Two years is a long time to be unable to do what you love. We have but one life to live, and those 24 months represent approximately 2% of an average person’s lifespan.
I wonder if Guillermo Heredia and Ryan Cook have spoken much? I’m not sure how good Cook’s Spanish is - Heredia is continuing to work on his English.
They’re teammates, sure, but that’s about all they overlap on. Cook is from Clovis, California, while Heredia hails from Matanzas, Cuba; two locales so separate that Google Maps had to apologize for its inability to calculate directions between them. Even within the baseball sphere they’re distanced, with Cook out in the bullpen while Heredia is on the field or in the dugout.
But they both know the crushing reality of two years without baseball.
The circumstances were vastly different - Heredia defecting from Cuba, establishing residency in Mexico first and, eventually, Miami, and Cook battling injury after injury until finally undergoing Tommy John surgery - but two years away is two years away. Baseball is in their blood and I imagine two years, though just 2%, may well have felt like a lifetime.
Both men experienced moments of triumph this week, and Heredia was resoundingly praised because his moment, that perfect walk-off single, just so happened to be a moment of triumph for the Mariners, too. Ryan Cook’s moment was subtler, in a game that the team and its fans would rather soon forget, but no less of a triumph.
“I’m really excited to have him back with our club,” Scott Servais told the Tacoma News Tribune. “He’s a veteran guy, he’s been around, he’s had a lot of success in the league and his career got a little sidetracked.”
“A little sidetracked.”
A torn lat muscle, torn hamstring, torn UCL, Tommy John surgery, and nerve transposition surgery to return feeling to his fingers following the previous surgery.
Yeah, that’s a bit of a detour, Scott.
On September 16, 2015 Cook threw a single inning for the Red Sox at Camden Yards, where he gave up a single to Paul Janish and a walk to (appropriately) Christian Walker in the final inning of a 10-1 blowout. Walker is now a backup first baseman, recently called up to the Diamondbacks, while Janish is an assistant coach at Rice University. Baseball isn’t always kind.
973 days after that game against the Orioles Ryan Cook struck out José Iglesias on four pitches, then retired the next three hitters he faced (hitting 96 on his fourseamer with a consistency he hadn’t shown since 2014) . Two years is a long time to wait, to throw just 15 pitches, but it was worth it.