Both the first-half titles in the Freedom and Liberty Division on the verge of being clinched (York could go worst-to-first as early as this evening to knock out Somerset, with Southern Maryland trying to hold on to its two-game lead over Camden and clinch within in the next four days) — the last day of the first half is on Sunday, July 4, so you know two teams will really be enjoying those fireworks.
A three-day break follows, officially, but many of the league’s top players, along with staff, media and fans, will be keeping busy on Long Island with the Atlantic League All-Star Game taking place at Suffolk County Sports Park on Tuesday, July 6, and festivities starting the day before. Queen of Diamonds will be there for all of it so for those of you who can’t make it, be sure to check in here, as well as at my Facebook page and Twitter account (both accessible and followable via the links to the right!!! —> ) for pictures, updates, interviews and other highlights.
But first, let’s wrap up the month of June with this video interview with the truly inspiring Jed Morris of the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Now in his second year with Lancaster, Morris joined the organization last year after having come up with the Oakland Athletics, a 36th round draftee in 2002 out of the University of Nebraska. He spent seven years in that system, moving as high as Double-A Midland, but missed most of the 2007 campaign fighting a bigger opponent than Texas League pitching.
In 2006, Morris was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He fought through the toll that both the disease and the ensuing six cycles of chemotherapy took on his system and rather than retiring, he came back strong and the Barnstormers and the Lancaster community has been the beneficiary of his strength and courage.
Now with a clean bill of health, Morris has been Mr. Do-It-All, seeing time behind the plate as well as around the infield as a true utility-man, earning a spot in the 2009 All-Star Game last year.
In the meantime, he also launched his own foundation, You And Me On A Comeback (link, again, on the right) which is based in Lancaster and focuses on the well-being of cancer survivors in remission.
On June 24, the Barnstormers hosted Cancer Survivor Night at Clipper Magazine Stadium, and a marvelously long line of survivors, from toddler to senior citizen, paraded onto the field before the game and each announced proudly how long it had been since they’d been diagnosed and what form of the disease they were in the process of conquering.
Morris was among the group that threw out first pitches for the game.
I strongly urge anyone who is reading this to take the few minutes to watch this video and get to know a little bit more about a man who is one of the true heroes of the game of baseball.