Thoughts on the Roy Hobbs World Series, from life-long baseball fanatic, Kenny Craddox

Baseball has always been a staple in the Craddox household. As a child in New Jersey, I remember sitting with my father watching Yankee games on a small black and white television. With each pitch I would watch him rock back and forth as if he was in the dugout. He watched as a fan, but every pitch was also a teachable moment for the young player sitting next to him.

He would say, “Kenny watch how he watches the ball. You see how he takes his lead from first base?” It was moments like this that taught me to appreciate this game. As I fast forward many years down the road I still look back on those nights. When I retired from the game professionally, I still had a love for it. I began to miss the days of being in the clubhouse. I missed being on the beautifully manicured fields in the Florida sunshine. I began to play in local leagues and some tournaments, but I still wasn’t finding that experience to fill that void … but then it happened. I was introduced to the Roy Hobbs World Series in Fort Myers.

When I first drove up to registration headquarters at Hammond Stadium, I knew right away I was about to experience something memorable. Greeted with warm smiles and welcoming gifts, Roy Hobbs had already separated itself from all the rest. In that week I played baseball once again on some of the most beautiful fields in the Florida air against players from all over the country and world.

Now I sit on the couch with my son and watch games. Spring training games are my favorite because I love to hear him say, “Daddy, you played on that field.” I, like my father, use those times as teachable moments. I know that whatever his career may bring him there’s going to come a time when he will visit Fort Myers for one of the greatest weeks of his life.

-Kenny Craddox