Death takes time to comprehend, and accept. Sometimes, the game doesn't allow for that. For several players this week, that has come to a head after the death of the Cardinals' Oscar Taveras in a car accident on Sunday.
While news was breaking of the death, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants were preparing to play a World Series game.
Several of the Royals and Giants, including Juan Perez, were good friends with Taveras. Perez was apparently so close to Taveras that he phone was flooded with text messages about the accident, including a graphic image of Taveras' body at the morgue to confirm any disbelief.
Then, the game went on.
Perez, a Giants pinch-hitter, did what he does. After sitting in the clubhouse crying and later sitting on the team's bench and crying, he picked up a bat in the eighth inning to face Royals shutdown reliever Wade Davis.
But he didn't wilt. Instead, he whacked a hit off the outfield wall and tripled home a pair of runners.
- Royals crush Giants to force Game 7
- Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras dies in car crash
- Jose Canseco hospitalized after shooting himself
Perez wasn't alone in loss
On Tuesday, Taveras was buried in the Dominican Republic and thousands were there in attendance, including several of his Cardinals teammates and members of the team's front office.
"This is a huge loss for us and the Dominican Republic," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He was our weapon off the bench and we had plans for him next year. Even though he was only 22, he wasn't afraid of anything. He had a great heart, and this is a tragedy for us."
Then, in Game 6, Royals starter Yordano Ventura gave Taveras another tribute when he wrote “RIP O.T. #18” on the front of his cap.
Ventura then went out and pitched the Royals into Game 7.
Before the game, Ventura wrote on Twitter “All for you my brother. Wherever you are, I will always remember you, bro. You do not know the pain you left on my (heart)” according to a translation from the Kansas City Star.
Ventura then went out and threw seven scoreless innings in a win while leading the Royals to a dominant win to force the deciding Game 7.
It was a tribute. It was a memory. It was all for his friend, Oscar Taveras.
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