* Taylor Green (Comox Valley, BC) takes over for Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) at third base in the World Baseball Classic. .... ELSEWHERE .... Lawrie (Langley, BC) out, Italy upsets Mexico, Canada must win opener .... ALLAN SIMPSON -- Baseball America founder 25 years ahead of his time .... ALEXIS BRUDNICKI -- Axford in Canada gear for first time since 2003 .... JIM CAPLE -- WBC means baseball in any language .... GREGOR CHISHOLM -- Lawrie will miss three weeks .... J.J. COOPER -- Mexico has more pitching options than Canada .... JOHN LOTT -- Jays gave Loewen a place to stay in shape .... KEVIN MITCHELL -- Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) still chasing dream .... MARK SHELDON -- Lotzkar (Tsawwassen, BC) faces old mates .... TYLER HARPER -- Molleken, Mathieson return from Japan to pitch for Canada
By Bob Elliott
PHOENIX _ Doctors told Bill Green his wife Jacqueline would never, ever walk again in March of 1996.
Well, Jacqueline Green will walk into Chase Field wearing her Team Canada jersey and scarf this afternoon to watch son Taylor Green play third base for Team Canada.
Taylor takes over for injured Brett Lawrie in the opener of the World Baseball Classic against Italy.
Jacqueline, was fit, a runner and a school teacher when she visited her dentist in 1994.
Two years later Jacqueline had a stroke at age 40 and three surgeries later began the long road back.
It’s a remarkable story and it’s best to begin remarkable stories at the start.
“My wife went to the dentist in 1994,” said husband Bill Green from Comox Valley, B.C. while his wife was flying into Phoenix.
Jacqueline had complained about being tired. Tests were done. The only thing bothering her was a capped tooth which bled when she brushed her teeth.
“We went to Hawaii for Christmas and my wife felt tired,” said Bill. An appointment with a specialist was booked and a heart murmur was discovered.
Surgery was performed, doctors tracking the infection to her gum, below the capped tooth. The cap was removed.
Bill visited the hospital on Valentine’s Day. His wife was happy and healthy. Bill took nine-year-old Taylor to a Vancouver Grizzlies game.
And then he was paged over the loud speaker system.
“I’ll never forget it, that’s why I don’t want to go to GM Place,” said Bill.
Arriving at the hospital he found Jacqueline’s bed stripped down. Bill thought “she’s gone.“
Having visited my father at Sunnybrook once I can relate what an awful feeling that is ... only to find out that he had been moved.
Nurses told Bill that Jacqueline had had a stroke and was in intensive care.
Doctors performed a five-hour operation and Jacqueline was in a coma when they finished.
“They told us ‘either she makes it or doesn’t, but she’ll never speak or walk again,” said Bill. “Remember, this is Valentine’s Day.”
Taylor was brought in to say goodbye to his mom saw tubes coming out of her head and fainted.
The pressure increased on Jacqueline’s brain three days later. Kim Cattrall the “Sex and the City” star and Jacqueline’s maid of honour and close friend arrived for a visit.
The nurses asked Bill to sign a “do-not-resuscitate” order.
Both Bill and Cattrall said no way.
“Don’t ever pull the plug on this gal,” said Bill. “I told them she’s not going, she’s not dying, not as long as Taylor is on this earth -- he’s our miracle baby, we weren’t supposed to have kids.”
Four days later another five-hour operation was performed and the wait continued, as the surgery wasn not completely successful. Bill brought in a video of Taylor’s swim meets playing it continuously.
Roughly two months later, Jacqueline came out of the coma.
“Her right leg and right arm weren’t working, but her memory was outstanding,” said Bill.
Still another surgery was needed to fix the aortic valve, eaten away by a strain of bacteria that travelled from her mouth. One set of doctors said her heart couldn’t handle surgery, others said it had to be done.
Another five-hour hour surgery replaced two valves.
After months Jacqueline came home in a wheel chair and was then off to the G.F. Strong Rehab Centre in Vancouver.
“It was day by day, step by step,” said Bill and we can relate to that going through it with my father during rehab at Kingston General in 1970.
Now Jacqueline is an inspiration at home: singing in the community choir, swimming, volunteers twice a week at Puntledge Park Elementary School and president of Comox Valley Walk of Achievement honouring residents ... like Dr. Fred Leung, who advanced DNA research, Red Robinson, who booked the Beatles, curler Lindsay Sparkes and Olympians Patty Loverock, Tom Herschmiller to name a couple.
Jacqueline went to Taylor’s hockey and soccer games, swim meets, piano recitals, tennis matches and when he won the provincial chess title.
Plus visiting Taylor at Cypress College, then pro stops at Helena, Mont., West Virginia, Brevard County, Fla., Huntsville, Ala., Nashville and of course Miller Park for Taylor’s debut Aug. 31, 2011.
Bill went to the dugout before the game and the usher told him not go any farther. Bill explained how it was his son’s first game.
The usher replied “you’re Taylor Green’s father! They should have had him up months ago, go ahead. Word spread amongst fans seated near the dugout.
“Taylor took two steps out of the dugout when he pinch hit in the fifth and fans gave him a standing ovation, before his first at-bat,” said Bill. “I wish every father and mother could experience that.”
Green singled off Jake Westbrook.
“You know after Jacqueline’s stoke I thought ‘you’ll never feel joy again,’” said Bill, who told of being on the field after the Brewers eliminated the Arizona Diamondbacks to advance to the National League Championship Series.
“I saw Taylor come out of the dugout with a champagne bottle and a smile, I thought we’re back, it’s the stuff dreams are made of,” said Bill, who didn’t make the trip since he’s recovering from an emergency appendectomy.
When Taylor was in grade 10, playing for the Parksville Royals Adam Loewen of the Whalley Chiefs and Jeff Francis of the University of British Columbia were on the cover of Baseball America.
Before a Parksville-Whalley game Taylor asked Loewen to autograph the cover.
Now Taylor will be at third.
Loewen will be in left for Canada.
And proud Jacqueline will cheer for Taylor.