Sunday, May 2, 2010

This story on Backe will pull on your heartstrings

The Galveston Daily News' Evan Mohl has a touching story on Brandon Backe, and what his life has been like since the Astros released him last June.

After not having thrown a baseball in ten months, Backe is still weighing his options:

“I guess I felt I wasn’t done with the game,”


His shoulder surgery failed last summer. He refused to discuss the details or even the specifics of the injury for fear it might hurt his chances of a return with other teams.

Whatever the problem, it wasn’t fixed. In fact, it made life worse.

Seven months after the surgery, Backe still couldn’t lift his throwing arm above his shoulder. He struggled to sleep at night because of the pain and discomfort. At the same time, Backe had minor knee surgery, hoping to fix two problems at once. Instead, he sat sedentary, unable to lift his arm and walk around on his legs.

“My quality of life was awful,” Backe said.

Mohl says that Backe had another shoulder surgery ten weeks ago, but he doesn't know if he'll ever get another opportunity:

The harrowing reality and current prognosis pain Backe. He has not known life without a game of catch. He has spent the majority of his years reaching back behind his ear, dialing up a 90-mph fastball.

When spring training passed this year, Backe tried to think of the last time he spent a March not in a baseball uniform. He couldn’t remember. Maybe age 4...

...Backe recalls his good friend Jeff Bagwell’s situation a few years back. The future Hall of Famer had nothing left to prove yet he kept fighting for one more season, one more game, one more at-bat.

Backe understands the desire. The pain. The indecision. The inability to give up and quit.

“I miss baseball,” he said. “There’s a hole right now. Hopefully, I can solve it by playing, but maybe it’ll be something else. I just don’t know at this point.”

Read Backe's Five Greatest Games, as decided by Astros County.