For once, the record-setter in the Los Angeles Dodgers outfield was the guy singing the national anthem.
The last word, "brave," faded into the autumn air as it has thousands of times in North America this year. Only this time, it really meant something.Mark Reiman, who at 44 seems too young and full of life to be struck with incurable Lou Gehrig's disease, set out from his home north of Seattle five months ago with a dream to sing the anthem in all 30 major league baseball parks by season's end.
Last week in Dodger Stadium he completed the cycle. Reiman walked off the field grinning and slowing shaking his head in a kind of wonder. "The end is kind of bittersweet," he said. "Baseball season is ending and I'm a baseball fan. But mostly, it's been really sweet. I've lived a Reiman Field of Dreams this season. I feel nothing but having been blessed and humbled."
The journey hasn't been about fame, though the national The ALS Association in Los Angeles will seek a notation in the Guinness Book of World Records to commemorate Reiman's feat.
Rather, Reiman's has been a quest to honor and express in the best way left his respect and love for a game his father taught him to revere.
Each stop also has been a salute to Lou Gehrig, the legendary New York Yankee who after acknowledging he had ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 1939 declared himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."
Reiman is determined to show the 30,000 people with ALS in the United States the same example of living in courage and in faith.
"Since I sing the anthem because of my illness, there is a very intimate and personal connection for many people who are watching from the stadium, and often those people come to find me."
They shake his hand, tell him their stories, share hugs. Some are suffering from ALS, others aren't.
"Adversity is a common human experience," Reiman said. "People kind of feel encouraged and inspired to keep on going."