December 8, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Sunday, February 17, 2013
Today marks the 10th anniversary of a tragic event in baseball: a death. It was one of the worst kinds of deaths, one that happened to someone very young.
In an early spring training workout on Feb. 17, 2003, Steve Bechler, a 23-year-old pitching prospect with the Baltimore Orioles, shockingly died. The investigation into his death led the government to ban ephedra, a dietary product Bechler had been taking.
Bechler was a big man at 6-foot-2 and well over 200 pounds. Though Baseball-Reference lists him at 205 pounds, he was considerably heavier than that at the time of his death. Wikipedia lists him at north of 300 pounds when he died. Entering camp needing to lose weight, Bechler did several things that ultimately led to his untimely demise.
He apparently hadn’t eaten much in the previous few days to shed some pounds. He worked out very hard, as well. And against the advise of his trainer, he took some ephedra. A worst-case scenario then played out.
Though it was just February, it was a Florida February, and thus was warm and muggy. Bechler wasn’t from the region and wasn’t used to that weather—certainly not at that time of the year.
He pushed himself too hard in those early workouts, and his body temperature started to rise. The chemicals running through him began going goofy. Belcher collapsed. When doctors got to him, he had a body temperature of 108 degrees. His blood was cooking his innards, and multiple organs failed. He died that day.
Who knows what his career might’ve been if he hadn’t died? He made the majors for a cup of coffee in 2002 but hadn’t had much success. But he was young, and it was just a cup of coffee.
However, baseball is just a game, and this was death. The real tragedy wasn’t a lost career, it was a life ended young. Bechler was young, married, and his wife was expecting when he died. That’s the tragedy.
In response to Bechler’s death and other, similar concerns, the government banned dietary substances with ephedra. But Bechler was gone, and he departed 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the best ones in bold if you’d rather skim.
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