What Does Pearl Jam Have to Do With the M’s?

Mike McCready is shredding the National Anthem at Safeco tomorrow night

May 18, 2009

This is borderline baseball-related, but since it’s going down at Safeco Field tomorrow, Left Field seemed like the best place to post it. As part of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America night, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready will play the National Anthem tomorrow night before the Mariners take on the Angels. A little over 20 years ago, McCready was diagnosed with Crohn’s — a chronic, painful, and potentially debilitating inflammatory bowel disease — and he went public with his fight in 2002. Via email over the weekend, he answered some questions about his involvement with CCFA, his favorite Safeco memories, and the latest on PJ’s new album.

What’s the latest on the bill that would require businesses to make their employee bathrooms available to IBD sufferers?
The bill passed and was signed by Governor Chris Gregoire on Monday, May 11th in Olympia. By showing a card provided by the Health Department and signed by their doctors, IBD patients and others that suffer from diseases that need restroom access will be allowed to use retail outlet’s employee only restrooms. I am very excited and grateful to the bill sponsors, especially Representative Marco Liias and all the people the other Representatives and Senators (Senator Kline) in Olympia that made this possible.

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis a couple years ago, and I can only imagine that touring and performing on stage could be extremely difficult when you’re dealing with a disease like Crohn’s. What is/are the hardest part(s)?
Day-to-day life, always knowing where a bathroom is, trying not to get down on myself, and sometimes going into a flare and needing to up my medications and hope it doesn’t get worse.

Obviously, IBD can be an embarrassing condition to deal with or discuss — have you ever questioned your decision to go public?
No, it was choice I made about my IBD, because in that I found and connected with other patients like me, and that was where the healing started.

In your time working with CCFA in educating the public about Crohn’s and Colitis, what’s the biggest misconception that you’ve found people have about the diseases?
That just because you look healthy on the outside and seem to be functioning that everything must be okay on the inside with your disease.

In light of the fact that you’re playing during a Mariners game, care to share a particularly memorable moment you’ve had at the Kingdome or Safeco?
This will obviously be my most memorable moment at Safeco Field. I am super excited about this opportunity. Prior to this, my other most memorable moment was having the opportunity to go down on the field at Safeco a couple years ago and hit balls and run around — thanks Allen Wirtala [Mariners’ conditioning coach].

Finally, I gotta ask –- What’s the latest with the album you’re working on now?
Just in the finishing stages of it, mixing and mastering. We are very excited about the new stuff. We hope to have something out this fall.

$7 of each ticket for tomorrow’s game sold through www.mariners.com/ccfa will go to the Northwest chapter of CCFA. The deadline is noon today, and as of Friday, 656 tickets had been sold.

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