Dear Grip’N’Rip Baseball League,
Thank you, Commissioner Tony Lewis, for creating an opportunity for this never-has-been to see fastballs that buzzed and sliders that buckled my knees. I still remember the words you spoke to me at my first draft banquet in Season IV. Those words became a mantra for my time in The GRBL.
Thank you, Rance Burger, for believing in me enough to sponsor the $20 for that first year’s tryout. One of the reasons I didn’t chicken out is simply because I didn’t want to pay you back. Thank you for ALL OF THE broadcasts and all the encouragement over the past five seasons. Thank you for sharing your gifts and wisdom to make The GRBL a great experience for out-of-state friends and fans, too. I look forward to listening to you broadcast games all the way to Season 19 and your HOF induction. (You have my vote.)
Thank you, Kevin Robertson, Stephanie Lewis, Coach Lael, Mike Hudgens, and Harrison Waters for all the behind-the-scenes work you do to make gamedays such a great experience. Photos and videos and the necessary administrative details making sure we are paid and prepared to entertain friends and fans. All the hat tips. All the high fives. All the heartfelt gratitude.
Thank you to all of the coaches – Brock Chaffin, Daniel England, Austin Kendrick, Chris Meza, Cole Roark, and Courtney Spitz – for the sacrifices you make, the time you commit, and the passion you pour forth to truly make The GRBL the premier wood bat league of the Midwest. I am honored to have played ball on the same field as each of you. I am proud to call you friends.
Thank you, Mark Blehm, for driving 30 minutes one way for months to meet me for catch and grounders and pop-ups and batting practice, just so I would have enough confidence not to chicken out on that first day of tryouts. You had the courage to respond to a Facebook plea, and I am grateful for the friendship that has developed and supported me through all of life, not just on the field.
Thank you, Scott Nasby and Ryan Wolfe, for taking a chance on me that first season.
Thank you, Austin Kendrick, for drafting me to be an Ozark Mountain Duck. From catch partner to coach, I have loved learning the game from you. These past four seasons have been my favorite baseball memories. Thanks to you, I have played with the most amazing teammates.
In my five seasons, I have had the best sponsors. Thank you for supporting my dreams!
2019 – The Hamels Foundation.
2021 – A Year of Playing Catch (Order here.)
2022 – Ozarks Literacy Council.
2023 – Fun Acre.
Finally, to all of my GRBL friends and teammates, thank you so much for 5 seasons of amazing memories!
Baseball really does bring people together.
Keep playing, keep dreaming.