Ever question if you did the right thing?
This emotionless hardheaded lefty just tossed a wonderful game, may have been a no-hitter, but what happened next still bothers me today. He was a troubled kid who, as talented as he was, always seemed a million miles away. Yet, give him the baseball or a bat and he new what to do.
As I was filling out the line-up card for the next game, I noticed he was sitting in the dugout staring out into space while the rest of the team was exploring the minor league stadium we were playing in. “You okay,” I asked? Yep, as he left the dugout and went into the stands to sit next to his dad.
Next game he was playing first. Anticipating a bunt, I pulled the corners in. Chewing on his glove, he never moved, seemingly oblivious to what was going on. Then out of the blue he sprinted down the line and stood on top of the batter yelling, “Is this good enough?”
I called time, pulled him from the game and asked him to take a seat on the bench. Disregarding every other word being an explicative I asked him to leave the dugout and I would talk with him after the game. Blaming me, he and his dad angrily left the stadium.
They said it was a form of tough love, assuring me, if not today, it will surely benefit him in the future. In a show of support several players and their families stated I had no choice.
As I was leaving the stadium one of the fathers came up and said, “As tough as it might be to accept, I did the right thing,” stating it was obvious other circumstances in this young man’s life are dictating his actions and we can only hope he will learn from this.
What he said next was something that has stuck in my mind since that sad day and I feel obligated to share it with every player and their family I get the opportunity work with.
“Baseball is like a train ride and unfortunately some get off before they’re suppose too.”
I realize some issues are greater than baseball, but I always felt this kid needed baseball more than baseball needed him. I found out today this young man did exit the train too early and, unfortunately, is incarcerated.
So if I may, I would like to ask a favor?
In baseball or in life; help someone stay on the Train as long as they can!
Until next Blog,