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Dave Kacy K’ing Cancer with the Black Sox

This is the first of (hopefully) many guest blogs that Indy Ball Island will be featuring during this down time.  I put out a request to any indy baseball player, manager, coach, or broadcaster who wanted to share their story here on the site (think “Players’ Tribune” type articles).  If you are interested in being featured, please reach out on social media or email me: kaymthompson52@gmail.com)

Dave Kacy

Like many kids out there, my dream was to become a Major League Baseball player.  I moved down from New Jersey to Florida after college just so I could play baseball all year round and train for my pro career.  For years I played whenever, and wherever, doing whatever I could to make it.  I played in the National Extreme Baseball league for a few years winning the batting title every year there; and even went to Japan to play.  When I got to Japan however, I started to get very sick after a flight to Osaka.  It felt like I couldn’t breath and I felt very tired and developed pneumonia very quickly.  I was cut almost as soon as I got there.  I guess vomiting on the field was looked down upon, and I was forced to start over in Florida.

It seemed I was always getting sick or hurt constantly.  Pneumonia and Bronchitis seemed the norm for many years.  Still, I continued to play men’s league baseball, do my crossfit and work.  The more time went on the worse I seemed to get.  Eventually I went from a top athlete to old ladies finishing faster than me in crossfit.  I had to eventually stop playing baseball I was so tired – I couldn’t run to first base without being completely out of breath.  In my head I’m thinking wow old age came fast!!!   My teeth would constantly be cracking and falling out of my mouth. I couldn’t breath even taking walks.  It was crazy.

My men’s league coach called me up one Sunday and said “hey I have nobody to catch tomorrow can you do it?”  I hadn’t played in awhile and I wanted to so bad… I had to do it!!! I missed the game so much and what could a few innings hurt?  So I went, and in the first inning I was catching a hard throwing right hander on our team.  He had played affiliated ball so it was a good challenge for me just getting back.  First inning; I’m behind the plate and I started to blackout.   Everything in my eyes would turn to black and then I could see normally.  On one pitch I lost all sight. It went completely black as the ball was being thrown…  I guessed the best I could on the fastball he threw but never even saw it… caught me right around my appendix just outside of my gear.

It dropped me for a second allowing the runner to go to second… I didn’t come out. I stayed in, and the next pitch I threw the runner out at third.  Inning over and I was up first the next inning.  First pitch was a hit to left …. running down the line to first I collapsed.  I guess to a lot of people it looked like I tripped and fell and laughed but when I got up after a minute or two I stood up and walked into the wrong dugout and sat down.  I remember the other team was just staring at me like what the hell are you doing in here!!!!  Honestly I have no idea why I did that. I was so out of it I couldn’t breath at all and everyone is saying how I probably have asthma or something … So I got up went into the correct dugout.

One of my teammates says “Dude, I had a friend that looked just like you do now, and he was dead the next day…  you need to go to the hospital right now!!”  Of course I tried to be tough and blamed it on work and being sick and went home and fell sleep.  I didn’t have any money to go to the hospital or insurance.  The next morning some 20 hours later my mom and dad for whatever reason decided to stop to see me early the next morning at my house. They saw me and said you look sick, let’s take you to the doctors.   My Parents can be tough to argue with and so I went.  The Doctor took blood samples and said wait a few minutes till we get the results… a few minutes later they came back in and said “hey we need to do that again…”. Huh??? Why??? I said.. “Well, because our machine just broke; so we need another sample to test it on the other machine we have.” So they took even more blood. Came back and said the same thing!!!  I said; “what does it say”?  The nurse said “it says your dead basically.  Your hemoglobin readings were 4.7 and 4.6. It should be around 14. You will have to come back another day when we get our machines fixed.”

