Monday, July 23, 2007

Emotional spectrum covered

Monday was an emotional day in the baseball world.

It started with news of the death of Mike Coolbaugh, a 35-year-old first base coach in Double-A Tulsa. Coolbaugh was hit in the head by a line drive during Sunday night's game in Arkansas and died en route to the hospital.

Coolbaugh was a husband and father of two sons, ages 5 and 3. Part of the reason he took the job was because his kids liked seeing their dad in uniform.

Coolbaugh played at Fair Grounds Field with Tulsa in the mid-1990s. His brother, Scott, a former major league third baseman, played here with El Paso in the late 1990s. The Coolbaughs are a baseball family through and through and it's a shame that a baseball took Mike Coolbaugh from his family.

On the other end of the emotional gamut was the return of Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester to the big leagues. Lester won seven games as a rookie for Boston in 2006 before finding out last summer he had a treatable form of lymphoma.

Less than a year later, Lester was back on a big league mound, holding a powerful Cleveland offense to two runs in six innings to earn the victory in his 2007 debut.

For the Coolbaughs and Lesters -- and for some fans -- it was a day of tears. Some were of pain and loss, some were of joy and hope.


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