DINGERS FROM THE 6IX
by Quinn Sweetzir
Dear Roberto Osuna,
Even before the unfortunate circumstances of your current mental health were revealed to the world yesterday, you were a hero to all Blue Jays fans. You have accomplished so much in your short career that some individuals have elevated you into a status which can only be considered exceptional, and heroic. Whether it’s your 1.04 career playoff ERA, 75 career saves, or 4.4 fWAR in just 172.2 IP, the question becomes what more could we ask from a 22 year old who’s already been through so much adversity and challenges in his life?
What you’ve has managed to accomplish in his young career becomes increasingly impressive when you consider said adversity. You had to quit school as a 12 year old to help support your family. You worked all day and still found time to develop as a good enough pitcher to get signed for 1.5 million dollars as a 16 year old. You overcame a torn UCL and the Tommy John Surgery, a procedure with which many fail to ever truly put behind them. You made it to the big leagues despite having never previously pitched an inning above A ball, and you went on to strike out a man who finished his career with 696 career home runs in your first career appearance.
The list of things you’ve managed to accomplish as such a young player in baseball is lofty and exceptional, so much so that you’ve become a hero to Blue Jays fans everywhere despite having yet reach an age where you’d even be expected to appear in the majors, let alone contribute to such an extreme magnitude. And the fact that you’ve been able to do this in spite of the difficult mental circumstances which have possibly been a struggle for a longer time than we might think is a testament to how talented and unique a player you really are.
It is a legitimately amazing what you have accomplished in your short career, and yet it’s surprisingly easy to understand how and why you’re undergoing this unfortunate tragedy. As fans we have a tendency to forget that our favourite players are human, and that like all of us, have problems which go beyond their struggle on the mound and into the challenges of daily life.
As I consider the contexts of the life you’ve lived to this point, I’ll confess that I never really thought about the struggles you must still be going through to this day, even if you’ve managed to better your family's overall life by a particular material margin. I’ll also confess that I’d assumed all your problems were solved because of the wealth achieved as a result of making the big leagues.
In assuming your problems were solved as a result of better finances, I glossed over the realities of your real life circumstances. People like me only see the dominant closer, and forget about the fact that you’re a 22 year old human, living in a foreign country, where the languages spoken are foreign, under the watchful eye of thousands if not millions of Blue Jays fans ready to turn on you is a simple bloop single falls between 3 players. I personally apologize for forgetting this, and neglecting the actual realities of what you’ve gone through in your life, in your baseball career, and otherwise.
Despite the obvious impact anxiety has had on your life, some individuals continue to undermine the impacts of these suboptimal problems, by instead suggesting that these issues make you soft and weak. Those people are idiots. They don’t understand the struggle you’re going through, and the impacts it can have if not dealt with carefully. Ignore this hate, and remember that we respect and support you for what you’ve done, and how you’re responding to this catastrophe.
I would like to speak on everyone’s behalf, and applaud you for seeking the kind of mental support which is clearly necessary. Your individual well-being is far more important than than the success of the Blue Jays, and you are quite frankly encouraged to take as much time as you need to ensure your mental health is 100%. It’s more important than a win here or there.
Just like any other Blue Jays superfan, I respected you for your greatness on the mound and your incredible journey off it. You we’re already a hero to us all; but now, you’re much more than that. Your bravery in seeking help given the circumstances you’re in and the expectations everyone has of you demonstrates a character which no one could have picked up from solely watching you dominate day in day out on the mound.
Get well soon Roberto Osuna. You are a hero to me, and to the entirety of Blue Jays nation.
Quinn Sweetzir and Toronto Blue Jays fans everywhere.