October 7, 2012
Oakland A's Pat Neshek back after baby son dies
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
For every baseball player, making the preseason is a cause for joy and celebration.
Oakland A’s pitcher Pat Neshek had another reason to celebrate when his wife gave birth to Gehrig Tuesday, an eight pound, five ounce boy.
But all that changed less than a day later. Neshek’s son died 23 hours after he was born.
The Neshek’s don’t know the cause of death.
There was some question whether Neshek would be on the A’s 25-man post-season roster for the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers but Friday he was named to the roster.
Neshek said his wife Stephanee suggested they rejoin the team.
Not only was he part of the roster but he pitched in the first game.
A’s manager Bob Melvin brought Neshek in with two men on in the bottom of the seventh inning. Neshek got Omar Infante to hit into a fielder’s choice and struck out Austin Jackson.
As he walked off the mound, Neshek tapped the patch on his uniform and looked to the heavens. The patch bore the initials GJN for Gehrig John Neshek.
“(Friday) I said to get on the baseball field, you don’t really think about anything else but tonight, I was thinking about it,” Neshek said. “It sounds so cliché but I felt like I had someone looking down on me and helping me.
“My slider was as good as it’s ever been.”
Neshek talked about how it felt to know his team was going to wear a patch in memory of his son.
“I broke down the second I heard it,” he said. “I thought that was really, really special.”
His teammates are all amazed by Neshek’s strength.
“It was a borderline tearjerker, at least for me,” said A’s outfielder Jonny Gomes. “To see the passion he has to this team and this game. Speaks miles for him and as well his team and as well for Bob running him out there. He’s not just thinking he’s just happy to be back in uni, we need him to win.”
A’s outfielder Josh Reddick knew Neshek was feeling something different.
“We knew his little one was out on the mound with him,” Reddick said.
The story of what everyone was feeling for Neshek was summed up in the twitter world by baseball insider Buster Olney.
“Next time you think you can’t do something because life is too hard, remember what Pat Neshek did today and realize you don’t have it that bad,” Olney twittered.