“I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all I had to give.”
Adam woke up at 5 AM just to play catch with me. I am incredibly humbled by that statement. Home for Adam is in Daytona Beach, Florida. He travels regularly to install perinatal software in hospitals across the country.
“Basically, I make sure babies’ hearts are beating and babies are born.”
When he learned he was going to be in St. Louis for work, he contacted me.
“I saw the article about you playing catch in January and knew I had to try and track you down…”
He didn’t even have to finish the sentence. I completely understood. A couple years ago, Mom told me about a baseball documentary that was being filmed in Little Rock, Arkansas — The First Boys of Spring. I spent two days emailing and calling people to see if it was possible for me to be a player in the filming.
This morning, I woke up at 6:30 for no real reason other than it was too bright outside. I exercised and wrote and went to the post office and then headed to Mudhouse to check in with friends there. Adam met me at Mudhouse, “So, I finished early with the job in St. Louis. I have to fly back to Florida this afternoon.”
Adam had an hour in Springfield until he needed to get back on the road.
“I came all this way to play catch. I am going to play catch!”
Like me, Adam is a huge baseball fan. When he said he was a Mets fan, I turned my Royals hat around backwards. Thankfully, he laughed.
“In 1986, Dad was stationed in Germany — he was in the Army — and he would wake me up at 3 AM so we could watch the last couple innings of the World Series games together. When the ball went through Buckner’s legs in Game 6, we started screaming so loud, we couldn’t keep quiet. That is one of my favorite memories, waking up to watch games with Dad.”
These days, Adam follows the Mets, Miami, Tampa Bay, Pirates, Royals, and Brewers.
“When I was a kid, I used to collect baseball cards. I loved the ‘M’ and ‘B’ glove logo of the Brewers and would set those cards to the side.”
His younger sister didn’t understand his love for the game, complaining that it was slow and boring. Adam sat down with her and they watched a few innings together. He explained the various nuances of the game and she started liking it.
“She’s a Yankees fan now. She’s even called me on the phone to do play-by-play for her when her radio goes out while she’s driving.”
He started listing his favorite players: Roberto Clemente. Willie Randolph. Roberto Alomar. Carlos Beltran.
Back when he played for the Royals, Beltran was Kaylea’s first favorite baseball player. Adam and I swapped Beltran stories, thankful that he ended his career with a World Series ring. I noticed that Adam said his favorite players’ names differently than I do.
“I was born in New York City, but I’m from Puerto Rico.”
Immediately, I asked about the effects of Hurricane Maria.
“My family is okay. After the hurricane, it took almost two months to get my mom here. She bounced around with my siblings, but it was during the extreme cold, so she went back home. However, she didn’t get power restored at her home until February.”
It took four months after the hurricane to get power.
“I was just in Puerto Rico in March. There’s still a lot of rebuilding taking place. Several hotels and malls are still closed. It’s still pretty overwhelming when I stop to think about it.”
Hurricane season officially started on June 1. Adam’s understandably nervous for his mom and family.
Wanting to make the most of his time, we drove the few short blocks to the field across from Jenny Lincoln Park and started playing catch. We talked about our love for the World Baseball Classic and the games the Twins and Indians played in Puerto Rico.
“Even when power went out on the whole island, they kept playing ball.”
Adam played ball until he was 21, a second baseman.
“I’ve got bad knees now, though.”
He told me his experiences about helping coach teams.
“Seeing someone’s face light up when they finally hit a ball and hit it good, that’s priceless.”
He then shared one of his baseball dreams.
“I’d love to travel the country with my kids and take them to all the ballparks.”
Of course, living in Daytona, he’s a fan of the beach and of fishing.
“If you ever make it to Florida, when you come to see the Tortugas, your family’s got a free place to stay.”
We parted ways with a picture and a hug.
“You’ve gotta grind it out to the very last out. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. Adapt to life’s curveballs. Wait for the break, and take your swing.”
Safe travels and best wishes, Adam. Thanks so much for making the time to get to Springfield!
The proceeds from the Field of Dreams screening at the Alamo (Day #99) covered the costs of 14 players in the Miracle League. Tip of the hat to everyone who came out!
“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t,
then you are wasting your time on Earth.”