Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)
This last week has been full of tragedy and hate, so it is a nice change of scenery when you hear about something and it makes you feel good. As some of you may know, I have a 21-year-old special needs cousin named Cole. He is always up to watch ANY sports game, he is my biggest fan during my announcing gigs, and he always knows how to put a smile on my face. This kid will always be my little buddy. So when I hear of a story from the sports world about somebody bringing a smile to the face of the players and the fans like Cole does to me, I'm on board.
His name is Teddy Kremer and he is a 30-year-old man with Down syndrome. This past Thursday, Teddy acted as the guest bat boy for the Cincinnati Reds, and even though he did it last year, he was so well liked in the clubhouse that he was asked to live the dream once again. Being a bat boy for any major league team would be a dream come true, and in Teddy’s case, he lived the moment to its fullest. Constantly high-fiving the players in the dugout, running out to retrieve the bats with the biggest smile on his face, and why not, ask Todd Frazier for a home run. Before Frazier stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning on Thursday against the Phillies, Kremer told Frazier to hit a home run for him. Frazier claims that he was smiling even before he stepped into the batters box and would you know it, the third baseman from New Jersey cranks a 421-foot home run to dead center. Once he reached home after his trot around the bases, there was Teddy to greet Frazier with a plethora of high fives and hugs. Teddy was even so excited that he forgot to pick up Frazier’s bat! It is that kind of excitement that sometimes gets lost in a 162-game season. The energy and happiness that Teddy Kremer brings to the Cincinnati Reds is not only priceless, but also as important as anything.
There is no question that giving any person with special needs an MLB experience is the moment of a lifetime, but it is, all in all, a feel good story. It makes the soul feel good and the team look just as good, but it is much more than that. Just like the moments I cherish with my little cousin, the Reds have felt that with Teddy. He loosens up the clubhouse and you can’t help but feel good. Frazier even said that you couldn’t have a bad day around this guy; it is his constant happy attitude that keeps everyone’s spirit up. During the last two games that Teddy has been with the team, they have crushed the opposition, and I am even hearing rumblings that there is a push to make him the permanent bat boy at all Reds home games. Am I saying that Teddy will help the Reds win every game, no, but there is something to be said about any team enjoying, loving, and playing the game like it is supposed to be played.
So as we all look back on the tragedies and pain that took place in Waco & Boston this last week, remember that in a world of darkness, there is always a ray of sunshine. We all have a Teddy Kremer in our lives, and when they ask you to him them a home run, remember the smile that it puts on your face.