Listen, I love baseball. There is a chance that you probably do too.
It was either 89′ or 90′ during an Orange County School field trip to Tinker Field where my fourth grade teacher handed me baseball, and told me to walk towards a gentlemen who was watching the Orlando Twins play that night.
That man leaned down to me, smiled, and said..
“Hey, I’m Pat. What’s your name?”
“I’m Frank. She told me to give you this.”
“Its great to meet you, Frank. I’m Pat. I’m happy that all of you are here.”
We took a photo and I went on to have a great night. For years, I’d play at Northwestern Little League in Lockhart. A wonderful part of an awesome childhood here in the 407.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was Pat Williams. No one has done more for sports in this town that he has. It’s unlikely that no one ever will.
But decades later, as I write this post priced out of Orlando, I feel sad.
This is because Orlando leaders have focused harder on bringing baseball to Orlando, instead of finding myself and thousands of other families a place to live.
That’s certainly not Mr. William’s fault. But it is the fault of many Orlando and state level officials who are charging faster for baseball than they ever did for making sure that school children and veterans who are living in their cars, get a fair shot.
Those leaders will tell you that this money is TDT or Tourism Development Dollars, a deflection that removes them from any responsibilities in using that money to help working families. It has to be spent on tourism. They’ll laugh at you and say “Hey, I don’t make the rules.”
But if the bid fails (just like the fortune wasted trying to get the World Cup here), those same kids and veterans will still be in those cars and shelters.
And all of that time will have been wasted.
I wish our Orlando leaders would try to do for families, what Pat Williams does for sports.