The winger from Sacramento, a minor league team affiliated with the Giants, shot himself in the head in April 2020, overwhelmed by depression. Now he’s back to playing
Depression. A word. Four syllables that hide a world of pain. An abyss, a hell, from which many, too many, do not return. It is also the fault of the stigmata too often associated with what has become the disease of the century, but yet it still carries with it an annoying aura of guilt associated with those who suffer from it. This is what Drew Robinson, 29, winger of the Sacramento River Cats, the San Francisco Giants Triple A (minor leagues) team, must have thought, on the evening of April 16, 2020, when he took a revolver and aimed it at his head, pressing the trigger.
He was defeated. At least so he processed his wounded mind. The bullet did not kill him but cost him his right eye. His life did not end, but his career as a baseball player did. Unthinkable to hypothesize to be able to hit a ball launched at more than 160 km / h with one eye. Who has two, the best, fail 7 times out of 10. Fast forward to April 12, 2021. Las Vegas Ballpark, just over 3 km from the apartment where Robinson had decided to end it a year earlier. It’s 6.40 am, Drew arrives at the ballpark earlier than everyone else, as always. On the other hand, at 29 and with only one eye, he feels the duty – indeed – the need to work twice as much as the others. And to lead by example, to remind young people that being there is a privilege, that nothing is given to you but that you have to earn it.
“Baseball has always taught me a lot, even if I never noticed,” said Drew, a past in the majors with Texas and St. Louis, without ever breaking through, between 2017 and 2019. The day of the outside leans on solid foundations, a routine that calms him down: wake up before dawn, a bottle of water and a healthy green drink, meditation, reading the newspapers and an episode of “Friends” on TV, before playing a little with his dog Ellie. Going back to the diamond was a success in itself. It was also the first thing he had thought of before going under the knife that tragic April 16th. Getting back to being competitive to the point of being a team is a dream. Which took place on April 27, after two home runs hit in a friendly match. Giants youth manager Kyle Haines takes Drew aside during batting practice and gives him the good news: he made the team, he will start the season in Sacramento, in Triple A. It doesn’t seem real to him. You have to hold back in order not to hug him in front of everyone.
It’s May 6th, the River Cats open the season in Las Vegas. The speaker announces the lineup to the speaker. When he pronounces “Drew Robinson”, a standing ovation ensues. Tears stream down Drew’s face. “Who cut the onions?” jokes with his companions. After the initial 0/9 to the pot, in the last challenge with Vegas, the first home run arrives. Rival pitcher Matt Milburn throws a tip into the middle of the pot. Robinson deposits her in the bullpen of rivals. Dad Darryl runs to retrieve the ball. It’s the end of a nightmare. Or the beginning of a second life. “There will still be dark moments – says Drew – But now I know I can do it”. You can return from hell. Even with only one eye.
May 13, 2021 (change May 13, 2021 | 14:25)
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Robinson, one-eyed home run after suicide attempt