I am Osiel Mendoza
living with ALS
I remember practicing my throws a week in advance with Stephen Piscotty's younger brother, Austin, making sure that my ALS-ridden arms were able to power up a strong, accurate pitch over the plate.
On the day I was diagnosed with ALS, my neurologist referred to ALS as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Being the sports enthusiast that I am, I immediately felt a strong connection to the disease because of its relation to the game of baseball and the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig.
One year after my diagnosis, I was invited to throw out the first pitch at the 2017 Oakland A’s ALS Awareness Game. Growing up a huge A’s fan and going to the Coliseum as a young boy, this was such an amazing honor for me. To know that my favorite team had a day honoring people with ALS, while also raising awareness and funds for the disease, made me feel that much more connected to the organization.
Walking out on the field, focusing on each step that I took to make sure I didn’t fall in front of thousands of fans in attendance, was nerve-wracking. I remember practicing my throws a week in advance with Stephen Piscotty’s younger brother, Austin, making sure that my ALS-ridden arms were able to power up a strong, accurate pitch over the plate. Luckily, I threw a perfect strike and I remember being so proud of myself because of it.
Never in a million years did I ever think that of all people, I would be the one to throw out a first pitch at a professional baseball game. I’m beyond grateful to the A’s for giving me that memory and for everything that they have done over the years in the fight against ALS.