An Open Love Letter to Matt Shoemaker

This was intended for bugsandcranks.com, but apparently the Eastern European hackers really like the hits for their pharmacy website, because it’s been hijacked. Rather than waste my efforts, I’m going to post it here until Bugs is back up and running. Matt Shoemaker is a pitcher for the Angels, by the way. 

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My Handsome Matthew David Shoemaker,

You never stop surprising me. After you signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2008, our paths never crossed. How could they? You, undrafted out of Eastern Michigan, and me, only paying attention to real baseball prospects. But this year. Oh, Matty, this year. The stars brought us together.

Somehow you broke Spring Training and made the Angels’ 25-man roster. You pitched serviceably out of the bullpen, fulfilling the role of a versatile long man. Honestly, I didn’t expect you to last. In May, however, you returned. In my birthday month, no less! I just love how you knew that. Anyway, you returned, and you returned for good. Your boss, Mike Scioscia, handed you some starts once Hector Santiago shit the bed and lost his spot in the rotation.

Rotoworld treated you like another one of their hussies.

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But you showed them. And me, darling. You caught my interest. But I kept my distance. I didn’t think it could last. In June I swooned as you struck out a career high 10 against the Indians. You aroused my faith. So much that the stinker you tossed against the Kansas City Royals on June 27 (4 IP, 11 H, 8 ER) did little to dissuade me.

I never told you this, my man stallion, but what I saw in you, that thing that gave me hope, was your strikeouts. We all know you’re not a bombshell. Radar guns aren’t shorting out from excitement when you step on the mound. You weren’t the kind of guy that was ever going to make the cover of Baseball America. But you figured out how to succeed with the tools that God gave you.

How does one, armed with a measily 90-mph fastball, manage to strike out more than a batter per inning pitched? It’s because you know how to use your tools.

Your splitter makes me tremble inside. But it’s your ability to hit the right spots with five pitches (splitter, four-seam fastball, two-seamer, slider and knuckle curve) that puts these batters to bed to the tune of 8.86 whiffs per nine innings.

Everything changed for me on August 9. That’s the date I fell in love. The Man Crush was born. It was at home, in Anaheim, and you guys were hosting the Boston Redsox. I was laying in bed. Cemented in a 4-4 tie in the 17th inning, you entered the game in relief. Just three days before you pitched well in a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers (6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 K). You twirled three perfect innings with four strikeouts until Albert Pujols’s walk-off home run ended the marathon and sent your aching arm to chill in a bucket of ice until the clubs in Downtown Santa Ana turned the lights on and made the hood rats go home.

I bragged about you to my friends. I wish I could’ve massaged that right shoulder of yours.

My honey, that is when you stole my heart. To pitch that long in relief – that well – on short rest was heroic. Gutsy. And thrilling. But you weren’t done.

When super model Garrett Richards tore up his August 20, many considered the Angels’ World Series dreams in jeopardy. Even after an 8-3 victory in that game, the clubhouse was silent. No one celebrated the victory. Everyone was crushed about losing Richards.

Baseball media based the rotation. They wondered whether you and your buddies could keep the Angels in a pennant race without the bombshell. That very next night you showed them. At Fenway Park you entered the seventh with a no-hitter until the “butthole” Will Middlebrooks ripped a double down the left field line. You finished the 2-0 victory with 7.2 IP, that one hit, just one walk and nine strike outs.

You lifted the Angels when they needed it the most, my precious. You ooze humility, grace and class. And you’ll need to do it again tonight against the Miami Marlins. That trashy Wade LeBlanc, filling in for Richards last night, was bombed in a 7-1 drubbing and you’re tied again with the Oakland A’s for the Western Division lead. We need you to keep us in the this game. To pitch well. To win. And I know you will.

My beloved, I’ll be there tonight to root you on. Look for me in the suites behind home plate. Watch for my fluttering baby blues. With butterfiles in my stomach and my heart at your mercy.

Eternally Yours,

Seth Tearz

CHOC Walk 2014: Iron Jax Details

Registration for the 2014 CHOC Walk in the Park is and team Iron Jax has been created. This year’s Walk will be Sunday, October 12 at 6:30 a.m. It will kick off at Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A.

For those that don’t know, Jax passed away at CHOC’s pediatric intensive care unit. The entire staff was so compassionate to us and treated us with so much respect that this is our little way to give back to the hospital and the community in memory of our little hero.

Iron Jax group shot at California Adventure.

Iron Jax group shot at California Adventure.

What is the CHOC Walk?

The Children’s Hospital of Orange County annually raises funds to support the care, services, research and education that CHOC provides children. Last year more than 15,000 participants raise $2.1 million from the event, which was presented by Disneyland Resort.

Gray and I.

Gray and I.

