It’s hard to remember sometimes that baseball is so much more than just a game. Dodgers fans are all too familiar with the heartbreak of a season coming to an end too early, and we often forget the human side of things.
But this story of Dave Roberts in the NLCS helps to remind us what baseball means to so many, and how it can help people through difficult times in life. Doc took the time this October to send a special message to a life-long fan battling stage four lung cancer. Surinder Singh Butalia was a father of four and died after a three month battle.
Doc sent them a special video message after Butalia’s family put a thank you note on one of the Dodgers social media account. Butalia’s family thank the team for giving their father something to look forward to during his fight with cancer, and you can read the letter and watch the video here.
Dear Los Angeles Dodgers,
I’m writing this letter mostly as a thank you card. My dad just passed away from stage four lung cancer. Watching your team play really has been the only stable thing in our lives the last three months. My dad was born in India and came to the United States in his 20s. He was an avid sports lover in India, but never played baseball. When he was introduced to The Dodgers, there was no turning back. He has been a fan for more than 60 years and never missed a game. Since his diagnosis, we struggled to make him feel comfortable and “normal.” The cancer really flipped his world upside down, but the minute we put the game on, his eyes light up and it’s like the cancer was gone for a little while. He didn’t have to think about his vitals, what the doctor told him in the morning or what his oxygen levels were…he just thought about whether or not Kenley Jansen can close out the game. The past two weeks he had to be hospitalized, because he more than likely had a reaction to the chemo pill he was taking. There was not a lot we could do for him and there was not a lot we could do to make his hospital stay less terrible, but making sure he was able to watch the boys in blue play was definitely a priority. Thank you for playing as hard as you all do. Please know that you are not only playing for the love of the sport, but also to keep people like my dad going strong. Every day, the first thing he did was look for the morning paper to find out when the Dodgers played. You all are more than a sports team, you are a ray of sunshine in extremely dark days. I pray you read this letter and it motivates you to keep on pushing towards that championship. Even though my dad couldn’t watch your last game, he was still able to listen. He heard you all win and passed away only hours later. My dad needs you all to pull through and get that championship because he did everything in his power to pull through. Thank you for giving my dad and all his kids something to bond over. We have enough Dad and Dodgers memories to last a lifetime. Memories of watching games on the tv, being at games, and traveling for games with him will forever be with us. Thank you for giving us family traditions we can all pass down to our kids. Thank you for those homeruns, where my dad would scream so loud, the neighbors heard him and automatically knew the Dodgers were winning. Most of all thank you for giving my dad happiness during this extremely difficult time. He definitely felt a part of the team. He definitely bled blue through and through.
Doc sent them this message in response.
Doc reference his battle with cancer and how it impacted his family when responding to the family. The Dodgers manager also spoke about the memories that the team brought the family and what they were able to do for them.
And though the Dodgers ultimately fell to the Braves in Game 6 of the NLCS, it’s little moments like these that remind us why we love the game. Cherish the moments that you have with your family, and enjoy Dodger baseball. We’re lucky to have it.