Tag Archives: death

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.



Filed under baseball, Real Life, Sports

A Night of “Boom Boom”

It would be wrong to consider former light weight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini a killer, but back when I first heard of him that’s exactly what came to mind. I was uneducated when it came to boxing, so naturally when Mario told me the story of “Boom Boom” the murder switch clicked on. So, you can only imagine what kind of thoughts that rushed through my mind when I caught a close glimpse of Mr. Mancini himself at a romantic Italian restaurant.
It has been nearly two years since I had my run in with Boom Boom. Mario had taken me to a beautiful little Italian restaurant in downtown Ft.Lauderdale just to spend a romantic evening alone with me. The night started out like a usual date would, we sat at our dimly lit table as the waiter went over the evening’s specials. We ordered our dinner, drank wine, and appreciated our silent surroundings. It was a nice change from the cries I heard all day at home with then baby London.
We held a casual conversation and Mario caught a glimpse of a familiar looking man that sat at the table directly next to us. I saw him ponder a bit and noticed his eyes widen when he realized who this man was. “Babe!” I remember jumping slightly to his excited call. “That’s Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini!” I was bewildered. “Who?” Mario was slightly disappointed to know that I had no idea who he was, but then remembered that I’m not exactly a boxing guru. “He was a light weight boxer in the 80’s. He killed a guy.” My heart sank. Nervously, I looked to my left and saw what seemed like an incredibly easy going man and his female companion. “Are you sure? He doesn’t look like he is very capable of even harming a fly.” Mario grinned and guaranteed that it was him. I ate dinner very quietly that evening. Every once in a while, I would glimpse over at this man and wonder how he could kill some one. I know it was accidental, but how? And how does he live with it? Was he punished for it in any way or was it over looked because it’s just “part of the sport”? Mario looked at me very concerned, because for me to remain so silent for so long is a clear inclination that something very serious is on my mind. “What’s wrong?” I didn’t want to say a word. I didn’t want “Boom Boom” to hear any of my comments and then go after Mario, or even worse… me.
By now, we had both finished eating our dinner and I was ready to go home. After the bill had been paid and the tip was left for the waiter, I quickly got up from my table and was on my way out. It seems as though that I was a bit too eager to leave and with a quick swish of my hand bag, Ray Mancini’s bottle of red wine had been knocked over on his table. My mouth dropped and I completely panicked. Mario rushed over and picked up the open bottle. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I think Mr. Mancini sensed my absolute horror and embarrassment and he smiled. A panicked “I’m so sorry!” escaped from my lips. He smiled again and assured me that it was alright. I left the restaurant completely mortified.
Upon arrival to our home, Mario and I hopped on the internet to search for recent photos of Boom Boom to verify that it was in fact him that we saw at the restaurant, as well as do research on the fight that caused the kill. First stop was Wikipedia. I wanted to know the whole story before I saw if I was really sitting next to a murdering boxer. It turned out to be an incredibly emotional story and made me feel deep sympathy for Mancini. On November 13, 1982, Mancini was facing a South Korean challenger named Duk Koo Kim. Kim had to loose a few pounds to make the fight, and in doing so, became dehydrated. By fight time, Kim had made his weight, but was spent. The fight was filled with action, but Mancini had an easy time hitting Kim throughout the 14 rounds that the fight lasted. Kim sustained brain injuries that led to his death 5 days later. Mancini attended the funeral and fell into a deep depression. Times became harder for Mancini when people randomly approached him and asked if he was Kim’s ‘killer’. Mancini completely blamed himself for Kim’s death. Four months after Kim’s death, his mother committed suicide, as did the match’s referee, Richard Green.
After feeling like a complete jerk for thinking of this man as a murderer, we then googled his name for recent photos. To my surprise and Mario’s certainty, it was Mr. Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini himself. I knocked over a boxing champions wine and lived to tell about it!


Filed under Real Life, Sports

The True Demise Of The Infamous Tatiana

Thursday evening, I decided to take advantage of the fact that London was sleeping over grandma’s because he was ill and opted to do a spontaneous date night and head to the movies to see 10,000 B.C. . The movie was (simply put) awesome. After the two hour film had ended, we began to drive home when all of a sudden I felt this excruciating pain on my foot. The pain was so horrible, I nearly had to pull over. I dealt with the sting until I pulled into my driveway and then itched the heck out of my toe. I declared it to be an insect bite, but whatever bit/stung me was nowhere to be found. Being the hard headed Cuban that I am, I did nothing about the bite and went to bed. The next morning, my entire foot was swollen and red. I nearly called in sick, but decided that I needed to go in to work anyway. Work was difficult. I couldn’t walk and the effects of the venom of whatever had stung me were definitely setting in. I had heart palpitations, I felt light headed, and eventually my foot went numb. It wasn’t until almost noon that I decided to do something. I went to the CVS pharmacy One Minute Doctor nearby work, and was then rushed to the E.R.
They were never able to figure out what kind of spider bit me exactly, but I did make it out of the hospital with a general anti venom shot to my toe, a tetanus shot to my rear, and a prescription to medication that I am to take 4 times a day. They recommended that I take Claritan, use topical Benadryl and use warm compresses.
They told me that if I had waited any longer, something much worse could have happened. Blood poisoning? Death?

