The Delicacy of Forgiveness

Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

One of the reasons that I love the game of baseball is because it goes far beyond the grass and dirt of the diamond.

There is so much excitement that occurs between the chalk-lines. However, at its foundation, this is a human game that involves real, human experiences. Some of those experiences are inspiring and baseball loves to promote the feel-good stories. Some of those experiences are on the other end of the spectrum and cause emotions that can frankly be difficult to process. What I am certain of is that this game, this pastime, can help improve flaws that we find prevalent in our society.

There are going to be a lot of people who do not agree with this article. I understand that.

There also may be some people who appreciate the honesty and look in the mirror that I am going to attempt to convey.

Last week the best amateur pitcher in the country went undrafted in Major League Baseball’s draft. It wasn’t because of his athletic gift, which is definitely undeniable. It wasn’t because teams weren’t tempted to draft this young man who dominated the college ranks, many were regardless of their front. Instead, it was a mistake, a horrible, indefensible mistake that the young man made as a teenage boy.  Perhaps the best pitcher in the country without a professional contract is Luke Heimlich.

Heimlich spent his college career at Oregon State University where he pitched to a sub 1.00 ERA. It is also where a dark secret that was supposed to remain sealed was brought to light by a local newspaper.

Many of you already know the story, so instead of going into detail - here is the cliff notes version: At 15, Heimlich was accused of and plead guilty to molesting a six-year-old niece.  He maintains his innocence and somehow found a way to go out and have one of the best college careers ever.

I am not going to try and convince you to ignore what may or may not have been done. It is a terrible thing. What I am going to do is ask one question, what does it have to do with baseball?

It goes even further than that though. We are a country that was built on second chances, new beginnings. It appears that no one is willing to allow this young man to try and turn his life around. According to the courts, he has satisfied their requirements that were required as punishment for his actions. Yet, the one thing that Luke Heimlich appears to have been born to do is being kept away from him. Take a mound every fifth day and throw a baseball 60’6”.

Now is the time where we all need to look in the mirror.

We lie without giving it a second thought; we cheat to get ahead; we hurt those who care about us.
The one thing we always expect is the chance to try and make it right.

What if our flaws, our bad decisions, our mistakes kept us from being able to do the thing we were best at? What if our youthful stupidity (and yes I mean stupidity) caused others to refuse to allow us to feel true regret?

We have seen an alarming increase in people who obviously feel there is no hope and they take extreme actions. We appear to be tearing apart at the seams as a nation. What if we actually supported each other? What if we said, “you did something awful, but you can do something about it?" What if we helped each other make ourselves better and were willing to offer forgiveness?

This is a long rabbit hole that this site is not the perfect platform for.

However, like I said I love baseball, but I also believe in second chances. I am far from perfect and I hope that people never give up on me.

I asked the question, “What does what Luke Heimlich did in life have to do with baseball?”  He did not offend the game and yet I see players who use illegal and banned substances get 80 game suspensions and then return to the playing field. If we are going to withhold this game from a great talent, we should probably start with the ones who committed an offense against it in the first place.

We should realize that kids do dumb things, even if it involves an adult act. We should trust our legal system to handle societal wrongs and trust that the best talents are penciled in on a scorecard. We can hate the act and still want the best for the one who committed it.

Should Luke Heimlich be a professional baseball player? Yes.

Should he be allowed the opportunity to be put in a questionable situation? No.

And guess what, professional baseball teams have the means to ensure that is not the case. If there was no way he could find himself alone with a child would you be okay with it then? Because MLB teams can afford to have someone by his side and should be willing to do so.


Because we all want to see the best talents perform at the highest level.

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