Bob Halloran’s Birthday Brain Aneurysm  

On July 22, 2016, Bob Halloran was one day away from celebrating his 53rd birthday. Each year he celebrates his birthday by completing the number of pushups that matched his age.  

Halloran decided to push himself to do 63 pushups that day. He recalls getting to 10 or 11 pushups when he felt a “pop” behind his right eye. He recalls not feeling any pain in the immediate aftermath but noticed a headache developing the next day. He assumed it was just a migraine and continued going to work as a Sports Anchor/Reporter at WCVB-TV Channel 5 Boston. 

“I come from a family of nurses and I said to him, ‘You should go to the doctor, that could have been an aneurysm,’” said Eileen Curran, Bob Halloran’s wife. “Bob said he felt fine.” 

The headache became increasingly worse as time went on and eventually caused him to stay up all night. This led him to schedule a doctor’s appointment on July 28.  

Before he could arrive at the appointment, Halloran drove to the first day of New England Patriots’ training camp to film a news package for WCVB-TV Channel 5. After completing the midday live report and package for the evening newscast, he hopped in the car to head to his appointment. 

Unfortunately, Halloran never made it to his appointment. He pulled off Route 138 in Canton, Massachusetts to stop at a Dunkin Donuts for an egg sandwich and coffee. As he pulled out of the parking lot, he started to pass out and eventually drove off the road into a large bush. He is unsure how long he was unconscious, but when he regained consciousness, he was surrounded by EMTs and an unknown bystander who had brought him an ice-cold bottle of water. 

“I’m an idiot who doesn’t know anything about aneurysms and when I had this really bad headache, which I don’t get headaches, I should have listened to my body and not waited five or six days to respond,” said Halloran. “I should have been to the hospital much more quickly and maybe that would have had even better results for me. Or I just got really lucky that, even though I wasn’t smart and proactive, things worked out.” 

Halloran was transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton in Milton, Massachusetts. A CAT scan confirmed that Halloran had suffered a brain aneurysm. Dr. John Mahoney, recommended that Halloran should be transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. 

“The thing that kept going through my head while driving to the hospital was – he was conscious — that’s a good sign and I need to get him into Boston, as Milton Hospital is a community hospital,” said Curran. 

Dr. Mahoney recommended Beth Israel because Dr. Chris Ogilvy,  the Director, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Brain Aneurysm Institute was one of the “top doctors” in the world. Dr. Ogilvy concluded that the initial “pop” behind Halloran’s right eye, was a small tear instead of a complete rupture of the aneurysm. The complete rupture happened on July 28.  

His wife recalls the first two and half weeks in hospital being “grueling” as Halloran was in the ICU, where doctors inserted a pump into his head to drain liquid that was building up inside of his brain.  

“He doesn’t remember a lot of his time in ICU, which actually is a blessing, because I wouldn’t want him to remember that horrible pain,” said Curran. 
 

On November 1, Halloran returned to WCVB-TV Channel 5 after 13 weeks recovering. In an exclusive interview EMass Sports, Bob Halloran explains his motivation for returning and what he learned from his time in the hospital. 

“This could happen to anyone so I would say to everyone – if you have a horrible, excruciatingly painful headache – go see your doctor,” said Curran. “If your doctor says it’s stress or a migraine, go see someone else. You need to get a CT scan – it could save your life.” 

According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, 1 in 50 people have an unruptured brain aneurysm. In addition, Halloran wanted to remind everyone that 50% of cases with ruptured aneurysms are fatal. 

“People who suddenly have a headache like they never had before should recognize this is a serious issue and get to a hospital as quickly as possible,” said Halloran. 

Meet Ryan Fleming, the Reigning MABL 18+ Rookie of the Year

2021 All-Star pitcher Ryan Fleming has pitched just twice since June 24, 2021, for the Waltham Cutters. Four of the seven Cutters’ games in July were postponed or called off in the middle of the game due to inclement weather. This includes that infamous tie against the Singing Surgeons on July 17.

“This season has been anything but normal and that’s coming from someone who started during a COVID-19 shortened season,” said Fleming. 

Fleming returned to the mound on August 1 against the Milton Fighting Irish. He proceeded to fire a four-hit shutout, walking two and strikeout ten. Half of his strikeouts were as a result of his curveball, one of three pitches in his repertoire. He also features a fastball and changeup.

Additionally, Fleming provided his own run support with an RBI fielder’s choice and then he proceeded to score from first on an RBI double by catcher Devin Conroy. This was in the middle of a four-run first inning that provided all the run support Fleming would need in the contest. Waltham won the game 5-0.

“I am very much a momentum pitcher,” said Fleming. “And from my perspective pitching from ahead is infinitely easier.” 

The win improved Fleming’s record to 2-0 this season and the Cutters’ record now stands at 10-4-1. He has started each of the last two games for Waltham firing 12 2/3 innings of two-run ball, surrendering eight hits, and collecting 19 strikeouts during those contests. 

“Once I am grooving, as long I am making competitive pitches, I don’t think there a lot of teams that can beat me straight up,” said Fleming.

Ryan Fleming has accounted for 45% of his team’s strikeouts on the mound this season. Photo by Whitney Dowds

During his 2021 campaign, Fleming has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his eight appearances. His only outlier this season came in his June 24 start, where he was charged with nine runs on 11 hits in four innings against the Middleboro Mocka Rays (15-2).  

