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Twins Pitcher Stands Out On The Field For Visually-Impaired Mom

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- When J.R. Graham made his big league debut this month, what made a special day extra memorable was that his mom, Julie, was there to see it.

"Just absolutely amazing," she said. "Just seeing all his hard work."

Really amazing to see, because Julie is legally blind.

"I can see the field, I can see there's players on the field, but I can't see any detail," she said. "I would imagine that if I put my eyeballs in your head that everything would probably be extremely blurry."

The only reason she can see her son is his trademark stirrup socks.

"Even with my binoculars," she said, "I can't read the numbers or the names on their backs."

With 20/400 vision, it's the only way she can tell him apart from the other players.

"I know he's on the mound," she said, "but it's fun when I come in here, and I see, 'Oh, he's walking out to the bullpen.' Or, 'he's coming out of the bullpen,' or just things like that. It's fun, (like on) Opening Day when they're lining up, I can spot him right away."

That's the whole reason JR wears them. Has since high school.

"I just wanted to stand out," he said. "It was just something I felt like I needed to do to help my mom spot me on the field, because I know it's already tough for her and I know she doesn't really like to talk about it or show that she's got the disability, but I love my mom, so I wanted to do something for her."

It's something Julie says makes her emotional.

"The fact that he recognizes and tries to do something to make it easier for me," she said, "means a lot to me."

Watching a game with Julie, you can see how proud she is of her son. But not just for being a big leaguer.

"I'm more proud of him as (a person), even more so than I'm proud that he's up here," she said. "He's a good person. He's very thoughtful and I tell him every day to never lose that."

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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