This has been one of the most confusing weeks of my life.
On one hand, I had my dear friend Doc Gooden get picked up by the police for the second time in two months for drug possession. The demons that exacerbate the abuse of drugs have been killing this man for years. The disease has become overwhelming and it seems like he is just giving into it.
Now on the other hand I have another friend by the name of Dan Colon who is suffering from A. L. S. (aka: Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Dan is 52 years old and until two years ago he was still playing baseball in an adult league. One day he was getting dressed and he realized that he couldn’t button his shirt. He went to many doctors to find out that he has this horrible disease technically called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
I was introduced to Dan by a sports writer who knew that I was doing my play “Batboy” in order to help different charities. He asked me if I could help Dan because he was having problems dealing with his expenses to pay rent and medical costs.
I have gotten to know Dan and have fallen in love with a man that truly loves and understands the beauty of life. He does not take anything for granted. He is not afraid to share his story with others in order to help them.
The day that Doc Gooden got arrested for the second time, the first person to call me was Dan Colon. He wanted to know if there was anything that he could do.
My initial plan for my play Batboy, on August 1st at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, was to split the profits between the Thurman Munson Foundation and A. L. S. to help Dan with his immediate problem.
The Thurman Munson Foundation was set up by his incredible wife Diana Munson, a year after the passing of our great Yankee Captain Thurman Munson. The foundation has been active for 39 years and helps children who suffer from different mental health issues.
When I told Diana about Dan Colon the first thing out of her mouth was, “Ray what would Thurman Munson do?” I said, “He would probably help Dan.” So, we have decided that in the name of Thurman Munson we are going to donate all the money from the show to Dan Colon to try to help him deal with his battle with ( Lou Gehrig Disease).
When I first met Dan the first thing out of his mouth was how much he loved the Yankees and how Thurman Munson was his heart. I guess you can say that Dan had me at hello.
I guess you can also say that tonight and every night I pray for Doc Gooden, someone who happens to be one of the sweetest people I have ever known. I just hope that he can get it together before it’s too late.
On the 40th anniversary since my sweet, chubby, yet powerful pal Thurman had left us, we will celebrate his life through our play BATBOY. Some of his teammates will be there including Bucky Dent and Mickey Rivers along with David Cone and present day Yankee, Gio Urshela and many others.
When I told Dan Colon about Diana Munson’s kind gesture, Dan cried and said, “But she doesn’t even know me.” I had to explain to him that Diana is just like Thurman. They’re Yankees and this is what they do!