My girl friend, Christina. A/K/A my ambulance

My wrist band. Groovy, ain’t it?!

Me: Sad, slightly nervous, but still sportin’ my Yankee jersey!


My entry wounds. Damn little bastard!

This morning, I awoke with most of my swelling gone. I was still walking with a limp, but I was expected to be at the training with Coach Brown and Mario. So, I bucked up, grabbed my glove, and got ready to play. I didn’t participate in the actual training itself, but Mario and I played catch for a good hour all together, before and after training. I got a bit of a work out chasing after balls thrown, and I experienced two injuries. Mario threw the ball and hit me once in the thigh and once on the left foot. Luckily, my spider bite was on the right foot, or Mario may not have survived to tell you about his experience today because he would have experienced my Cuban Wrath.

So, it goes to show ya why my name is the Infamous Tatiana. I am so famous, I’m Infamous!

This morning, posing with Black Magic.

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The Definition Of A Hero

For many of you, when you think of the word hero, names like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or even Lou Gehrig may come to mind. But what is in a hero exactly? What defines him? Is it his muscles? His speed? His stats? I am sure you are all expecting me to say that Derek Jeter is my hero, but for me it is beyond all that. My hero was my best friend, and yesterday I lost him. While it always hurts to lose someone you love, it cuts me deeply to lose this family member. Imagine having someone in your life that never once judged you. They were always there to make you smile and no matter how badly you treated them, they never left your side. Imagine having someone that no matter how much pain they were in, they tried to hold on as long as possible just so they could keep you happy for one more day. That’s what defines my hero. That’s who my best friend was, my Maxie.

I got Max as a gift from my dad when I had just turned 6 years old. Someone my dad worked with had a dog that had just had a litter of puppies and somehow conned my dad into taking one home. My mother threw a fit, but I got to keep him any way. I will always remember the trouble my little puppy caused. Chewing holes into the wall, chewing through the wire for the alarm, marking his territory all over the house….

Despite all these little things, I loved my dog. And I really must admit that for the last two years, I really didn’t give him the attention that he deserved. I rarely played with him and never took him for walks. I blame myself for getting so consumed in other things. For the last year, Max had a serious thyroid problem. He ate like a pig, but lost tons of weight, which made him look like a skeleton, but still had energy and still wanted to play. London and my husband loved Max and would play with him whenever they got the chance. But for the last couple of days, the dog that ate 3 large cans of dog food a day, ate nothing the entire day. Day after day, we would fill his bowl with fresh dog food, and the next morning, there it still sat… untouched. Monday evening, I went to pick up my son from my mother’s and for some reason I had the strongest urge to just go outside and spend time with my Max. He had no energy left and sat next to me on the floor by the pool. There we sat for what seemed like eternity, my best friend and I. He could barely move, he was so weak, but he turned to me and began to lick my hand. The next morning we found my Maxie laying on the floor next to his Dogloo and a bowl full of food. I just pray he had a painless death and went in his sleep.
Max gave me an amazing 15 years and I am so grateful for that. I just wish he could still be here. I can’t help but to be selfish.

Max, thanks for being amazing and beyond.
I love you.

“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. “

PS: I’m sorry everyone for straying away from baseball for this post. It’s been a pretty emotional two days and I wanted to pour it all out. Thanks for giving me your time.


Filed under Real Life

If Heath Ledger Was A Baseball Player….

If any of you watch the news, I am sure you know that the 28 yr old actor, Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment. No one knows the cause of death as of yet, but they have confirmed that he had pneumonia at the time of his death and that they discovered pills near his body and dollar bills with a white residue on them. Overdose is an enormous possibility. As sad as it is that an attractive 28 yr old men died, I can’t help but think that if he had been a successful baseball player such as Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, or a young prospect with a bright and promising future, such as “King Felix”; I can’t help but think we would care a little more. I mean, sure it’s sad when someone so young passes. It’s sad when anyone dies, but come on we are talking about a guy that starred in A Knight’s Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You. Yes, I realize I sound slightly insensitive, but don’t get me wrong, I liked the guy, he was a good looking guy; and he played the part of ‘The Joker’ in “The Dark Knight” coming out this summer. That’s pretty cool, but my point is that unless we are adolescent girls, we aren’t going to really care that this kid is dead. The only reason half of us even know is because we watch the news daily. So, if Heath Ledger was a baseball player… maybe I’d have a lot of his cards and maybe I’d care a little more.

Footnote: I was going to just post this blog as is, but last minute I had a change of heart. I was a bit too harsh on the poor guy. While I admit that I am not completely heart broken about what happened, I am a bit sad. He wasn’t a complete failure as an actor and he actually seemed like a genuine person. So, my sympathies go out to his family and friends.
Don’t want to sound cliche, but R.I.P. Heath.

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