The Walk is a 5k stroll through Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney. You do not receive entrance into the parks after the Walk, however, walkers have the chance to buy discounted tickets on the day of the event:

1-Day Park Hopper® ticket for $78 or a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket for $50 for use on this or your next trip to Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park!  A maximum of 5 tickets may be purchased per wristband. Offer valid on 10/12/2014 and tickets expire 11/7/2014.

How to Register

Go here and click on “Join an Existing Team” on the right-hand menu. Scroll down and enter “Iron Jax” as the team name. It takes you a page to verify this is the Iron Jax that you are looking for (Kristina is listed as the captain) and then click on Iron Jax. At the right of the team page you’ll see the active roster and a “Join Team” button. Click it.

You can sign up as an individual walker (no fee required but you’ll need to raise $50 minimum) or as a sleeping bear, which allows you to raise funds in your name, for Iron Jax, and take part in prizes. But you aren’t able to walk.

Sponsor a Walker 

If you’d like to simply make a donation as a non-team member, click here. Full disclosure, that takes you to my personal page. Click the “Donate Now” button to proceed. If you want to donate to a specific person on Iron Jax, go to the Iron Jax main page, click on the Walker you want to donate in the name of and go from there. Please keep in mind to walk, a Walker needs to have raised a minimum of $50. Children ages 3 and up are required to be Walkers. Two and under are free.

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Iron Jax T-Shirts

We will order t-shirts again depending on the demand. So if you want one, let us know. Otherwise we’ll assume most everyone has one by now and won’t place an order.

Must Read

CHOC created two pages worth reading before the event. Please refer to these pages for any questions that you may have:

Event Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Prizes

As an incentive, CHOC has laid out a prize structure which is found here.

Thank you in advance for those that choose to take part in this event as a walker, fund raiser or donor. It means so much to our family to give back to the community in Jax’s memory.

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Remembrance Photos & Thank You

When people ask me how Tuesday I went, my answer is “As well as we could’ve hoped for.” It’s not a great night or a fun night because of why we’re all gathering. But the entire day went as well as possible, considering.

Below you’ll find some photos taken before, at and after the game along with a slide show courtesy of our good friend Heather. But first…

Thank you. Thank you to everyone that came. It means so much to us to have so many people come to honor and remember Jax and support our family.

Thank you to those that continue to pray for us, think of us, try to shoot positive energy towards us. Keep doing it. We need it.

And thank you to those of you that speak his name. That talk about him, share stories, share memories and wonder, along with us, what he’d be like today. It means more than you can imagine.

Next week I’ll shoot out an update about CHOC Walk 2014. CHOC sent registration emails Tuesday (ironically) I believe (I didn’t get one. WTH CHOC?!). I think we need to set up team Iron Jax before you start to register, so I’ll update you on that.

Enjoy the photos.

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Two Years Later

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It’s been just over a million minutes since I last saw Jax smile. Two years today. He still hasn’t walked out of his room, like I keep hoping. Maybe someday I’ll stop.

We only visited two grieving parents support meetings. They said the second year is harder. So did a lot of things I read online. Having finished the second year, I can definitely see that. It’s been a lonely year. Two miscarriages. More loss. More pain. And more dreams crushed like the spider in my bathroom. It’s easy for me to hate. To withdraw. To say fuck it about everything. It’s harder to climb out of that sand trap.

Jax should be wrapping up All-Stars in baseball. Starting first grade in August. Bossing around the twins, who ache for a big brother, to be the villains to his Iron Man. This is all fucked.

Thank you to everyone that is coming out tonight to remember Jax at Angel Stadium. It mean so much to us that we continue to receive your support. When I bought the tickets I told the group sales guy I expected around 50 people. Instead, we’ll have about 160. And thank you to others that can’t make it tonight but continue to think of us, pray for us, cry with us. Just because it’s two years later doesn’t mean it gets easier. Or that we can ever start to move on. Some days the pain is just as deep as it was two years ago. We need your love, your support, your prayers.

And thank you for helping us to keep Jax alive in all of our hearts. Whether it’s the Iron Jax shirt you wear on a random Tuesday, $20 you donated at the CHOC Walk for team Iron Jax or just mentioning his name to us in a funny story or cute memory you have of him, it’s all very meaningful to us.

I’ll leave you with a link and a video. But first…

We will always remember you, Jax. 

Always.

Last year’s Remembrance.

Video montage of Jax, thanks to Uncle Tommy.

Jax Remembrance Update

With Jax’s Remembrance two weeks away, I figured I should get some details up. First, let’s start with meeting areas.

As the image below indicates, we’ll meet in the parking lot around 5-5:30ish. Come hang out, bring some dinner or drinks and whatever else you’d like. The key is, bring your own stuff. I picked this spot as it’s far enough away from most everyone else. And, if you want a legendary Dragon Dog, it’s just across the street (Orangewood).

