Everything considered, the most recent 7-game homestand was successful in many ways. The Cougars won 6 of 7 games and even hit a few grand slams. Orlando Calixte popped a walk-off home run that ignited a large and enthusiastic Cougars crowd on Friday night. Thousands of fans attended our “Halfway to Halloween” theme nights and dressed in costume. The weather for the final few games of the home stay were cloudless, sunny days that you couldn’t have drawn up any better.
For me, the most successful and satisfying portion of the homestand occurred last Wednesday, when we dedicated the game to 12-year old Eric Lederman of Oswego, who was tragically struck and killed by a baseball last month while playing catch with a teammate.
Perhaps you remember the story from April. Seeing the photo of Eric in the news reminded me of so many of our younger fans we see at the ballpark throughout the year. He reminded me of the neighborhood boy who is always around with a smile on his face walking the family dog or mowing the lawn. He reminded me of myself when I was 12.
Through the cooperation of Eric’s baseball coach as well as the Lederman family, we were able to dedicate Wednesday’s game to Eric’s memory. The 50/50 raffle proceeds that night will be donated to the Eric Lederman Memorial Fund, and remaining in-game raffles this month will go the cause as well. The pre-game tribute and moment of silence for Eric was an emotional moment for many of us in the front office.
The Cougars team supported the cause by wearing commemorative wristbands. Special thanks goes to infielder Michael Antonio for presenting the Lederman family with a personalized bat, as well as the entire team and field staff for showing their support.
For me personally, it was my hope that for Eric’s family and friends, they were able to find comfort, some laughs, and naturally, some tears as well by attending the Cougars game that night. Following the game (a Cougars win, of course), several of the Lederman family were part of the group of fans on the field who were running the bases, a Cougars post-game tradition. I saw a lot of laughs and smiles as relatives strolled around the basepaths. Fun promotions, a walk-off win and perfect baseball weather are all satisfying. Hopefully, we as an organization were able to provide some smiles through such a terrible tragedy for the Lederman family and Eric’s friends.