Thursday, June 22, 2006


Some encouraging news is coming out of Pensacola, FL where paralyzed Pelicans pitcher Rusty Begnaud is now nearly a week into his recovery from a broken neck suffered while diving into a teammate's swimming pool. He suffered paralysis from the chest down, but the word we are getting is he has some feeling in his hands and a little more mobility. We view any improvement as encouraging news, no matter how small it may be in the long scheme.

The Begnaud family will have Rusty moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta to continue his rehabilitation as soon as a bed becomes available.

Meanwhile, what a job the Pelicans and the Pensacola community have been doing in leading fundraising for the Rusty Begnaud Benefit Account. The American Association team reports fans donated nearly $10,000 during their homestand. The Pelicans Booster Club has gotten involved, all tips from concessions stands have been donated, businesses in town are stepping up and other teams in the league are helping out.

Fans can assist Rusty's rehabilitation by making a donation in his name through People’s First Bank in Pensacola at (800) 807-7227. The Gulf Breeze Branch of the bank, where donations are received, and Cat Country 98.7 radio are holding a cookout from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. this Friday (June 30) to raise still more money for the young pitcher, who was leading the American Association in wins at the time of the dreadful injury.

On the field, Pensacola also has rebounded from two losses right after the injury to three consecutive wins against first place Coastal Bend (Robstown, TX). Another Aviators loss Monday dropped them into a tie with Pensacola. We will have more to say about Pensacola's season in our weekly Independent Baseball Insider column which comes out Thursday.

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