Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bleacher Boys

BLEACHER BOYS is the story of six men who shared a common dream as boys, the dream of growing up and playing major league baseball. Six men, each of whose dream was dashed at an early age due to blindness, as if the stadium lights suddenly went dark.

Childhood had become a lonely existence until they heard the voices of the play-by-play men on their radios, storytellers who on those warm summer nights brought the boys flashes of light. Through those voices the boys each found friends who would tell exciting stories and magical tales, painting pictures and creating fields of kaleidoscopic visions. Strong relationships were formed as they cradled their radios against their ears to hear the calls of America’s favorite pastime – baseball!

Bleacher Boys is a documentary of six gentlemen who are blind and have a love of baseball. This is why baseball is such a great game. It's a game made for radio (listening) even more than the other sports, and while watching on television or in person is always fun, it just isn't possible for everyone. But lose of sight doesn't mean losing the love of the game. And these six gentlemen have never lost theirs:
Ed Lucas, now a reporter for the New York Yankees. Ed lost his sight in 1959 after being inspired by Bobby Thompson’s famous home run “heard around the world.” He and his friends were so excited, they took to the streets to play a pickup game of baseball. A line-drive hit Ed between the eyes rendering him blind. His dream of playing professional baseball shattered, his steadfast love for the game remains.

Pat Cannon lost his sight gradually. But he, too, continued the struggle to keep his baseball dream alive.

Neal Freeling, born without sight, fell in love with baseball announcer Mel Allen’s voice as his words brought the game to life. Radio voices such as these became Neil’s friends since the boys in his neighborhood shunned him. The game of baseball became his true past time.

Craig Lynch, who has never seen a baseball field in his life, now sits in the bleachers at Wrigley Field reporting on Chicago Cubs games he cannot see.

Paul Parravano, known as the MIT King, has been honored for his remarkable contributions to this prestigious university. His love of baseball motivated him to achieve Massachusetts Institute of Technology greatness.

And since every team needs a “ringer”:

Enrique “Henry” Oliu, a man rendered blind since early childhood, who has overcome the odds and made his major league baseball dream come true. Calling upon his love for sports and an encyclopedic memory for facts and figures, Henry hears the crack of the bat and knows if it’s a single, double, or homerun; he listens for the ball singing into the catcher’s mitt and knows if it’s a curveball, fastball, or change-up. Henry is the color analyst for the Tampa Rays on WMGG Mega Classica 820 radio, the strongest Hispanic station in Florida’s Tampa Bay Market.
Some amazing stories.

Original link from Baseball Digest

No comments: