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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Breath Of Life

"You've gotta shorten your swing!" I would yell at my TV nearly every time Oscar Taveras took his swings at the plate. A good hitter needs to get his hands through the ball as quickly as possible. Pitchers love long swings; long swings have many holes. I was tough on Oscar; St. Louis has astronomically high expectations for its team and players, and he was no exception.

But in that dugout, on this team, you could see the kid grow. You know that this is the place to fail, while you learn to succeed. When you pull on that uniform, you join a huge family. Oscar is family; the wins and losses don't matter as much as playing with heart and guts. All the way to the end.

The family that lives and dies with the count and the score is reminded that at the end of the day, it's only baseball. If you knew you had hours or minutes to live, what would you do? How would you be remembered?

I pray that in those final moments, Oscar and his girlfriend knew true joy, and that, by the mercy of God, only those who remain taste sorrow.

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