I got up walked out of the office and the doctor ran out and said to my family that I needed to go to the hospital immediately!!! I didn’t want to go, but they threatened to call the police and an ambulance if I didn’t go… My parents drove me to the emergency room where I gave the person in front the doctors note and they preceded to make me wait to go in as I guess I looked pretty good to them. Two hours later I collapsed onto the floor of the waiting room.  My mom ran to get a nurse and they admitted me right away where they proceeded to give me six blood transfusions to save my life.  Several days later with my doctor crying in front of me I was told that I had Stage Four Metastasized Cecum Cancer – Lynch Syndrome a rare genetic cancer where I have an 80 percent chance every year of getting cancer again even if I were to beat this one.

The baseball that I had blacked out on had burst my tumor, which was several inches big at this point, and I was slowly bleeding to death from inside.  The cancer had spread throughout my blood stream to my lymph nodes as well as my muscles and mucosa in my chest and stomach.  I was given three Chemo drugs every Two weeks with five days off in between each for Eight months.  My oncologist said he had to hit me as hard as he could if I wanted to survive.

My chance for survival was 11 percent.  All I could think about that entire time was playing baseball again and getting out of that hospital bed. They had taken 11 inches out of my intestines during the surgery and put me back together, but I was sure I would live and play baseball again.  Forget about dreams, my goal was to make pro baseball in my forties.  I found an organization called the Black Sox where they took an old man on and gave me a chance with no promises. This is my third season with them, and I believe I have done pretty well.   I was drafted #132 by the Four Horseman in the Black Sox NWO draft and play mostly as a pinch hitter or late defense at first base, and when I’m not playing, I coach first base to try to make myself useful.  It’s so great every day to just be on the field with the green grass watching some amazing players.  Hopefully this pandemic will go away and I can realize my goal of making the BlackSox Road Warrior team and playing against Pro teams on the tour.

The money doesn’t mean anything anymore to me and the status even less.  I just want to do what I love for as long as I can.  I feel like I’m 21 again. The doctor says if I can live five years then I have a good chance of making it to ten years.  This is my fourth year in remission. Cancer had taken so much of my career away from me, but my career is far from over, it’s just starting; and cancer was the best thing that could ever have happened to me.  It taught me that life is more than money and status.

Live your life and do what you were meant to do and enjoy every minute of it.

Dave Kacy

Black Sox

Indy League Updates Concerning COVID-19

The restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic have altered independent baseball leagues around the country.

As of April 21st, 2020, these are the updates that we have been given:

Atlantic League

(March 16, 2020) Atlantic League President Rick White issued the following statement:

The CDC recommendation that organizers cancel or postpone in-person events consisting of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks has made clear the Atlantic League’s Opening Day of April 30 will be delayed. ALPB Professional Tryout Mini-Camps have also been postponed.

As the Coronavirus pandemic evolves, the ALPB remains focused on the health and well-being of our neighbors, fans, players, umpires and employees.  When these challenging circumstances pass, we look forward to welcoming fans to our ballparks, putting smiles on their faces and creating lifelong memories.

An announcement regarding the ALPB 2020 Championship Season schedule will be made at a future date on all team and Atlantic League websites and official social media platforms.

American Association

MOORHEAD, MINN. – The Board of Directors of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball has postponed the start of the 2020 regular season, which was scheduled for May 19.

The American Association will aim for a start date of the season in early July. The league intends a season that will include 80 games and extend to late September. The early July timeline, along with the length of the season, is subject to the ability to hold games in home markets while abiding by federal, state, provincial governments laws and municipal health orders and guidelines.

“The American Association looks forward to the day when we can safely re-open our stadiums to our fans and provide entertainment and social interaction,” said American Association Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “However, we will not jeopardize the safety of our fans, staff, players, umpires or vendors and will abide by all national and local restrictions when determining if we can open in early July.”

Frontier League

The Frontier League announced today they are officially delaying the scheduled May 14th start of the 2020 Frontier League season, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The League, which is the largest independent baseball league in North America, will continue to monitor the situation, and announce a start date for the 2020 season at the appropriate time.

“The safety of our Fans, Players and Team employees is our highest priority at this time” stated League Commissioner Bill Lee. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to play baseball in 2020 and will continue to track the pandemic as well as Federal, State and local social distancing requirements in all of our markets.”

