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S.L. Price
October 15, 2007
Coolbaughs Carry On
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October 15, 2007

Update

Coolbaughs Carry On

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SI, SEPT. 24
On Oct. 1, Mandy Coolbaugh—whose husband, Mike, the first base coach for the Tulsa Drillers, died at age 35 after he was struck by a foul ball on July 22—began rooting for the Colorado Rockies in earnest. The organization ( Tulsa is one of its minor league affiliates) sent word that Mandy and Mike's sons, Joey, 5, and Jake, 4, would be invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the team's first home game if it made the playoffs. The boys (below) loved going to the ballpark with their dad. "They lived for that," Mandy said.

When the Rockies qualified, the game that had taken so much from the Coolbaughs began to give back. Then it gave a bit more: The Colorado players voted Coolbaugh's family a full playoff share—sure to be more than $120,000—even though Mike (inset) had been with the organization less than three weeks. "Mike would be so honored," Mandy said. "It shows such great generosity."

On Saturday the boys, wearing Mike's number 29 and accompanied by his brother Scott, made the pitches. Mandy, eight months pregnant, stayed home. "I'm still having a hard time," she said. "At nights I wait for the phone to ring, thinking he'll call. People doing things like the playoff share gives hope. It keeps Mike alive to me."

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