Our seats are in left field, so keep this in mind when you decide where you want to park if you’re not going to meet us early.

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At 6:30 we’ll start to meet in between the two large Angel helmets. Jax’s brick is over there. Hopefully at that time we’ll be able to walk in together. The goal is to walk in at about 6:45. So if you’re NOT going to be there by then, let us know. More importantly, please arrange to get your ticket before the game if you can’t meet us before it starts. 

Our family is wearing our Iron Jax t-shirts. If you have one, maybe you want to wear it, too. If you don’t, wear what you’d like.

If you haven’t paid, here are your options:

  • Mail us a check. Email, Facebook message, text or call one of us if you need our address. I don’t want to post it on here. There are some freaky deaks that end up on this site from Google searches.
  • Paypal. This is the easiest method for everyone involved, once you’re signed up. My account is austin5377 at aol dot com (spelling it out to avoid getting even more spam than I currently get….type it in normal in Paypal).
  • In Person. If you’re going to see us, or want to see us, hit us up and let’s schedule something. We’ll bring the ticket, you bring the cash.
  • At the game. If we can’t work anything out, just bring the money on the day of the game. Check is preferred.

To arrange anything with us, Facebook, text or email one of us. We’re pretty flexible. This includes getting the tickets before hand.

Our seats are in sections 301, 302 and 303. We couldn’t get them all together, so Kristina created a seating chart. There are 165 of us, so in order to maximize the experience for everyone, we wanted to make sure people sat next to others they knew. I’m sure we’ll all be mingling about anyway, but at least it’s somewhat structured to start.

We don’t get handed the goofy 1960s Angel hat as we walk through the gates. Instead, we get a voucher to go redeem at the Stadium during the game. So you’ll get a ticket and a voucher, which looks like a ticket.

For those keeping score, the scoreboard message for Jax will run in the middle of the fourth inning.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, please comment below. Questions, too, as I’m sure another person might have your same question.

Thank you so much for this fantastic showing of support. It means more than you’ll ever know.

Jax Remembrance – Payment Methods, Tickets Still Available

IMG_0142Kristina and I chased down the UPS guy last week in our pajamas (I’ve been working from home for about six weeks). I faintly heard a knock on the door from the office and she was helping Gray, who just pooped. We came from opposite sides of the yard to track him down and grab the Jax Remembrance Angel tickets. I realized after I walked back inside that my pajama shorts had more holes in them than golf course and he knew what my boxers looked like. Anyway, we now have 150 tickets!

We purchased a little extra, and the Angels group season ticket guy said we can buy more (minimum of 10) if we need to. So if you decide you want to join us, let me know. We can work it out.

Tickets are $14 per seat and include a voucher for the throw back hat that can be redeemed on the day of the game. If you know anything about Angel Stadium, or just want to look because you’re curious, we’re in section 301.

Payment Methods

  • Mail us a check. Email, Facebook message, text or call one of us if you need our address. I don’t want to post it on here. There are some freaky deaks that end up on this site from Google searches.
  • Paypal. This is the easiest method for everyone involved, once you’re signed up. My account is austin5377 at aol dot com (spelling it out to avoid getting even more spam than I currently get….type it in normal in Paypal).
  • In Person. If you’re going to see us, or want to see us, hit us up and let’s schedule something. We’ll bring the ticket, you bring the cash.
  • At the game. If we can’t work anything out, just bring the money on the day of the game.

Once we complete plans on where to meet at what times, I’ll post an update. We’re still working through ideas. If you have ideas of your own, let us know.

We ended up buying 150 tickets, and only 10 were extra – three of which have already been accounted for. So the turn out has been amazing, and we thank you all for joining us.

 

Jax Remembrance at Angel Stadium – Last Chance

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Wednesday is your last chance to reserve a ticket for this year’s Jax Remembrance, which will be at Angel Stadium 6/24/14. Details can be found here.

If you want a ticket, let me or my wife know. To make sure I haven’t missed anyone, below is the list we’ve gathered and the amount of tickets for each family/group/person. Please let us know if you see an error.

Thursday I’ll work out the details with the Angels and let everyone know how they can pay for the tickets. Thank you all for the incredible turn out for this event. It means the world to us.

Reserved

Abners (3)
Acostas (3)
Alex W (2)
Amane P (5)
Andersons (4)
Bill/Katie K (2)
Blombergs (6)
Conibears (2)
Curtins (4)
DeKrakers (5)
Del Sestos (4)
Donna (1)
Heather K (1)
Jamie (3)
Judy (1)
Karis (3)
Katy A (1)
Kurt/Cherrol A (2)
Leah S (4)
Littons (4)
Lujan and Co. (7)
Meghan T (1)
Nazzie (2)
Nikki C (1)
Papa (1)
Steve G (1)
Thompsons (5)
Tommy (2)
Val M (1)
Zellners (5)