The Frontier League has also announced the delay of the League’s annual Tryout Camp and Draft scheduled for April 27th and 28th in Avon, Ohio. “It is our goal to hold our tryout camp, spring training and start our season as soon as possible”, added Commissioner Lee. “Our Board of Directors is meeting weekly to monitor and discuss the situation, and we will provide updates as the pandemic progresses. We ask all of our Fans, Players and Staff members to follow the recommendations of Federal, State and their local health officials, in hopes of slowing the spread of this virus.”

Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest and longest-running of the modern independent leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. More information can be found at http://www.frontierleague.com or by contacting office@frontierleague.com.

United Shore Professional Baseball League

To Our USPBL Fans:

We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe.

We wanted to provide an update on the status of the 2020 USPBL baseball season at Jimmy John’s Field in light of the developments related to the coronavirus in the State of Michigan and across the United States and the world. Following President Trump’s announcement on March 29 that the federal government has extended its social distancing guidelines through April 30, we have determined that we will need to postpone the start of the USPBL baseball season, which was scheduled to begin on May 8. At this time, we have set a target date of May 29 for the start of our 2020 season, but we will continue to monitor developments on the state and federal level. With the flexible structure of our league, we still expect to be able to play a full season at Jimmy John’s Field this summer, and we will release a revised 2020 game schedule as soon as possible. We will always put the health and well-being of our fans, players, umpires and employees first, and we will follow all guidelines and directives of federal, state and local agencies with respect to when it will be safe to start our baseball season at Jimmy John’s Field this year.

While we wait for the start of the 2020 season, and some normalcy to return, we are hard at work on increased measures that will be put in place at the ballpark for the 2020 season to maintain and elevate our stature as the cleanest and safest ballpark in America, including the installation of hand sanitizing stations throughout the ballpark, and more extensive daily sanitizing and power washing of the ballpark before every game. We also are working on special programs targeted at people affected by the coronavirus outbreak in ways both large and small, including a program that will offer 4 complimentary tickets to any 2020 season game for all first responders, special discounts on birthday parties at the ballpark for anyone whose birthday took place during the Stay Home order, and special group outing offers for graduation parties.

In the meantime, we ask everyone to follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other federal and state public health officials, so that we can get through this outbreak as quickly as possible.

We look forward to seeing you again soon for USPBL baseball games at Jimmy John’s Field, and we will be open again as quickly as it is safe to do so, and in accordance with the direction being provided by federal and state public health officials.

From all of your friends at the USPBL – Stay Safe & Stay Healthy!

 

Pacific Association

(March 19, 2020) 

San Francisco, Calif. – As we prepare for the start of our season in June, the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, and each of our teams in Sonoma, Napa, Vallejo and Fairfield, in consultation with health and wellness experts, have decided to keep plans for our summer season.

In all hopes that the mass spread of the coronavirus becomes controlled, there is an unknown stage for the next few months. We will be providing regular updates as new health and safety progressions transpire over the next 30 days and beyond. The Pacific Association will continue to monitor this fluid situation and make adjustments to our operations as warranted.

Please join our league and each of our teams in offering our support and sympathy to our friends and family in our local communities, around the country and the globe. Together we will get through this.

Pecos League

4/16/2020 – The Pecos League is aware of the rapidly changing developments regarding COVID-19. The Pecos League was originally scheduled to have a 64 game regular season start on 5/27/2020 and end on 8/1/2020 with 12 teams in 6 states. This will not happen.

The Pecos League has adjusted its season to a 48 game season with a start date to July 1, 2020 with an end date August 16, 2020 assuming it is deemed safe by local governments to play with fans at this time.

The other option the Pecos League may have to consider is to have four teams play in one location. No travel, no hotels and likely limited fan interaction would occur. But the players who need to play in the 2020 season would be able to play.

“There are 12 cities in the Pecos League and there are 12 different opinions, two of the cities have said no baseball in 2020. We will adjust and if possible play a 48 game season beginning July 1.”

Empire League

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