It could not have been easy for Reds third base coach Mark Berry to address the team on Sunday morning and announce that he has cancer. Unfortunately, though, that's what the circumstances dictated, and Berry handled the task with incredible strength and a positive tone as he stated he fully intends to defeat the disease and return to his post as quickly as possible.
Here's more from the Cincinnati Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans:
“I have cancer,” Berry told reporters after the team meeting. “I know it sounds bad, the word cancer, but there are plenty of people in this clubhouse that have had it and I know people around the game who have beaten it. My sister had it and beat it. That part hasn’t bothered me.”
The cancer is on his tonsil and two lymph nodes on the left side of his neck. PET scans show it has not spread anywhere else, according to doctors. Berry has yet to decide between surgery or radiation and will stay with the team in Arizona over the next week before returning to Cincinnati with the team on Saturday.
It's tough news to hear, but it sounds like Berry has a positive prognosis since the cancer was caught at an early stage and has not spread. He also has a great attitude, which is equally important in taking on and overcoming the new challenge in front of him. And, as he mentioned, he has a wonderful support system around him.
That includes manager Dusty Baker, who's a prostate cancer survivor.
"We just have to give him support," Baker said. "He's not looking for sympathy. We just have to support him as if he's one of our family, which he is. Mark is attacking it with aggressiveness and straightforward. ... This could happen to anybody in their family or our family here and you need support. I've been through it. Eric Davis has been through it and [head trainer] Paul Lessard has been through it."
Berry will have several people he can turn to when he needs a word of advice or encouragement. He also has the love and support of Reds fans and baseball fans who will be pulling for his recovery. We, too, would like to send along our best wishes to Berry and his family. We're hopeful to see him back on the field sooner rather than later.
[Editor's note: An earlier version of this post misidentified Berry as Chris Speier.]