'I Need a Miracle Every Day': Jake Peavy Picks Up Pieces of a Shattered Life

"My friends, people around the league…I've had so many reach out and offer support in all kinds of ways," he says. "I don't know if it's a pride thing or what, but I'm so reluctant in a lot of ways to even take somebody's ear when times are bad. "It's not a fun thing to talk about or to put on anybody else's plate. It's my burden to carry. I went dark the past couple of years to get back to where we are today: full-steam ahead."

Miguel Sano Overcame Death of Child, Suicidal Thoughts to Reach MLB Superstardom

But the very best thing this summer is found in Sano's own nest, where bright smiles have replaced anguish and tears, where son Dylan Miguel, just 10 months old, is living proof of the gifts each new sunrise can deliver. You see, it was bad enough in the spring of 2014 when Sano's elbow popped as he was throwing from third base, making him the rare position player to lose a season to Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. But early that December his first child, Angelica, died of a heart defect one week after her birth in the Dominican Republic.

Charlie Blackmon's Trash 2004 Jeep Just One Layer of MLB's Quirkiest Superstar

Charles Cobb Blackmon, 31, Rockies leadoff man, hitting savant and all-around goofball, sees things that others do not. His mind works in ways that others do not. He knows this. "Yeah, I do some weird stuff," he says. This is not breaking news to any of his Colorado Rockies teammates. "He's not being funny," outfielder Carlos Gonzalez says. "He's just being Charlie. That's just the way he is. He's a great player and a great teammate."

Who's Your Daddy? Pedro Martinez Jr. Making Own Fame as Teen Hitting Star

Who can be patient at 16? A slugging third baseman in the International Prospect League in the Dominican Republic, Martinez Jr. has been playing baseball since he took his first steps. He drinks it in as if the game is liquid and he is the thirstiest man on earth. And still, he cannot get enough. He catapults from one drill to the next as if all of this hustle and bustle will bring tomorrow today.

Kung Fu Panda's Last Stand

It is shortly after noon, field work done, weight room on deck, when Sandoval stops for a short break and considers the question: In a season full of them, what was your lowest moment last year? The absolute worst point? The big smile disappears from his face. The light melts out of his eyes. “Everything,” he says. “Every moment.” It is not easy to climb inside the mind of the Panda. His factory settings are more instigation than introspection. He is two-parts mirth, one-part myth. Generally, Panda doesn’t ponder.

Jose Fernandez's Joy, Passion Create Lasting Memories on Tragic Day

This is American Dream stuff—the best of our cultural melting pot, the part where it was supposed to be smooth sailing for Fernandez from here on out. Instead, a young life was extinguished far too soon. And at the most exciting time of the baseball year, with just a week's worth of drama and cheers left before the calendar turns to October and the volume cranks even higher, the games have been interrupted, and we will pause for a wrenching moment of silence.

Near-Fatal Swing Haunts McCann but Made Accidental Victim an Inspiration

This story ends well, but it doesn't start that way. It begins with a baseball lifer in his first spring with the Atlanta Braves organization, standing on the top dugout step, leaning against the railing. He is jawing with several players early in the game. Outfielder Nate McLouth is on his right, the side closest to right field in Atlanta's first base dugout. Which is why the coach is glancing away from the plate at the exact split-second when the baseball comes calling. "I thought he was dead," Atlanta's Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox says. "I was in a booth upstairs, and I saw him go down and he wasn't moving. There was blood everywhere.
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