"We're all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children's game, we just don't know when that's gonna be. Some of us are told at eighteen, some of us are told at forty. But we're all told."
That's a brilliant line from Moneyball, because it's not really just about baseball. In life we're given things when we're young, things are taken from us when we're old, and it comes as a rude surprise when control is taken from us; when decisions are made at our expense.
It doesn't have to be sad, although the implications can be and there's certainly an inevitability about it. So in some sense it's unexpected when a successful young athlete chooses to retire, or chooses to walk away from a charmed life. That's exactly what 24-year old left-hander Mat Batts has chosen to do.
You can read Batts' editorial, which he submitted on Monday, and see for yourself. The 24-year old, left-handed Batts - which he will no longer be titled since that's rarely how people are addressed outside of baseball - realizes there's more to life, and more to himself, than the game.
What makes this minor leaguer's retirement noteworthy is partially that he chose to retire instead of having retirement chosen for him, but mostly it's that he was a pretty good pitcher. As a 17th-round selection in 2014, he's given the Twins 202 minor league innings of 2.36 ERA baseball. He could get a strikeout, recording 196 of them, and his control and ground ball tendencies made him a promising player to follow. If he doesn't return to baseball, Batt's stat line will forever be frozen in history:
Congratulations to Batts on making what was undoubtedly a difficult decision. As he notes, his decision "was met with more than a few raised eyebrows," and no doubt it was more than that. Credit to his character for following through on what would make him happy, because nowhere is it written that the fortune of playing baseball for a living is the best way to be happy for anyone good and lucky enough to be given the opportunity. We should all be strong enough to make similar, difficult decisions in our lives.
Good luck with The Dispatch, Mat, and congratulations to you and your new wife.