Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, March 11, 2013

Help for a Friend...Dodger Tibits to Start the Week

Ben Petrick was a can't miss Major League prospect out of the Rockies organization.  A first round draft pick, there were those that thought he'd be another catcher in the mold of Mike Piazza in terms of hitting.  But after making it to the Majors, he inexplicably dropped off the map as a major league player as he struggled to hit and his motor skills deteriorated.  Eventually it was determined after a battery of tests that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  His baseball career was over and a new battle ensued, one for his life.

Ben was able to get Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery years later and the results were miraculous.  Take a look at this youtube video that chronicles his story.

There is a childhood friend of mine that has been going through the pains struggles of Parkinson's Disease as well and he is to receive the same medical procedure at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Hospital in ten days.   I've known Clark and his family since childhood when we were in Cub Scouts and Little League together.   As sports nut buddy, Strat-O-Matic cohort and over-the-line enthusiast.  There were Dodger games in the Left Field Pavilion that a number of us would attend or the pick up basketball game that he'd organize, (Clark was right there in 1973 during an unforgettable moment that I chronicled in this previous post (LINKED HERE) from 2011).

Always a positive influence in all he's come in contact with.  Clark might be the funniest guy I've ever known.  A prankster for years.  He always had a water balloon slingshot in the trunk of his car, just in case it was needed in an emergency.  He drove a 1960's era family station wagon while in high school and installed an Ah-ooo-gah horn on it to let everyone know he was around.

That was Clark.  Always having fun.  He was the guy you wanted to hang with because you knew a good time would be had.  Organizing an ice sliding adventure at the local golf course, coming up with silly nicknames for everyone he came in contact with.  As much as a jokester Clark is, he was also the first to offer assistance to a friend in need.

He was a great athlete in high school, and a talented photographer since his childhood.  Clark knew his way around a darkroom and had a knack for finding that amazing photograph that was next to impossible to get.  In high school he took up surfing and at least 6'7" in height, (maybe more, I'm not sure), he was quite an imposing sight catching waves.  Eventually he shot surfing photos for magazines and traveled the world and to some very exotic places to get some spectacular photos.

One of Clark's amazing photos, shot just before the wave breaks.  (photo by Clark D. Smith)

His career has been set back because of the difficulties of working in photography and video productions with the disease that has debilitated him and limited his work.  Clark is a great man.  His outlook on life is positive.    Some of his posts on his facebook page are as inspiring as anything I;ve ever read.  I posted this because efforts are being made to assist him in financing this incredible procedure in an effort to regenerate his life and get him back in a position where he can support his family.  I post a link and if there was a worthy cause to donate to, this is it.  Go Fund Me Site LINKED HERE

Another Laguna Beach photo shot by Clark. (photo by Clark D. Smith)


Dodger Monday Tidbits

*The news regarding Zack Greinke is good so far.  No ligament damage and simple inflammation on the back of his elbow.  He's to sit for a few days and then resume throwing activities.  Many of us were mentally preparing for the worst.  He received a platelet-rich plasma injection with anti inflammatory meds.  

By the time  Greinke pitches again, more than a full week will have passed since his last appearance.  It'll be tough to get him ready for the first week of baseball action when the regular season begins on April 1st.  Zach is scheduled to pitch game # 2 against the Giants.  That schedule has been thrown out of whack.

*Hyun Jin Ryu pitched effectively for three innings today before getting hit hard in the 4th against the Brewers.  He threw some breaking pitches that were quite effective.  Both AJ Ellis and Don Mattingly were satisfied with his effort and believe that he's coming along fine.  Ryu went 4 and 2/3 innings before being removed in the 5th due to pitch count limitations.

*Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez return from the World Baseball Classic to the Dodger starting lineup tomorrow night against the Reds in Goodyear.  Likewise, Team Canada's Joey Votto returns to his team as well.  It'll be a good old fashioned WBC reunion.

*Matt MaGill, who has impressed this spring in action in the Major League games, was one of three players designated back to the minor league camp today.  In four innings of action, MaGill struck out 8 hitters and allowed one earned run.  Right hander Steve Ames was also sent back to the minor league action too.  Reliever Matt Palmer will go under the knife with minor knee surgery for a torn meniscus, but will be out of action for a few weeks.

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