TONIGHT’S #REDS HOT STOVE/BOR TRIVIA IS A VERY SPECIAL ONE

I want to talk to you about something we’re doing tonight, more importantly I want to talk to you about the guy whom we’re doing it for…

Just about 16 or 17 years ago I was part of an influx of early 20-somethings that joined the Reds front office over at Riverfront Stadium. We were fresh out of college working for our favorite team in our favorite city. It didn’t matter to us that we were making stupidly low wages – I was making like 18,000 dollars a year, which today is about the equivalent of, well, 18,000 dollars a year. But money didn’t matter because in our minds we had “made it.”

The game is different now and it requires more folks to run a Major League Baseball team. There are about 200 or so Reds staffers currently spread out across four floors and two facilities along Joe Nuxhall Way. Logistically, it’s difficult to get to know and/or even interact with all of my fellow Reds workmates. Back in the late 90s early 2000s, however, there were about 50 Reds employees total (on one floor and one building) and we all knew each other, warts and all. Since several of us were all about the same age, we didn’t just work with each other, we hung out after work, we went to the gym together, we attended weddings together, we basically spent most of our free time with the people we worked with. It sounds cliché but we were a family.

One of those 20-somethings was Chris Herrell; a very proud, honest, no-nonsense, go-getter who was insanely good at selling season tickets and relating to his customers. Of our group of 20-somethings, Chris served as our wiser, more mature big brother; a hard macho man on the outside, caring and compassionate on the inside. Chris was also the first of us to have his “stuff” together; wise beyond his years.

Our 20s turned into our 30s and many of us began settling down; marriages morphed into families and opportunities led to career changes requiring location moves. As our group of Riverfront Kids today enters its 40s, there are only a handful of us remaining with the Reds; Chris being one of them. His “older big brother role” has now changed to an “older uncle” or dare I say, “father-like” role to many of the newer version of Reds employees. Chris continues to command respect and is still incredibly awesome at his job. But fairy tales are sometimes ruined by real life.

You might remember a few years ago when we rallied behind Chris when he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. He needed a bone marrow transplant from a needle-in-a-haystack donor. In the bottom of the 9th with two outs, Chris found his improbable bone marrow match in the form of a gentleman all the way from Germany. Wishes were granted, prayers were answered and Chris was on his way to a nothing-to-worry-about-now lifestyle. The Reds invited Chris’ bone marrow donor to the ballpark this year to thank him for essentially saving Chris’ life.

And this is where I wish I could tell you Chris and his lovely wife Laurie with their four beautiful children lived happily ever after. But a cruel twist has presented an unwelcome epilogue to this story.

Recently, Chris was bothered by something in his neck. It seemed like a lump and it was noticeable enough to Laurie that the Herrells agreed to get it checked out. Unfortunately, the lump was serious; the worst case scenario. Chris was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma.

Today, Chris is being treated with aggressive radiation and chemotherapy to combat his Lymphoma. Despite the fact he’s fighting with pride and dignity and always with his head held high, the cancer has been a mighty punch in the gut to his family and friends. He’s one of us, one of the original members of the Reds family for whom I care very deeply. Chris is a Cincinnati Red and a guy I’d give anything; my right arm, my bone marrow, anything I could to help him and his family defeat this evil disease…and I hope you would, too. This is where I ask for your help.

You might not know Chris as well as I do or worked with him for a certain amount of years but he’s a very important part of the Cincinnati Reds. I assume since you’re reading this blog, the Reds are an important part of you. Tonight at the Holy Grail Banks, my friends (Chris’ friends) and I will raffle off some really cool Reds prizes during the Hot Stove League Radio Show and again during Better Off Red Baseball trivia. The proceeds from the raffle, all of them, will go towards assisting the Herrell Family with any needs they have during this difficult time. In addition to the raffle, we will also provide other means to donate. Any little bit will help.

Chris would probably appreciate if this post was ended on a much happier note, so I will oblige. Chris Herrell is one of the toughest dudes I’ve ever known. I always likened him to a tough piece of old leather. If there’s one person who I’m convinced can overcome anything, especially Lymphoma, it’s Chris. Expect the good news that he will.

Hope to see you tonight!

(Hot Stove 6-7, BOR Trivia 7-8:30ish)

Jamie

2 Comments

Thanks for doing this for our mutual friend. He is a tough fighter and will beat this by the grace of God!

This is one the the most beautiful pieces ever written. I certainly will keep Chris in my prayers and I hope that you keep us informed as to Chris’s progress.

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