The best pitching performance turned in during opening day at PNC Park wasn't by Erik Bedard of the Pittsburgh Pirates, or Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. Not by anyone on either staff, actually, even though pitching dominated in the Phillies 1-0 victory against the Pirates on Thursday.
The best pitcher was, instead, a veteran of the Army Rangers who was blinded completely by shrapnel nine years ago during the war in Iraq. With the help of a guide, Jeremy Feldbusch made one throw — a ceremonial first pitch to Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton.
And it was a strike.
Watch, and try to not get choked up as Feldbusch, who served in the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, does his thing:
"Strike! How about that?" public address announcer Tim DeBacco shouted.
OK, so Morton had to frame it a little. Not that it's any comparison really, but try throwing a baseball with your eyes closed and even coming close to the target in your mind's eye. Good luck.
Feldbusch's biography, which can be found at the White's House website, tells a harrowing tale of someone who has overcome much, simply by surviving wounds to his eyes and frontal lobe of his brain that occurred while serving his country. Only, Feldbusch has more than survived.
He became the first national spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises awareness of the needs of injured service members. He's remarkably active in other ways, too.
Since his injury, Jeremy has continued to participate in various sports such as fishing, skiing, and camping. An avid hunter since childhood, Jeremy lobbied the Pennsylvania Game Commission to enact a law that makes it legal for blind individuals to hunt with the aid of a laser grip and a licensed, sighted partner.
Talk about someone who won't give in to a disability and manages to love life. And there's no reason Feldbusch has to be limited to inspiring those who went to war, or anyone with serious injuries. His story should be able to help anyone get through a tough day.