*The first part of this article was something that I felt like I needed to put down. I did not plan on writing that, but it just happened. I originally wanted to write an open letter to any athlete in professional sports, but when looking at the ages and the families of the three young studs… I couldn’t help but jot some of those things down. I know that this piece jumps around from topic to topic, but these are a direct reflection of my thoughts at 1 AM. This is the result of a late-night writing session that I am jamming between homework sessions.
78 – This is the life expectancy of the average American.
71 – This is the combined age of Oscar Taveras, Jose Fernandez, and Yordano Ventura at the times of their death.
22, 24, 25 – These are the ages of Taveras, Fernandez, and Ventura.
Those numbers are sickening, and I promise that those will be the only statistics that I include in this article.
First and foremost, this article consists of things much greater than sports. This is an article about life in general. The three men were sons. The three men were fathers. Between the three were four young children, and one unborn child. All were men that were taken from their families in an instant. This is real stuff, folks.
Major League Baseball players seem like they are machines, like they do not have a life outside of baseball. This is the case for all professional athletes of any sport. These are real people. Just like your father, mother, brother, or anyone else you come in contact with on a day to day basis.
I won’t sit here and bother you all with an elaborate article that you could read for thirty minutes. I will get straight to the point.
Appreciate yourself. Appreciate your family. Appreciate your friends.
*This is a quick article that I feel like I have to write in reaction to the tragedies that have been happening in the sports world. I have seen too many occasions of athletes being taken away from us at such an early age. Many of us have had people in our lives taken from us before we were ready for it. If you haven’t, I sincerely want you to appreciate your good fortunes. When you look at it, this world can be a cruel place. We need to make sure that the people in it know what they mean to others.
Major League Baseball is a community. Whether you are rooted in Cardinal red or Cub blue, the sense of a community is still omnipresent in the daily grind of the 162 game season. It is amazing to see the fan bases that have grown in cities across the United States. I have never been to another MLB stadium, so I can only speak from the lens of Cardinals’ Nation.
The tragic deaths of Oscar Taveras, Jose Fernandez, and Yordano Ventura have cut deep into the hearts of their respective fan bases. In all cases, there were tremendous outpourings of sorrow and support that could never equal the amount of impact that these three players had on the baseball world. Memorials were left on the outskirts of their stadiums, moments of silence were had, and teams were devastated by the loss of these players.
Something that I hope that comes from this, and what I KNOW that all three of these players want everyone to know, is that you see the respect that people have for those that have passed away. If anything comes from these tragedies, the players at least need to know the impact that they have on the communities. Whether the players are perennial Cy Young contenders or a non-roster invite to spring training, the players are role models. They are not only role models, but they are greatly appreciated. If one player were to read this, I would be honored. If fans read it, I hope they agree. If you think I sound crazy, well…
I don’t blame you.
But please, stay safe guys.
Over these winter months when you are waiting for spring training, I hope this shines a light on the tragedies at hand. Whether it be a part of the sports world, this is no way to live life. These three players would have been three fixtures in the All-Star game for years to come. At nearly a quarter of the age of the life expectancy of the average American, it is a shame to see them gone so soon.
Thank you for reading!
R.I.P. Oscar Taveras
R.I.P. Jose Fernandez
R.I.P. Andy Marte
R.I.P. Yordano Ventura