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School of Medicine discoveries

June 8, 2018

More than a game: baseball tour connects father-son alumni, raises money for charity

Neil Rosenberg, M'78, and Ron Rosenberg, M'18, at a Chicago White Sox game

Neil Rosenberg, M’78, and Ron Rosenberg, M’18, at a Chicago White Sox game in April 2018.

Ron Rosenberg, M’18, always knew he wanted to see a game in every Major League Baseball stadium. The lifelong baseball fan even found the perfect time to do it, plotting out a cross-country trip to 30 parks in 60 days between medical school and residency.

Along the way, the Chicago native discovered something special about his tour of America’s pastime. Turns out, it was about much more than baseball.

It was about helping others by raising money for Sportable, a Richmond, Virginia, nonprofit where Rosenberg volunteered during medical school. Sportable provides adaptive sports and recreation opportunities for athletes with physical and visual disabilities.

It was about family. Rosenberg’s love of all sports comes from his father and fellow alumnus Neil Rosenberg, M’78. In particular, his love of baseball — Chicago White Sox baseball — comes from his dad. It was their trip to Game 2 of the 2005 World Series and the game-winning, walk-off home run by White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik that sealed the younger Rosenberg’s White Sox fandom for life.

Lastly, the trip was about hospitality. Friends and family opened their homes to Rosenberg as he spent two months traveling across the country. Medical school friends joined him for the game in Baltimore. Fans from coast to coast welcomed him to their stadiums as he experienced the unique flavor (and flavors) each park had to offer.

At Marlins Park, Rosenberg’s first stop on the tour, Miami Marlins left-fielder Derek Dietrich even tossed him a ball in the stands between innings.

“That was the first MLB ball I’ve gotten in my life,” Rosenberg says. “He had no idea about my tour. It was totally random.”

If you’re a believer in baseball superstitions, this was a pretty good sign the tour was going to go well.

“The tour was a blast for so many reasons,” Rosenberg says.

He has raised nearly $3,000 for Sportable on his fundraising website … and counting. “It’s made the tour even more fun to combine it with raising money and awareness for Sportable,” Rosenberg says. “I wanted to support a local organization that could feel the impact.”

"The blue seat marks where Paul Konerko landed his unforgettable grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, a game my pops took me to that is still the greatest sporting event I've ever attended," Ron Rosenberg says.

“The blue seat marks where Paul Konerko landed his unforgettable grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, a game my pops took me to that is still the greatest sporting event I’ve ever attended,” Ron Rosenberg says.

Rosenberg will begin his residency in family medicine later this month at Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. His father, a pulmonologist with Chicago’s Chest Medicine Consultants, points to his son’s Sportable fundraising as an indicator of what attracted him to the medical field.

“I think one of the reasons Ron went into medicine, and is going into family practice, is that he sees you can combine different interests in your career to use them in a positive way,” Neil Rosenberg says. “The idea he could take a passion and combine it with something that benefits the community, and brings awareness and financial support, is a good lesson to learn.”

Neil Rosenberg understands the value of exposure to new people and places. During the summer between his first and second year on the MCV Campus, he and classmate Charles Wilson, M’78, lived in Israel for one month, where Rosenberg worked in a kibbutz, or farm, traveled to Italy and Greece, and met his future wife.

“I always told the kids about the trip, how it’s where I met their mother, how it changed my life,” Rosenberg says. “It made me a better doctor and gave me a little perspective. It was my first time out of the country.” Rosenberg and his wife, Tamar, have four sons, including Ron.

“The most fun of being a parent is seeing your children develop differently and go through their life choices,” Rosenberg says. “You watch them grow, change, mature, make mistakes, change again. That’s the beauty of parenthood. You see everything.”

On April 21, Rosenberg joined his son on his tour for the White Sox game. The team lost 10-1 to the defending champion Houston Astros. But that was OK — it was about more than baseball.

“The only pictures that matter from my stop at the White Sox game are the ones with my dad, who took me to my first baseball game and tossed a ball with me as a kid,” Ron Rosenberg says.

He credits his father for helping him find his path, both in sports and medicine. “He helped me get to where I am today. I’m very thankful to have him.”

By Polly Roberts

Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine
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Updated: 04/29/2016