaps 50 years might be possible.
The brotherhood is strong, and getting stronger. For that we thank everyone who supports us and selflessly gives more than he or she takes, always with good humor and kindness toward others.
Next season we head west to San Diego. Before we do, we tip our gratitude caps to Chicago, White Sox Charities, and each volunteer who pitched in to shape an unforgettable weekend. The words of the great Muhammad Ali continue to ring loud: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
Muhammad was right. Thanks to all of you for enriching my life by proving it.
Founder & Chairman
No Bats Baseball Club