This comes one season after finishing with a 3-1 record in seven appearances, where he gave up two runs or fewer in six of those games to help him win the MABL 18+ Rookie of the Year award in 2020. 

“What’s impressed me most about Ryan is his dedication to the game in always working to make himself better,” said Jeff Coveney, President of the Boston Men’s Baseball League and the Waltham Cutters’ manager. “That extra work has paid off on the field.” 

When he is not pitching, Fleming patrols right field. Offensively, he currently is tied for second on the Cutters in hits (11) and is ranked third in RBIs (5). 

The Cutters return to action against the Greater Boston Bandits (4-11) on August 11. The first pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Nipper Park in Waltham. 

Meet Mike Knell, the Middleboro Mocka Rays’ Singles Machine

When examining the defending champion Middleboro Mocka Rays 13-2 start to the 2021 season, you will see Mike Knell’s offensive dominance right at the heart of the action. He has led his teams in both hits and RBIs this season. His 17 hits and 19 RBIs has earned him a 2021 Boston Men’s Baseball League All-Stars selection for the MABL 18+ division in addition to being awarded the Offensive Player of the Month in June. 

Knell entered the league in 1999 with Boston Braves, after turning down an accounting job at the firm Coopers and Lybrand, where the manager, Jeff Gauthier, referred him to this league.  Knell currently works as the Chief Accounting Officer at Charles River Laboratories. In addition, he is currently in his 19th season coaching his children’s soccer and basketball teams.

Knell is currently playing in his 23rd season in the Boston Men’s Baseball League with his fifth different team, which has resulted in six championships. He played every position on the field and currently has 432 career hits, scored 272 runs, and knocked in 280 RBIs in the process. 

“I played on a lot of great teams hitting in the middle of the order,” said Knell. “Hitting is contagious. When you are playing with a lot of great players, you get a lot of extra at-bats.”

His advice to players who are struggling offensively is to “not think too much” at the plate and “to go back to basics and hit some line drives.”

Playing on the third team of his career, he won two championships with Netherfield Reds from 2005-2009, winning the titles in 2006 and 2008. He recalled that his favorite championship from that time period came in 2008 when his team pulled off a surprising upset of the Boston Tigers team that entered the matchup with a 24-2 record to open the postseason. The Reds entered the series as an underdog with an 11-13 record and only 10 players qualified to play in the postseason. 

The teams split the first two games in convincing fashion. The Reds won game 1, 11-5, while the Tigers pitched an 8-0 shutout three nights later in game two to even the series and set up a win or go home matchup in the series finale.

The Tigers mounted an early 4-0 lead heading into the fifth inning. The Reds flipped the script, scoring all 11 of their runs in their final three innings and surrendering just three runs in the bottom of the seventh to cap the scoring. Knell finished the game with three hits and three RBIs to help pace the offense. 

They proceeded to complete two “grueling” five-game series against the Senators and Athletics to complete the championship run with each series going the distance. Netherfield was undefeated in elimination games that postseason with a 3-0 record.

Knell recalls his favorite personal performance came game three of the 2008 championship series against the Athletics where he fired a complete game, surrendering just two runs on three hits and striking out seven hitters along the way. He escaped a bases-loaded no-out jam in the first to keep his team in the game, helping his team to earn a close 3-2 win to give his team a 2-1 series. This performance was critical because no other pitchers were available for the Reds at the time.

“It was one of those (games) where everything goes our way and it was sort of destiny,” said Knell. “You sort of had a magical feel about that team.”

Offensively, he added a .320 average and lead his team in both hits (16) and RBIs (12) that postseason, marking his best offensive postseason performance of his career in both categories. Knell’s teams earned playoff berths in 20 of his 22 previous seasons. This included four championships between 2012-2020 with the Cambridge Spinners and Middleboro Mocka Rays.

Knell’s top performances of this season came during back-to-back games against the Boston Jakes (2-11), and Waltham Cutters (9-4) on June 20 and 24. He combined to go 5 for 8 with seven RBIs and one strikeout during that stretch helping the Mocka Rays outscore the Jakes and Cutters 31-3 in the process. 

76% of Mike Knell’s hits this season are singles. Photo by Whitney Dowds

“Any time you can bring a player of Knell’s caliber to a team it’s a big get,” said Mocka Rays manager Tyler Ferdinand. “His veteran presence as well as being a proven MABL champion has helped us get over the hump we were stuck on the last couple of years.”

Unfortunately, two days later he would suffer a torn upper left quad against the Singing Surgeons. As a result of two games being postponed due to inclement weather, he only missed one contest against the Boston Jakes. His doctor informed him the injury would heal in about 4-6 weeks.

“I hit a gapper and was thinking a home run and I was about to round first and I heard a loud pop,” said Knell. “Getting old sucks.”

He returned to action in Friday night’s contest against the Waltham Athletics, finishing 1 for 3 with a single, but was thrown out at second base trying to stretch it to a double. However, a complete-game shutout by Athletics’ starter Alec Christian spoiled his return as the Mocka Rays were defeated 1-0, snapping a six-game winning streak. 

Mike Knell and the Mocka Rays will seek redemption in the team’s rematch against the Waltham Athletics at Nipper Park in Waltham on Wednesday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m.