The Tigers get back to work tomorrow evening, and while much of Detroit is focused on being happy in the playoffs, I felt compelled to write briefly about a member of their opponent, the Oakland A’s. You see, the A’s have a reliever by the name of Pat Neshek. Tigers fans are probably familiar with Neshek, as he pitched with the division rival Minnesota Twins. He ran into some arm trouble after some success with the Minnesota Twins, then reappeared with Oakland this season to become a key member of a really good Oakland bullpen.
September 19, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Pat Neshek (40) pitches during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
But this isn’t about baseball.
Neshek comes into the ALDS with the heaviest of hearts, as Wednesday his infant son passed away after just being born 23 hours prior. I came across the story from the Mercury News, and like any other human being it saddened to me to hear how this moment of happiness turned into great sadness so quickly.
I certainly don’t believe that everyone who is going to the game in Detroit tomorrow is going to read this. But for those that do, remember this when they are announcing names prior to the game, and maybe give him a little bit of support in the form of some cheering. Just to be human.
I have no doubt that Neshek’s return to his teammates has as much to do with healing as anything. Even if it’s a little bit. Playing the game he loves might take a little heaviness out of his heart, and even honor the son he and his wife had named Gehrig.
I think I can say that all of our thoughts go out to Pat Neshek and his family. And while I root like crazy for the Tigers to go ahead in the playoffs, there will be a part of me that is rooting for Neshek to find a little joy as well.