4/10/2009

BEHIND THE (BASEBALL) CURTAIN


In memoriam, Nick Adenhart (1986-2009).

Obviously, this is a sad time for Angel fans and for baseball. Having been the Commissioner of several Fantasy Leagues, I have felt the shock of sudden loss before, of players that I had closely followed, abruptly perishing still in the prime of life. Some of these, being athletes, were losses that were tied to bad decisions made by the players, but I feel them no less keenly.

There is a ghoulish gallows humor that tends to permeate leagues such as ours, due to the fact that one team's loss can be advantageous to another team's chances. I have often had to remind myself that while I want my team to flourish, I don't really want to see another player injured and that I shouldn't be thrilled when another team's player is hurt. But boys being boys, I suppose some of these reactions are understandable. I can remember, without pride, the happiness I felt when Pedro Guerrero sustained a season-ending knee injury sliding into third while playing for the Dodgers, who had previously won the 1985 NL West pennant largely on a surging Pedro's stick. I would like to think that I have grown a little as a person since then.

Let's remember, these are real people with real lives. We should live vicariously through their triumphs and struggles on the diamond, rooting for or against them based upon their baseball performance...but not for or against their health, or the stability of their personal lives. Many (especially pitchers) are routinely putting their health at risk. Pitching is not the most natural motion in the world. Pitched, thrown or batted balls can do more than leave strawberries: they can lead to serious injury, even death. That is difficult enough, without concerning ourselves with divorce, substance abuse or (as in Adenhart's case) a tragic accident.

And, while going down memory lane, I'd like to remember the following individuals in baseball whose tragic end has affected me personally:

Ken Caminiti.

Tim Crews and Steve Olin.

Mike Darr.


Bo Diaz.


Miguel Del Toro.

Josh Hancock.

Steve Howe.

Dick Howser.

Joe Kennedy.


Darryl Kile.

Corey Lidle.

Doug Million.

Kirby Puckett.

Eric Show.

Alan Wiggins.

MY LITTLE SOAPBOX (ignore if you want to avoid something preachy)

You might wonder why I would compile such a grim list. It is an interesting fact, rarely mentioned, that people who work in the biology field have more regular contact with suffering and death than a lot of others. So in a sense I'm immersed in that sort of thing. But I also take great pleasure in the life I live now, and have great hope for the world to come. Let's take the time to really enjoy the life we have, including the great game of baseball, and cherish the people who are important to us.

3 comments:

John Farrell said...

I always loved Kirby Puckett. Good of you to post this list.

Anonymous said...

Baseball is a stupid sport where you spend the majority of your time standing or sitting on a bench. And these people get paid so much that it's probably a good thing when any of them die.

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