Let me take you back, for a moment, to my childhood and the dreams that I had as a little boy to be a baseball player. To that time when picking up a ball and glove was an outlet for me. When playing “Home Run Hitters” with my brothers and friends was the highlight of my week.
I was Babe Ruth. I imitated Ken Griffey, Jr. I channeled my inner Barry Bonds. Derek Jeter. Cal Ripken Jr. It was all fantasy, yes, but also my own reality. It was my escape. There was one problem that derailed my hopes and dreams: I couldn’t hit a baseball.
I was at a massive disadvantage because I was born legally blind in my left eye, and as I grew older my depth perception suffered. Sure, I could have tried to fight through it, tried to conquer it, tried to master it. Instead, I pulled up a bleacher seat and put all of my efforts into rooting on my hometown team. I took all that love, fire, desire that I had as an overweight, half-blind kid with cowlicks; shook out my wrinkled Mariners shirt and hoped, like the rest, to witness a World Series championship someday. We’re all still waiting.
This is where you enter the dream that I’ve held as a baseball-loving fan. And with the recent news, this is also where you piss me off and anger the boy that didn’t make it. While your 50-game suspension last season will forever be an embarrassment, I was waiting this offseason to see how you would make up for your blunder, right the wrong and be that right-handed bat this team sorely needs.
I punch a time clock twice a day, five times a week. That’s 10 times a week that I make sure I am punching in and out, logging the hours to keep a roof over my head, feed myself, keep the lights on and the heat working, keep enough gas in my car to make it into work to punch that same clock. It’s a vicious circle for a mere $104.40 a day after I bend over and pay Uncle Sam.
You pick up a baseball bat and throw a ball of rubber and yarn covered in leather. You chew sunflower seeds and spit tobacco while getting to travel on someone else’s dime to play a kid’s game in front of millions of people who, like me, would trade you places seven days a week.
Have you ever thought about how you’re living someone else’s childhood dream? Did that cross your mind as you stuffed your face, sat on your ass gaining weight, and counted the money you made as a cheater last season? I’m willing to bet your 2014 salary that you didn’t write that worthless apology you made. I’ll bet it came from your agent or your publicist. Just a fee from that $503,300 stack of coinage you keep next to the weight set, treadmill, and workout plan that have collected dust.
You will forever be a cheater and nothing will change that. You had the opportunity, however, to bury that distraction, show up at spring training camp in the best physical shape, and let your play do the talking on the field. You had the chance to put your “I’m sorry” into action and help this team win.
Instead, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll never see the field at the major-league level again with the Mariners or any other team.
That boy inside me with the cowlicks, the fat one that looks like you do today, is no longer rooting for you to succeed because you’ve become a roadblock.
Bary Roy graduated from Central Washington University in 2012 after majoring in broadcasting. He co-hosted several sports radio shows at CWU and writes a blog, The Bary Roy Report.
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