“I know nobody knows Where it comes and where it goes I know it’s everybody sin You got to lose to know how to win …. Dream On, Dream until your dreams come true” – Steven Tyler, Aerosmith
It’s been a long baseball year for the Miami Marlins. An organization known for frugality, signed several big name free agents, spending hundreds of millions of dollars, exciting fans and increasing expectations. They even traded for a controversial manager who won a World Series seven years earlier. Nothing worked. They’re in last place. Players and management have bickered. Their reality show about their season, “The Franchise” on Showtime, was canceled several episodes earlier than planned. But on the next to the last night of the season, the Miami Marlins, baseball’s great disappointment, salvaged some goodwill when one of their players struck out.
Baseball is a sport rife with failure. The greatest who’ve ever played the game only succeed three times out of ten. As professional baseball player Adam Greenberg wakes up this morning, his lifetime major league statistics will read: two plate appearances, 0-1, one strikeout, and one hit-by-pitch. But he should feel like an All-Star.
On July 9, 2005, Greenberg stepped to the plate in a game nationally televised on a Sunday Night by ESPN, as a twenty-four-year-old Chicago Cubs rookie, just called up to the major leagues. Pinch-hitting in the ninth inning against Florida Marlins reliever Valerio de los Santos, the first pitch, a 92 miles-per-hour fastball, hit him in the back of the head, just above the ear. He left the game and didn’t return for seven years, two months, and twenty-four days.
The beaning left him with a concussion and form of vertigo. Tying his shoes gave him migraine headaches. He had to sleep upright for weeks at a time. He eventually made it back to minor league baseball but his skills weren’t the same.
But in one of those rare moments when the internet does something good, Adam Greenberg’s story, and life, got better.
Matt Liston, a non-stop talking, baseball cap wearing Chicago Cubs fan and maker of movies no one watches (documentaries), took on Adam as his cause ce’le’bre’. Since only die-hard baseball fans had even heard of Adam Greenberg’s head injured debut in 2005, Liston took to Twitter, Facebook, and websites. His online campaigning got the attention of 2012 failure, the Marlins. They decided to do something good with their rotten season and sign Adam Greenberg to a one-day contract. Here’s nice, kind, quiet Adam uncomfortably sitting next to motormouth Matt, “hey, I found my meal ticket” Liston on The Today Show.
Finally, after years of frustration, something worked out for Adam Greenberg. Last night, leading off the bottom of the sixth inning against 20-game winning knuckleballer R.A Dickey (yes, that’s his real name), with Aerosmith’s Dream On blared from the Marlins’ park sound system, Adam Greenberg completed an at-bat in the major leagues, striking out on three pitches. He donated his one day pay, $2,340, to a foundation that researches head trauma in athletes.
The dramatic irony of succeeding at a second chance with the team that accidentally took away your first, the Marlins, is impressive. What makes this story really intriguing, and inspiring, is how a guy didn’t fall out of love with his dream of playing major league baseball. For thirty-three seconds on a Monday night is South Florida, professional sports was neither cynical nor just about money. Dream On, indeed.
all pictures and video courtesy of www.mlb.com