Adaptation of the Day: The MLB Pitcher

Here at the LightHouse, we’re excited for baseball season. As you may have heard, our SF Giants swept the Dodgers this week, and now you can be ready for every game with one of our brailled Giants schedules. As the season heats up, we are extra-heartened to hear another story of blindness and adaptation from the Minnesota Twins.

Minnesota Twins pitcher J.R. Graham wears special socks so that his blind mother can tell him apart from his teammates

Twins Pitcher J.R. Graham wears some pretty wild socks. With his pants rolled up, Graham wears knee-high, navy blue socks with skinny, stirrup-style bands reaching down to his shoes. Graham sticks out like a sore thumb around his teammates and on the filed — but that’s exactly the point. Turns out Graham dresses this way for his mother Julie, who has been visually impaired most of her life due to Best’s Disease. Though she’s legally blind, with the help of J.R.’s special attire, Julie can spot her son whether he’s pitching shut-out innings in Minneapolis or on the road.

Graham is brand new to the MLB, but has been adapting his appearance to keep his mom in the game since he was a kid. At the age of nine, his father suggested that since his teammates all wore black cleats, maybe he should try wearing white ones. At twelve, Graham first strapped on his stirrup socks and never looked back. Having the knowledge that his mom can follow the game is a great feeling for him and his family, and these little gestures are a part of their everyday life. “We’re all trying to do something to make it a little bit easier for her,” Graham said in an interview.

But this isn’t just a heartwarming story; It’s a good reminder that often the best adaptations are collaborations. Improving quality of life is not just about turning yourself inside out to make changes, but also working with the people and environments around you to find simple fixes for otherwise daunting problems.

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