Royals

Baseball throws its support behind causes at the World Series

Former Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen gave Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett a pat on the back before Brett threw out the ceremonial opening pitch before the AL Championship Series game on Oct. 14 at Kauffman Stadium.
Former Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen gave Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett a pat on the back before Brett threw out the ceremonial opening pitch before the AL Championship Series game on Oct. 14 at Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Star

The World Series is a time for pomp and circumstance, and Major League Baseball uses that platform to raise awareness for various causes.

For Royals legend George Brett, that’s amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Wednesday’s second game of the World Series, and ALS awareness is the theme for that contest.

“I’ve been involved with ALS for 30-something years,” Brett said. “Tommy Watson and I are both involved in it now. It was always the George Brett (golf) tournament, the ALS tournament, and when Joe got it, we named it the Joe McGuff golf tournament.”

McGuff, former editor of The Kansas City Star , was diagnosed with ALS in 1999 and died seven years later at the age of 79.

McGuff had been the last person to throw out the first pitch at a World Series game in Kansas City when he had the honor at game seven of the 1985 Fall Classic.

“Hopefully we’ll find a cure for it, because I’ve seen what it’s done to people,” Brett said. “It’s a bad disease, and if baseball can help raise more awareness to it and help find a cure, it’s good. Plus, a guy named Lou Gehrig died from it.”

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Also at game two, baseball will honor Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, who started the “Ice Bucket Challenge” sensation that raised more than $100 million for ALS research. Frates’ parents, brother and sister will receive a special trophy from commissioner Bud Selig.

Singer Phillip Phillips will perform the national anthem on Wednesday.

Veterans and military families were in the spotlight for Tuesday’s World Series opener.

Staff Sgt. Pedro Sotelo, who lives in Kansas City, threw out the first pitch. Sotelo was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving as part of a special-operations unit in the U.S. Army Reserves in 2003 in Iraq.

The pregame ceremony included Sotelo, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald and Admiral James A. Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Country music artist Trisha Yearwood sang the national anthem, while retired Naval Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson sang “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch.

Before the game, Selig, commissioner-elect Rob Manfred and David and Dan Glass were part of a group that visited the Honor Annex at the VA Medical Center.

Baseball said game three in San Francisco will be dedicated to advancing the fight against cancer, and game four will be a youth outreach.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff

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