Aneurysm Awareness Week in the AFL

For the second straight year, the Arizona Fall League is teaming up with Natalie Niekro and the Joe Niekro Foundation for Brain Aneurysm Awareness Week in the AFL. Joe Niekro, the great knuckleballer (and Natalie’s father) died in October 2006 from an aneurysm and Natalie started the Foundation to raise funds and awareness about brain aneurysms.

All this week, there will be appearances and announcements and information regarding aneurysms at AFL ballparks all week long. In addition, pitchers for the seven organizations Niekro pitched for will be raising funds simply by striking out the opposition. For every strikeout recorded during the week, Natalie Niekro will donate $36 to her foundation (36 was her dad’s number).

But that’s not all. Four of the seven teams (so far) have committed to giving similar donations of $36 per strikeout from each of their organization’s pitchers. Last year’s effort raised a lot of awareness and several thousand dollars for a great cause.

You can get into the act in two ways. First, and most quickly, you can text

STRIKEOUT to 20222 to donate $10 to the Joe Niekro Foundation and its fight against brain aneurysms. Secondly, I’m listing each organization and the pitchers involved. Pick a team and tell me who you’re pulling for (or predicting will have the most) in comments below. Guess how many strikeouts your team will have (I believe the high for last year was 15). The winner will be the person who picks the leading team and is closest to the correct amount of strikeouts. You gotta be in it to win it.

Here’s the roster of pitchers. By the way, it’s the Yankees, Cubs, Tigers and Twins who have committed to making a donation based on the K totals:

Cubs: David Cales, Chris Carpenter, Jake Muyco, Kyle Smit
Padres: Brad Brach, Erik Davis, Colt Hynes, Alexis Lara
Tigers: Brooks Brown, Matt Hoffman, Chance Ruffin, Brendan Wise
Braves: Michael Broadway, Kyle Cofield, Erik Cordier, Cory Gearrin
Astros: David Carpenter, Kyle Greenwalt, Matt Nevarez, Pat Urckfitz
Yankees: Manuel Banuelos, Craig Heyer, George Kontos, Ryan Pope
Twins:   David Bromberg, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Kyle Waldrop

Some are pitching today (Monday). Jake Muyco (Cubs) was starting for Mesa and he had one strikeout in his first two innings of work. Brooks Brown (Tigers) is starting tonight for Surprise. I’ll be updating daily on the strikeout totals, so stay tuned to keep up on your picks!


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