Sarah Langs honors baseball every day. June 2 was a day to honor her

June 3rd, 2024

“Sometimes, when you have ALS, high fives can be a little difficult.”

Sarah Langs wanted to start a challenge to pass along to others in order to raise greater awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig, who garnered the nickname “Iron Horse” for his incredible durability in playing 2,130 consecutive games during a Hall of Fame career, died of ALS on June 2, 1941.

In the 83 years since, the world has been searching for a cure.

High fives can, indeed, be difficult for someone with ALS, making it an unsuitable challenge. Sarah knows, because she is courageously battling the disease herself. The condition causes the progressive loss of the body’s motor neurons, which control voluntary muscle contraction.

So Sarah, a peerless baseball researcher and reporter for, as well as one of the most beloved figures in the baseball community, came up with an alternative.

“Fist bumps are a lot easier,” she said during an interview in the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth during the game between the Phillies and Cardinals on the fourth annual Lou Gehrig Day. “I just thought that would make a lot of sense.”

The #FistBumps4ALS challenge took off, adding to the already immense impact Sarah has had on not only raising awareness, but also supporting the push to finally find a cure. As she sat in the SNB booth with Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone, she wore a t-shirt that has become a symbol of the cause.

The shirt features a now famous catchphrase of Sarah’s that encapsulates in four words the incredible passion she has for the sport she loves. She never meant for this saying to become what it’s become, but it has -- and it continues to bring joy in the midst of the fight:

“Baseball is the best.”

Atop that phrase on the shirt is the word “end,” and directly below “end,” the letters A,L and S from “Baseball is the best” are highlighted to form “End ALS.”

As we look ahead to the day when “end” has been changed to “ended,” we commemorate those we have lost to the disease and those who are so valiantly fighting it today. The Phillies took the opportunity on Lou Gehrig Day to do just that by inviting Sarah and others with ALS to Citizens Bank Park to be honored before the game.

Prior to an on-field ceremony, the group was invited into the Phillies’ clubhouse. Beginning with Sarah, each of them spoke to the entire group of players and coaches, leaving them with an indelible inspiration and admiration for these courageous individuals.

One by one, star players like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, Aaron Nola -- who has lost a loved one to ALS -- Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott approached Sarah to thank her for her remarks and to express their love and support.

The support Sarah and so many others with ALS have received through the baseball community since she announced she was battling the disease has been far greater than she could have imagined.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I first shared this with the world,” she said. “I certainly never expected all of this. I am so, so eternally grateful for it. … I thanked the players for who they are and for making baseball the best.”

As much as Sarah is grateful for the love she’s received from across the sport, the baseball world is grateful for the inspiration she has become to millions of people who have been directly or indirectly affected by ALS.

If you asked the players whom she thanked for making baseball the best, they’d probably tell you that it’s Sarah who is actually making it so.

When Lou Gehrig was diagnosed more than 80 years ago, baseball and ALS became inextricably linked. As Sarah said in a special video played at Citizens Bank Park and in every ballpark in the Majors on Sunday, Gehrig’s “dignified fighting spirit has provided decades of inspiration.”

Today, Sarah has picked up that mantle and carried it forward. On Lou Gehrig Day and every day, the fight continues. And Sarah, with her joyous love for the game, is a beacon on the front lines.