Reds All-Star first baseman Joey Votto hosted a terminally-ill Ohio man for Homer Bailey's no-hitter just two days before the man passed away.
Centerville, Ohio native Jeff Crews was diagnosed with Stage 4 Giloblastoma in June and was given just four-to-six weeks to live. Crews died on Thursday, but not before getting to spend the day at Great American Ball Park as a guest of Votto, and witnessing a no-hitter by Bailey, too.
Here is his amazing story as documented on the family's blog:
Now for the story of the amazing day we had on Tuesday, July 2nd. As Colleen explained in the previous post, one of Abby’s best friends contacted a family we know here in Dayton – the Trebnicks. Their family has a close connection with Joey Votto, the superstar of the Cincinnati Reds. When they reached out to Joey to see if he could do anything for our dad, he came through in a BIG way. We were given field passes for batting practice on Tuesday as well as some fantastic seats for the game. The entire day was amazing – starting with the Cincinnati reds employees who gave us extra field passes without any hesitation – All six of the adults in our family were then able to experience batting practice. We got onto the field on Tuesday and were simply blown away. Jeff literally had to hold his chin up because it kept falling down in disbelief at what we were experiencing. Dusty Baker came over for autographs and a picture, as well as Todd Frazier. Then the moment came when Joey walked over to meet us.
Joey Votto couldn’t have been a nicer, more humble, and down to earth guy. He talked with my dad for a long time (we know Jeff can be a talker). Joey saw us trying to interrupt Dad for a picture and quietly said to him “sir would you like to get a picture for your kids?” – it was effective at getting dads attention! Joey then gave Jeff an autographed authentic bat. It is a Joey Votto bat with the official engravings on it and a nice note from Joey. After a few autographs, and what felt like an eternity of standing their drooling and not coming up with anything significant to say, Joey went back to practice. It was a fantastic experience that none of us will ever forget. A million thanks to Jess Litscher, April Trebnick, The Reds, and Joey Votto.
After batting practice we got dinner and then returned to the field for the game. After what we had just experienced, the reds could have lost an ugly game and we still would have gone home elated. But the reds didn’t lose, and it wasn’t just a normal game. Last September Jeff and Colleen went to Pittsburgh for their anniversary. They went to a reds – pirates game and witnessed Homer Bailey pitch a no-hitter for the reds. It was the first no hitter for the reds since 1988. This past Tuesday, at the game we went to, Homer Bailey pitched his second no-hitter in 10 months. It was one of the most amazing Cincinnati Reds games anyone could ever witness, and it fell on my dads special night at the park. It was a moment we will all talk about for the rest of our lives. We all couldn’t believe it and couldn’t contain our excitement. We were together as a family and it was just an amazing night. Jeff and Colleen were sitting right by the reds dugout at the end of the game and the tv camera showed them standing in their seats cheering on Homer. When the reds made the final out we kids went berserk and then quickly left our seats and ran down to meet my parents (where we went berserk again).In a day in age where athletes constantly complain about contracts, fans, playing time, teammates, and media, among other things, it's nice to see Votto serve as a role model for his colleagues and give this man's family an evening they will never forget.
Via Cincinnati Enquirer