ESPN.com -- Seven years, two months and 24 days after Adam Greenberg's major league career began and seemed over on just one pitch, the now-31-year-old outfielder is to get another plate appearance on Tuesday, thanks to the Miami Marlins and a long-shot national campaign initiated by an imaginative fan on a lark.
"I'm ready," Greenberg said on the NBC "Today" show Thursday, holding back tears as David Samson, general manager of the last-place Marlins, offered him a one-day contract.
On the first and only pitch the left-handed-hitting Greenberg faced in the majors on July 9, 2005, he was struck by Marlins left-hander Valerio De Los Santos in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball. Greenberg, then playing for the Chicago Cubs, fell to the ground. Moments after the thrill of stepping to the plate as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning, he had to be helped from the field and taken to the hospital.
For months, filmmaker Matt Liston conducted an online drive to get a team to give Greenberg an at-bat, first focusing his efforts on his favorite ballclub, the Cubs. Despite a compelling video, endorsements from the likes of Hall of Famer George Brett and more than 20,000 petition signatures at Change.org, the efforts of Liston and co-campaigner Gary Cohen, a documentarian, failed to sway Chicago's management. But the Marlins, with time running out on the season, embraced the opportunity as a win-win for Greenberg and the team whose hurler abruptly ended his first major league career.________________________
I really hope that Matt Liston is making a film about this.
This is a truly heartwarming story. People don’t understand the grind involved in being a professional baseball player. It is a sport unlike the other “Big Four." Players aren’t drafted with the opportunity to play in the Show immediately, rather they scrape and claw in the minor league system for five, sometimes 10 years before they are given that opportunity. An opportunity that can come in many forms: sometimes it’s coming in to pitch garbage innings in a blowout, and sometimes it’s a chance for a game-winning hit, home run, a or game-ending strikeout.
A few players stay for a while and get a good amount of attention and can become fan favorites, like the Red Sox Pedro Ciriaco. Some make mediocre careers out of it, and some become legends. But then there are the players who only get that one shot. It’s heartbreaking to know that on Adam Greenberg’s first and only shot the lights were turned out.
I will be watching his second opportunity and will be rooting from the bottom of my heart for him to get a hit. But hit or strikeout, I can guarantee that Greenberg won’t regret a thing.
(Hat tip to Bill for another great post!)