Pardon My Absence
I have been away from my computer for some time, but I am back and want to share some of my recent experiences with you. I?ve missed communicating with you; I?ve missed talking baseball with you, especially in the midst of the pennant race; I?ve missed hearing from you; I?ve missed blogging.
When the Dodgers played the Cubs in Chicago at the end of August, the Cubs invited me to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch. It was an honor being invited, and lots of fun singing. Before the song, I addressed the fans at Wrigley and said, ?You are, without a doubt, the second greatest fans in all of baseball.? As you can imagine, they didn?t particularly like that label, but I thought they were lucky I gave them the 2 spot. I could have said seventh or eighth best fans. When the time came, I of course said root, root, root for the Dodgers, which went over well. I had a great time though, and I can?t wait to go back to the Friendly Confines.
Over Labor Day weekend, I took a trip to the California Speedway in Fontana, California. The Speedway hosted the Sony HD 300, a NASCAR race attended by 130,000 people. I was the honorary starter. What a thrill it was to climb up the starter?s tower and look at the grandstands. I could not believe how many people were there to watch the race. However, that thrill was surpassed when I turned around and watched the cars pull out of pit-row to take two warm-up laps. With the engines roaring as the cars came around the final turn of the last warm-up lap, they must have been going at least 185mph. I just wish I had pitchers with that speed. When they came around that turn I waived the green flag, which is the official start of the race. The race was very exciting, but you only wish the drivers are safe, and injury free after going that fast.
Last, but certainly not least, I participated in a goodwill relief tour of three shelters in Baton Rouge and Biloxi. The tour was hosted by Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio, and coordinated by the American Red Cross. Joining us were Andy Garcia, Jimmy Smits and Daisy Fuentes. When we arrived in Baton Rouge, I was sad to see so many people affected by hurricane Katrina. It was terrible to see these people go through such a tragedy.
However, they are strong. They have heart, and they will survive.
I was tremendously impressed with the shelters we visited. While it was heartwarming to see the evacuees receive food and clothing from the Red Cross, what really made our trip worthwhile was the love, joy and hope we brought to the people. We lifted their spirits and preached the message of never quitting. We made sure they had fun while we were there. We made sure they haven?t forgotten how to laugh. Laughter is the food for the soul, if you can laugh, you can forget all your problems. In fact, to make sure of that, I led a congo line as Gloria sang. Now that is fun!