I know it's Christmas, but I keep thinking about this. It probably didn't make many headlines outside of here and Jacksonville, but a former Red killed himself on Saturday. One of the things that caught my attention as well was the fact that he was only a year older than me. It just brought it all the closer to home.
He was the guy who thought he could and played all out. He was on the cover of the newspaper one Opening Day with a comparison to Pete Rose - and yes, that's the highest compliment a baseball player can receive here. He knocked himself out one game running after a ball. As fans don't we love the one who's willing to sacrifice their body for the win. The Reds came out with a commemorative CD when Great American Ballpark opened from Blessid Union of Souls. I bought it the next season, one of the songs was called "Guys like Me" My first comment was this is Ryan Freel's song.
You might not see me on the All Star team /Or posing for the cover of a magazine / I might not win the Cy Young Award, yeah / You might not see me in the Hall of Fame / I might not have a cool nick name / I might not ever go four for four / But when the game is on the line / Two outs two on in the ninth / You can count on a base hit from
Guys like me who may not be / The brightest star shining on the team / But when you need that two run lead /Then I'm your man / Cause it's guys like me that you will need / When our biggest star's gone 0 for three / And there'll I'll be with all my team doing the victory danceI might not ever win the batting crown / Or ever get recognized in town / There may not ever be a street named
for me / I'm probably batting seventh, eighth or nine / Batting average barely two fifty five / But with runners on base
it's four-o-three, yeah / So when the game is on the line / That's when it's my time to shine / And you can count on a
clutch hit from
Guys like me who may not be / The brightest star shining on the team / But when you need that two run lead /
Then I'm your man / Cause it's guys like me that you will need / To hold 'em to a one run lead / To give our team a
chance to beat them in the ninth
I know this means sometimes that I / Have to sacrifice some pride / Cause when it's all said and done
Everybody just can't be number one
Guys like me who may not be / The brightest star shining on the team / But when you need that two run lead
Then I'm your man / Cause it's guys like me that you will need / When our biggest star's gone 0 for three
And there'll I'll be with all my team doing the victory dance
I was sad to hear that he had killed himself. What demons couldn't he shake off? Was it money? He never one of the highly paid guys. Was it the lack of fame? Was it realizing that his dream was over? Then there's the realization that two days before Christmas a man with a wife and three little girls shot himself in the head - forever ruining Christmas for those little girls. How selfish was that?
I remembered the knocking himself out and as I read a couple tributes it came back that he knew of 6 or 7 concussions and figured there were a few he didn't remember. I don't know if that's a convenient excuse for an athlete "the concussion made me do it" or if these injuries are causing serious damage. I can't think that shaking your brain and skull up ever leads to good things.
I think we need more research on it. We owe it to his little girls, and we owe it to all the kids that play sports - how will this effect them down the road? Does better equipment need to be developed?
I don't know, but I hate to think that his life and death were in vain when he brought such joy to fans.