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Erika Butler and others deserve a bat, a custom-made bat [Commentary]

Lots of people think Friday the 13th is a bad thing. A day for unfortunate happenings and just plain old bad luck.

This past Friday was one of those days, but to be honest, it didn't seem to be all that bad from what I could tell.

Well, there was one thing that kind of sticks out there, but I can't and won't pass it off as a Friday the 13th issue.

It pertains to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation's (CRSF) "Streak Thru Aberdeen" 7K Run that took place Friday in and around Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

Some of you may know, my co-worker Erika Butler has taken up the sport of running. What started as a mile or two per run two years ago, somewhat quickly grew to 5 and 6 miles per run. Time per mile is important, but not so much for Erika. I say that because I am the one who pokes at her about the time per mile. I do it because that's the coach in me and yes, the buzzard in me as well.

So, I had known for some time that Erika was going to run in the first ever 7K in benefit of the CRSF. If you recall, the run was supposed to take place Sept. 6, but the Aberdeen IronBirds making the playoffs for the first time forced the run to be postponed for a week.

So, I recall delivering the news to Erika, who eventually got an email telling her the same thing. That just gave me another week to heckle Erika about trying to place in the top three of her age group. Why? you ask. Because people who placed third and better were to receive a custom-made "Streak Thru Aberdeen" Louisville Slugger bat signed by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. That was according to the official press release sent out to various media outlets, including this one.

You see, Erika, Cal and myself have a bit of history, although Cal wouldn't know it. It was after one of his baseball accomplishments that we were in the post game press conference. All I will say, is Um, I forgot, Um, what I was, Um, going to, Um, ask you, Um, Mr. Ripken. That's what I recall of the press conference when Erika spoke. She's taken a bit of ribbing the past many years. All in good fun though.

OK, while that was funny then, and even now, what happened Friday the 13th was not.

Erika ran the race and says she finished third in her age group for women ages 40 to 49. I received a text from Erika on Friday night, alerting me to her finish. Seventh woman overall, third in her age group, but no bat. Those were for the winners of each age group, so Erika believed. A look at the Charm City Run website, the race organizer, shows that the top two in each age group received awards in the form of bats.

To that I say something's not right.

The official press release stating top three was dated June 5, run as late as Aug. 20 and then again in early September when the run was postponed.

Look, Erika wasn't all broken up about it, rather extremely happy with her finish and an average mile time of 7:48. I'm happy and proud of her, too.

I, however, am still not pleased with the no bat award. The rules were clearly stated, more than once, I might add, but seemed to be clearly changed at some point.

I believe Erika and any others who finished second and third in their age groups, deserve what was promised. A custom-made "Streak Thru Aberdeen" Louisville Slugger bat signed by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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