Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oscar Taveras. R.I.P.

Yours truly wouldn't wish harm on anyone. Well, maybe those roto-callers leading up to an election, but haven't we all thought that way?

The death of Oscar Taveras is a tragedy, but no more so than the passing, by whatever causes, of most anybody else.

Should it matter that Taveras was a major league baseball player? The fact that he hit for a certain batting average, clubbed a key home run in a playoff series, and was thought to be the #3 overall best "prospect" in all of baseball as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals?

In the whole scheme of things, probably not. While Taveras was a gifted baseball player, his very existence on the planet was no more important than that of a desert nomad, or a homeless person finding shelter in a dumpster. A human life is a human life. They all count the same, or at least should.

Like any other "celebrity", Taveras' death made news. At the young age of 22, with such a promising future, his life was snuffed out. All due sympathies to his surviving kinfolk and friends.

But sometimes a dose of hard reality is in order. Turns out, while driving a Chevy Camaro on the freeway at a high speed in his native Dominican Republic, Taveras had a blood alcohol content over 5 times the legal limit. In other words, he was super-drunk. For whatever reason, he eventually crashed into a tree, killing not only himself, but his 18 year old girlfriend and passenger Edilia Arvelos. Whether or not she was drunk as well is unknown but irrelevant. She wasn't driving the car. Oscar was.

Sure, young men/women (yours truly included) do/did a lot of stupid things that might have turned out to be disastrous. But most times we look back and laugh at them. Lessons learned, and stories to be embellished upon in later years to the amusement of others.

Yet every once in a while, though tragic, whatever powers that be say at the time, "Nope. You messed up. There will be no second chance. Game over."

By most accounts, Oscar Taveras was a good guy. He certainly had a promising future in baseball. Countless riches awaited him. Sadly, he leaves a one year old son behind. Oscar Jr.

But roaring down the interstate with a 5 times the legal limit snootful of alcohol in one's system was a very bad idea. It cost Oscar his life, along with his girlfriend's, and who knows what will become of Junior? A sad tale indeed.

The moral of the story can be summed up as follows in the immortal words of Don McLean:

Bye bye Mr. American Pie. He tried to drive his Chevy to the levee, but he should have stayed dry.

And sure enough, that was the day he died.

Or something like that. Close enough.

Five times over the legal alcohol limit -- at high speed on a freeway? May he and his girlfriend rest in peace, and God bless them.

But this was no act of God, like a lightning strike. Oscar Taveras did something stupid and wound up paying with his life. There will be no amusing stories to tell later.

And that's just the way it goes sometimes.......

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