LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While Aaron Hernandez continues to dominate the national media coverage, a story about a pro athlete you may not see much about.
Back on June 11, 62-year-old Jeff Crews of Centerville, Ohio, received a diagnosis of Stage 4 Glioblastoma brain tumor. Doctors said he would have four to six weeks to live.
He came home, and his family established a blog. It didn't get much notice, except for friends and family members. But it gave them all something to do.
Then last week, they posted a story that has turned up the traffic considerably. A family friend reached out to Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds about Crews' condition, and Votto reached out to the family. He sent tickets and field passes for batting practice for the Reds' July 2 game against Pittsburgh.
We got onto the field on Tuesday and were simply blown away. Jeff literally had to hold his chin up because it kept falling down in disbelief at what we were experiencing. Dusty Baker came over for autographs and a picture, as well as Todd Frazier. Then the moment came when Joey walked over to meet us.
Joey Votto couldn't have been a nicer, more humble, and down to earth guy. He talked with my dad for a long time (we know Jeff can be a talker). Joey saw us trying to interrupt Dad for a picture and quietly said to him "sir would you like to get a picture for your kids?" – it was effective at getting dads attention! Joey then gave Jeff an autographed authentic bat. It is a Joey Votto bat with the official engravings on it and a nice note from Joey. After a few autographs, and what felt like an eternity of standing their drooling and not coming up with anything significant to say, Joey went back to practice. It was a fantastic experience that none of us will ever forget. A million thanks to Jess Litscher, April Trebnick, The Reds, and Joey Votto.
After batting practice we got dinner and then returned to the field for the game. After what we had just experienced, the Reds could have lost an ugly game and we still would have gone home elated. But the Reds didn't lose, and it wasn't just a normal game. Last September Jeff and Colleen went to Pittsburgh for their anniversary. They went to a Reds–Pirates game and witnessed Homer Bailey pitch a no-hitter for the Reds. It was the first no hitter for the Reds since 1988. This past Tuesday, at the game we went to, Homer Bailey pitched his second no-hitter in 10 months. It was one of the most amazing Cincinnati Reds games anyone could ever witness, and it fell on my dad's special night at the park. It was a moment we will all talk about for the rest of our lives.
For Jeff, that turned out not to be long. He died two days later, his condition having taken a dramatic turn on the afternoon of July 3.
There's no happy ending. Sometimes there isn't one in life. But what Joey Votto did will live a very long time with a few people; giving a dying man one last memory before the lights went out. Thanks to the family for sharing this, and for reminding us that there is more good than bad, we only need to look for it.