Standing near first base next to Major League Baseball All-Stars Johnny Damon and A.J. Pierzynski, I finally realized who my favorite player is. No, not Pierzynski or Damon. It’s Josh Wege. And Greg Reynolds. And the rest of the members of the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball team running around Field 13 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort this morning.
These U.S. military veterans have each lost a limb – in Wege’s case, two limbs – while fighting for their country in Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet, after extensive rehabilitation, they have mustered the courage to join together and travel the country playing exhibition softball games. With all due respect to the New York Yankees, these guys really should be considered “America’s Team.’’
Today they were practicing at our sports complex in preparation for exhibition games in nearby Plant City, Fla., against several former U.S. Olympic softball team members such as Jennie Finch. Pierzynski (Chicago White Sox) and Damon (Tampa Bay Rays), who both live in Orlando, jumped at the chance to meet the team. They even brought their baseball gloves and practiced with them.
It was a real thrill to stand there at first base so close to these superstar ball players. Oh, and it was good to see Pierzynski and Damon, too.
Here’s a brief video of Pierzynski, Damon and the Warriors during practice: