July 02, 2009
Fighting ALS
Posted by Gordon Smith

This Saturday, the 4th of July, will mark 70 years since Lou Gehrig's famous "Luckiest Man" speech, and Major League Baseball will mark the occasion:

In an effort to raise awareness and financial support for organizations leading the fight against ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, every Major League Baseball Club playing at home on July 4th will conduct a special on-field ceremony to commemorate Lou Gehrig's Yankee Stadium farewell speech. During these special ceremonies, all Clubs will honor Gehrig's memory by recreating part of his "Luckiest Man" speech....

On July 4th all on-field personnel, including players, coaches, umpires and groundskeepers will wear a "4 ♦  ALS" patch. In addition, to honor Gehrig, who played first base with the Yankees for 17 years, a special "4 ♦  ALS" logo will appear on top of first base in each ballpark. Authenticated first bases from the July 4th games will be auctioned off at a later date on MLB.com to raise additional funds for ALS. A special "4 ♦  ALS" video was created for Clubs playing at home on July 4th.

But the coolest part of the commemoration is that my colleague, Michael Goldsmith, who suffers from ALS, has been asked to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium!

I know that Michael is very excited about this, and it's a deserving honor, since he prompted MLB to stage the commemoration. Here's the relevant part of the press release:

The New York Yankees will host a special "4 ♦  ALS Awareness" ceremony at Yankee Stadium prior to their 1:00 p.m. (ET) game against the Toronto Blue Jays. During the pre-game ceremony, the Yankees will recognize Michael Goldsmith, a lifelong baseball fan who contributed to the development of the "4 ♦  ALS" initiative.

"Seventy years after Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, no cure exists for ALS," said Goldsmith. "Doctors have no real way even to slow its devastating progression. Because research for a cure is still in its infancy, defeating ALS will require the same determination that Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken, Jr. demonstrated in setting records for consecutive games played. I live for the day when all ALS patients can give you a standing ovation for fighting this fight with us."

Good work, Michael!

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