Monthly Archives: March 2009

A Tragic Ending For John Odom

During times of difficulty or struggle, many of us sometimes feel that our life may not be worth very much, but luckily we have family and friends to show us otherwise. Now, imagine already having a troubled past, struggling in the present, not knowing where you may end up in the future and having someone place a face value on your life equivalent to that of 10 maple bats.

By now, I am sure that most of you, if not all of you, have heard the story of the 26 year old minor league pitcher, John Odom, who was traded last season for 10 Prairie Sticks maple baseball bats valued at approximately $700.00 (including shipping costs).

John initially took it in stride. He appeared to take it so well that he agreed to do interviews regarding the trade and even joked about how it would make a great story if he ever did one day make the majors. Despite going from prospect pitcher to punchline, Odom dismissed all notions of despair and suicidal feelings. He was told that this was not done as a publicity stunt or to embarrass him , but three weeks after the trade and after one especially miserable night being taunted in Amarillo, Texas, Odom disappeared and merely five months later, he was dead.

While some argue there is no proof that the trade is what directly caused his death, many are concerned that it affected him more than he let on, and rightfully so.

People seem to forget that baseball isn’t always fun and games. Reliever Donnie Moore shot himself and sadly died, three years after giving up a big home run that kept the Angels from winning the 1986 American League pennant. Boston All-Star Bill Buckner became a scourge after letting a ball roll through his legs in the 1986 World Series. In 2003  Steve Bartman, fell off the face of the Earth after trying to catch a foul ball and (possibly) cost his team, the Cubs,  its first National League championship since 1945.

If being completely devalued wasn’t enough to cause John to kill himself, the awful night in Amarillo, followed by months of binging on drugs and alcohol and seclusion were defintely enough to cause him to do himself in. The medical examiner has named the cause of death an accidental over dose from heroin, methamphetamine, the stimulant benzylpiperazine and alcohol, but whether this truly was accidental or if this was just a cocktail put together by a young man that just no longer cared, we will never know. His life over the last few months and final days are left to the imagination. There is no record of where he was living, where he is buried, and his family and friends cannot be reached.

The infamous ten bats, on the other hand, can be easily located in a warehouse in Orlando, FL. They were never used and have now been purchased by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! for $10,000.00 which has been donated to the team’s children’s charity.

Quite the story has developed from the trade, unfortunately, it was not the great story that John Odom had hoped for. The story did not have the happy ending that he had once aspired for. Instead, it was a story of humiliation, cruelty and defeat. A life has been wastefully lost and all that remains are 10 pieces of wood.

The smiling John Odom: May he R.I.P.

The smiling John Odom: May he R.I.P.

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Florida Marlins vs. Albert Pujols and the St.Louis Cardinals

After having been completely spoiled at the Florida Marlins Fan Fest and the pre spring training practice at Roger Dean Stadium, I have to admit that I was definitely looking forward to today. Not because I was craving more autographs, but because I have been fortunate enough to meet every player on the Florida Marlins and feel like I know each and every one of them. At this point, they feel more like my buddies than players, and while the attitudes displayed today were more those of a professional ball player, the great memories that have been had at those last two events will forever out shine any instance of arrogance or having a chip on their shoulder.
Each and every one of our players are beyond grateful to be playing on that field and it clearly shows through their kindness and generosity.
However, after 3 losses thus far in Spring Training, it was quite evident that some egos had been bruised and some spirits were low. This did slightly affect the number of autos to be had, but did not take away from the game or fun loving atmosphere.

Today began like any other day for us. We rose early, hit the road for our 75 mile drive, and as usual, we were the first to arrive. I was eager to see all of the familiar faces and I was also dying to see the famous Albert Pujols. Everyone I had ever spoken to about him commented on his out of this world stature. A friend of mine even said that upon meeting Pujols, he saw that one of Pujols thighs was as large in thickness as my friend’s waist! I was terrified, but wanted to see the giant for myself. Upon seeing him today, I was shocked. His pants hung loosely around his legs and his once enormous muscles were no longer protruding from his jersey. It appears as though our friend recently lost a significant amount of weight. What ever could have made him lose all of that weight and muscle mass? A little odd, no?

After waiting for what seemed to have been a couple of hours, our friendly Florida Marlins emerged from behind the gates and I was thoroughly relieved. I had no desire in gawking at the Cardinal players like everyone else did, I was more interested in greeting my favorite players. Cody Ross, John Baker, Dan Uggla, Andrew Miller, Gaby Sanchez, and yes, even Hanley Ramirez were all as wonderful as ever. It is always a pleasure with these guys.

The game began, a few homers were hit, a few runs scored,  a few errors were made, and unfortunately my Marlins lost the game, but it was still as fun and exciting as it always is and that is what makes it worth going. After the game, many players dispersed the field with anger in their eyes. Even Dan Uggla left the field with a solemn look on his face, but not before he stopped to give two of his bats away to two little boys. We exited quietly with out requesting anything from any players. We understand what it must feel like to the players after a loss. After all, I am a die hard baseball fan and I feel every emotion with the players, from the joy expressed when a player scores a run to the agony felt after an excruciating loss.

As always, attending the games, capturing terrific photography(wish I was able to get more!), and experiencing these memorable moments is always a pleasure. Look out for next week’s game where I will be taking Mario to Jupiter to watch the Marlins take on the Orioles for his birthday!

My buddy, Fred, isnt too fond of tobacco. Can ya blame him?

My buddy, Fred, isn't too fond of tobacco. Can ya blame him?

Albert Pujols hocking a loogie. Eww....

Albert Pujols hocking a loogie. Eww....

Junior and Senior.

Junior and Senior.

St.Louis Cardinal pitcher, Kyle McClellan

St.Louis Cardinal pitcher, Kyle McClellan

Andrew Miller may not have been feeling it today, but he still looked great!

Andrew Miller may not have been feeling it today, but he still looked great!

Jeremy Hermida hasnt been having much luck on the field as of late...

Jeremy Hermida hasn't been having much luck on the field as of late...

But he is on FIRE at the plate! (this was the home run swing!)

But he is on FIRE at the plate! (this was the home run swing!)

Brett Hayes enjoying the scenery.

Brett Hayes enjoying the scenery.

Hayes getting to work.

Hayes getting to work.

Brett Hayes

Brett Hayes

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