I’m by no means a Cardinals fan, but I am a huge fan of talent; and I am an even bigger fan of young phenomenal talent.
When I got a text message from a friend while at dinner last night that Oscar Taveras was dead, I had to take a moment to read it several times. I didn’t want to believe it.
Oscar Taveras’s don’t die – they marvel us with their talent. They win Rookie of the Year awards. They hit .353 at a ridiculously young age. They play 15 years in the big leagues and we hate seeing them come to town to play our team because they spend a series filling the box score. The win championships and continue to build the legacy of one of the best organizations in the game.
They don’t pass at age 22; not on a night when they could have been playing in the World Series if the ball had bounced a bit differently.
It still doesn’t seem real to me. I can’t believe I’ll never get to buy a ticket and go watch the second coming of Vlad Guerrero play live. In a weird way, I was looking forward to Taveras torturing the Cincinnati Reds over the next ten years. He would have, too.
I’ll always remember where I was when Oscar did this in the rain the first time we got to witness his talent:
I’m sad to say I didn’t see his last big league hit on television, or his NLCS home run off Jean Machi. And unfortunately, I’ll remember forever where I was standing when I got the horrifying text that Oscar Taveras died, hoping somehow that there had been a mistake; and then learning that it was reality.
Rest in Peace, Primo. Like all things in life, this remarkable young talent had an expiration date. It doesn’t make it any easier to understand or deal with. I will forever go on wondering what this young man could have accomplished if things had not ended tragically, maybe more so than anyone I’ve ever followed in my three decades of loving baseball.