Sure, it’s easy to look at these guys on the field as just products.
Get out there, do your job, come back tomorrow for more of the same. Hey, we bought a ticket, let’s see you perform.
They’re getting paid millions of dollars to do what any of us would gladly do, so what could they possibly have to complain about?
But the story of former Ranger Drew Robinson is a reminder of just how human major league players really are.
Perhaps you remember Robinson. The Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Silverado High School in Las Vegas.
He worked his way up the system and made his major league debut in 2017, at the age of 25. He got into an early April game, was sent down, then came back up in June. In that first game back, he homered and doubled in four at-bats.
He was sent back down, came back in a few weeks, and homered again in his first game, again going 2-for-4.
Robinson seemed to have it all. Speed, power, defense, charisma, charm, that electric smile.
He played left. He played second. He played third. He played Major League Baseball.
But all the while, demons were playing in his head. Mental illness is a monster. Depression is an evil that invades a person’s brain and refuses to leave. Depression is a liar.
On April 16, 2020, depression convinced Drew Robinson he wasn’t worthy of living. So, he wrote a note to everyone he loved, made one last meal, grabbed a gun, and shot himself in the head.
Depression made him pull the trigger.
But something happened. He fell to the floor, a giant hole blown out of the side of his head, and somehow survived for more than twenty hours until he was able to call for help.
Somehow, Drew Robinson’s life was spared. He lost his right eye. But he regained his clarity.
Robinson’s story is told in an ESPN documentary entitled, “Alive, The Drew Robinson Story.”
It’s a story of how mental illness can grab ahold of someone and not let go. It’s a story of survival. Mostly, it’s a story of hope.
Weeks ago, the San Francisco Giants signed Robinson to a minor league contract. His mind is finally in the right place. He appreciates life and baseball and everything he has.
He is attempting to make a comeback. Without the demon. Without a right eye. But with a new lease on life.
Good luck, Drew. You’ve been to Hell. Maybe there is something wonderful on the other side.