Adam Greenberg finally received his one at-bat at Marlins Park on Tuesday night and it ended like we thought it might.
The 31-year-old Marlin for a day was tabbed for a pinch-hit opportunity to lead off Miami's half of the sixth inning and he struck out on three pitches against New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. All three pitches were knuckleballs with Greenberg taking the first and swinging at the last two. Greenberg's career line now reads: 2 PA, 1 AB, 1K, 1 HBP for a slash line of .000/.500/.000 that was four pitches and seven years in the making.
Still, it was the moment that Greenberg had strived for ever since July 9, 2005, when he stepped to the plate as a newly minted member of the Chicago Cubs. That plate appearance ended after just one pitch when a Florida Marlins pitcher drilled him in the helmet. A host of concussion-related problems followed and Greenberg never returned to the major leagues despite tours through the farm systems of several organizations.
Well, at least not until Tuesday night after a grass-roots movement led by filmmaker Matt Liston improbably led to the Marlins giving Greenberg one more chance with the team that had effectively ended his dream.
Considering that Dickey is a Cy Young contender and that his knuckler was arguably the majors' best pitch, it was far from a huge embarrassment. Dickey has issued 44 other three-pitch strikeouts this season, all against batters whose last big-league experience occurred a lot more recently than seven years ago. A guy by the name of Bryce Harper was the victim of a three-pitch Dickey knockout on three different occasions this season.
Greenberg walked to the at-bat with Aerosmith's "Dream On" blaring over the loudspeakers and he soon walked back to the dugout with a big smile on his face. He received loud cheers from the poster-waving fans and exchanged fist bumps from Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and catcher Rob Brantly before manager Ozzie Guillen pulled him aside for a few words of his own.
His long journey had finally come to an end.
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