The Price of Oscar Taveras

“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the

connections -sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but

often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I  began to

see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it.  The

events that my death wrought were merely the bones  of a body that

would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future.  The

price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.”

Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

I came late to the party with this post.  Many beautiful words have been written about the tragic death of Oscar Taveras in an automobile accident in his home country of the Dominican Republic yesterday.  I do not attempt to replicate what has already been spoken.  I mourn along with the rest of baseball for Oscar and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, for their families and friends, for the teammates, coaches, manager and all who are in the Cardinal organization whom Oscar left behind.  I grieve for the dream of what Oscar Taveras might have been.

I instead look to what is to come.  To the lovely bones that will grow around his absence.  As Cardinal Nation and the baseball world move forward, how will Oscar’s absence affect us all?

I spent yesterday dealing with a different death on a personal level.  My mother passed away four days ago, and as I sat and listened to the pastor who spoke at her funeral, it occurred to me that the rituals that we engage in when a loved one passes away are really intended for the living.  It is the living who remain that must take the memories and the experiences with the deceased loved one and create the life moving forward.  We create the body that will become whole from the events that occur after death.  That body that we create is the price of the life that left us.

As it relates to the Cardinals, I ask this question:  What body will Oscar’s teammates, coaches and his manager create from what Oscar gave to them in his brief life?  What is the price of Oscar Taveras?  Perhaps the answer will become known to us at some time in the future.  Will there be changes that we can visibly see?  If so, what will those changes be?

As fans we mourn for what we will never see.  The promise that is left unfulfilled.  Most of us never knew Oscar on a personal level, but we can draw from the memories and experiences we took away from our enjoyment of his baseball play to create the body that will become the price of his life.  How we interact with each other can be the foundation of that body we create.  Being more appreciative and less judgmental of those players and staff left behind can be a building block as well.  That doesn’t mean we can’t be critical or have opinions that differ.  Accepting that there is value in those criticisms and differences of opinion can go a long way in creating a body that is foundationally strong.  The price of Oscar’s life must be a better understanding of what it means to be a fan.  An understanding that fandom is not a cookie cutter; that our individual values and viewpoints should not be projected onto others as a marker of a “true fan”.  Oscar was a unique individual who loved life, and baseball, and brought his own experiences into how he played the game.  There is room for differences and we must accept those differences as we move forward.  Baseball and baseball fandom is not and must not be monolithic.

What is the price of Oscar Taveras?  I surely hope it is a fortune of understanding.

Thank you for reading.

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1 Comment

  1. baseballmania

     /  October 27, 2014

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother.
    Being a good friend of the parents of Nick Adenhart, I can tell you that the team will heal after this has passed. Not so quickly for the immediate family but for the team once they come together.
    I always tell people that a team is just like a family. These guys have so much personal stuff on their plates we dont know about but we tend to be critical when they do not perform as we think they should. I was touched about the story of Mike Moustakas’ s mom. There are so many stories we dont know about.
    I know people who played with Oscar. I have been critical of him at times. I am not sorry for that but I am sorry that he will not be around to show us what type of player he would someday possibly become.
    Again my condolences to you and your family for the loss of your mom and Cardinal Nation for the loss of Oscar Traveras.



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