Zito and several other major league pitchers donate money for every strikeout they record during the season and the proceeds go toward helping wounded soldiers at military hospitals around the country.
A Red Sox fan growing up, Kimmel says baseball has helped him live a more normal life, despite his disability.
“It’s not that I had any crazy PTSD or anything, but for me the Strikeouts for Troops is more of a way to get out in public and enjoy something that I enjoyed before – baseball – without having to worry about a bunch of people staring at me.”
At the games, he gets to go on the field during batting practice and he says he’s developed friendships with several of players, including Zito, Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay and Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Ziegler.
“All those guys are friends to me now,” Kimmel said. “You grow up thinking these guys are superheroes … They’re just people. Now they’re my pals.”
Copyright 2012 USATODAY.com