Daily News: Mets pitcher impresses Sunnyside widow
KANSAS CITY — Four stories above 44th St. in Sunnyside, Queens Tuesday night, a 43-year-old social worker will celebrate her birthday by rooting for a 37-year-old knuckleball pitcher. It will be R.A. Dickey’s first All-Star Game and it will be Eileen Lopez’s first time sharing him with the whole country.
So it will be new to both of them, the journeyman-turned-star and the wife-and-mother-turned widow, a woman who is sure that Dickey’s knuckleball will befuddle the American Leaguers, and equally sure that her emotions will be as untrackable as his pitch.
How else could it be, when the man on the mound gave her husband, the late Mike Gitelson, one of the sweetest and purest thrills of his life? When a man from baseball’s discard pile found a way to connect with her husband so profoundly that it made a staunchly unsentimental contrarian turn weepy with joy?
“I’ll probably be crying during the All-Star Game,” Eileen Lopez says. “It’ll be the best birthday present in a year that has been incredibly challenging. It will be very bittersweet.”
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