LADY AT THE BAT: Donnie Moore: Motivational Speaker AND Suicidal Pitcher

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Donnie Moore: Motivational Speaker AND Suicidal Pitcher

Spring Training seems to be moving right along for the Yankees. Aside from the scare about David Robertson's injury and a small amount of worry about Michael Pineda's velocity, there hasn't been much to pay attention to down in Tampa this month. I have heard that Spring Training, as a rule, is pretty boring. That is probably one of the top reasons Joe Girardi brought in this year's motivational speaker, Donnie Moore.

Donnie Moore: Motivational Speaker.  If you've been following baseball as long as I have you probably will agree with me when I say that the phrase "Donnie Moore: Motivational Speaker" is somewhat of an oxymoron. Girardi's Donnie Moore comes from Radical Reality, an evangelical ministry, and is the chaplain for the Oakland Athletics. He preaches that people can do anything they want to do, including rolling up a frying pan to look like a burrito. In short, they have control of their lives.

But there was once another Donnie Moore, who was also based in California. He was a pitcher for the California Angels who, in 1986, were one strike away from winning the AL pennant. Only they didn't win it, because Moore, a relief pitcher, couldn't get that third strike. Instead, he gave up a 2-run home run to Dave Henderson of the Red Sox, who went on to face the Mets in the World Series. Moore was never the same. He became the complete opposite of a motivational speaker. He lost control of his life, falling into a deep depression and eventually taking his own life.

As I read about the motivational speaker who visited the Yankees this week, I couldn't help but reflect on the irony of the situation. Could today's Donnie Moore have helped that insecure pitcher whose life went downhill after that pitch to Dave Henderson? Maybe. Maybe not.

It's too bad they never met.

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