Promotional giveaways are fickle things. If I wanted to cut straight to your heart, I’d name Night Court as the quintessential example. Will the player they honor be on the roster? Hurt? Cut? Bad? Entertainingly, this weekend the Mariners honored James Paxton on Felix Hernandez night, and then gave away a Félix bobblehead on James Paxton night. I’m sure James and the King played nice about it. Sometimes, though, you give away Jean Segura wristbands at juuuuuuust the right moment.
Everything about yesterday was just the right moment.
The Hanigura trade (TM Ben Thoen) was interesting as soon as it went down, but without the full context, most of us looked at it and saw an interesting but clearly flawed shortstop coming to Seattle. Two replacement level seasons out of four? Yikes. Quite a gamble, Jerry. In time, we all learned more; that Jean had lost his first son Janniel in July of 2014; that our own second baseman had helped him process the loss and regain stability in his life; that this was why, Jean said, he had been able to come back and play well in 2016. Now Jean is there for Robbie.
There are some things that make baseball shrink and cower from your field of vision; imagining the Mariners’ ebullient shortstop sobbing in the clubhouse, having missed the final days of his son’s life while playing a child’s game thousands of miles away, leaves one thinking a win, even a walkoff win, is a pale and useless thing. Even so, for reasons far beyond baseball, we can rejoice in yesterday, because Jean Segura made it all the way back; a piece of him died, but all of him now lives.
Jean’s time in Seattle has been a gift in the truest sense of the word for Jean and for us. Beyond home runs, beyond goofy reaction gifs, we’re lucky enough to witness his recovery each day. Losing your son at any age is incomprehensible; to lose your son at 24 seems the sort of thing to push you past the possibility of return. Everyone encounters, or will encounter, true, deep, soul-pounding grief in their lives; to see someone who stared so directly into the face of that grief and came back to show us the complete and totally unadulterated joy and love to be found in life, and especially in a child’s game, is truly beautiful.
I just think I know what he’s looking at, is all.