Thursday, June 9, 2011

Johnathan Taylor and the Texas Rangers, class personified

To be truthful, I have no idea where to begin a post like this. I mean, just read these words:
Taylor, an outfielder from the University of Georgia, was a 33rd-round pick of the Texas Rangers, while Lamothe, a reliever from San Jacinto College, was the Houston Astros' 40th-round selection.
Taylor was left paralyzed from the chest down after he broke his neck in March during a game when he collided with teammate Zach Cone, the Rangers' supplemental-round pick Monday. Texas director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said the team's selection of Taylor was "something we felt was right."
"We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach's draft status," Fagg said. "Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player."
In a time when old guys like me begin to wonder if heart and passion even exist in pro sports these days, the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros help fallen players realize their lifelong dreams. Shame on me for doubting. I mean, just read Coach Perno's response:
"This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization," Georgia coach David Perno said. "J.T. is definitely a player worthy of getting drafted. He's been a big part of our program, and we are all very excited for him. When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted."
Truly happy for Johnathan and his family today. What a thrill. What a dream still realized even after a tragic accident a few months ago.

And a very special hat tip to the Rangers and the Astros (who also drafted a paralyzed player) for helping guys like me restore our faith in professional sports. And most of all helping players realize their dream of making the bigs!