By Melissa Verge
Canadian Baseball Network
CARBERRY, Man. - July 9th, 2005.
It’s been almost 12 years since then, but for Adam Greenberg the details of the day are still clear.
He is in Miami Gardens having an omelet for breakfast wearing jeans and a collared shirt.
It’s the day of his MLB debut, and the 24-year-old has a lot to smile about. He’s made it, he’s going to Dolphins stadium later to play in his first ever MLB game.
“It was a dark gloomy day, but it was the most beautiful day I have ever experienced in my life,” he says. "It would have been like the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.”
He didn’t start the game for the Cubs, but he was called in to pinch hit in the 9th inning. “Dusty Baker told me to 'Go get em kid,' and then I was at home plate,” says Greenberg. “I was officially an MLB player.”
Greenberg had an aggressive approach, he wanted to get the first best pitch he saw and drive it. Unfortunately, that pitch ended up coming right at his head.
He remembers thinking, “Don’t bail and get out of there in case it is a curveball, where I look stupid if the ball breaks back over the plate for a strike.” By the time he processed that it wasn’t going to break, it was too late to get out of the way.
The pitch caught him under the helmet. In an instant Greenberg’s goal went from helping his team win to staying alive. “I grabbed my head pulling it together, because it felt like it split open,” he says. "My eyes rolled in the back of my head, and I just kept repeating to myself 'Stay alive, stay alive.'"
“It was quite interesting having the greatest experience of my life kind of match at that time in my life the worst thing that could have possibly happened in that instance,” he says.
After all his hard work to make it to the show, an experience most people aren’t talented enough to have, it was over.
One pitch, one nasty twist of fate, and the dream was again nothing more than a dream.
But Greenberg had an anything is possible mentality, and despite dealing with a concussion and post concussion symptoms for years, he continued to work hard to make it back to the point he was at before he got hit in the head, something he attributes in part to human nature.
“We all have the ability to kind of get up and push forward and persevere, otherwise we wouldn’t be a civilization. I worked at it, I had a goal and a vision, and when I would get knocked down I had to work at pulling myself up,” he says.
The hard work paid off, seven years after his MLB debut, Greenberg took the field for a “one last at bat” with the Miami Marlins. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract, and he once again took the field as an MLB player. He says the experience was very different from that of his MLB debut.
“The at bat that I had with the Cubs obviously that was the start of my career, that was I’m here to stay, I’m here for helping the team win, and a part of this team, a part of the organization, and that was what I was going to do for at least the next 10 to 15 years of my life,” he says.
His “one last at bat” with the Marlins was filled with a lot more uncertainty, and Greenberg made sure to savour the moment.
“I didn’t know if I would ever experience it again so I wanted to cherish it, as simple as stepping out of the batters box before the first pitch," he says. “The stadium was erupting in applause and standing ovation. I literally stepped out of the batters box just to soak it in.”
Since that at bat in 2012, Greenberg has turned his experience into writing. He recently published a motivational book, directed at baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike called “Get Up: The Art of Perseverance.”
He says he felt destined to write the book based on his set of circumstances, a book he hopes will impact peoples lives in a positive way. He hopes to get the book into the hands of every division 1, 2, and 3, college baseball team, but the book is also a motivational guide for anyone going through an obstacle in their life.
Greenberg says that just hearing the words that he’s a published author gives him goosebumps. He plans on writing more books in the future. As well, the former MLB player says there is 100% certainty that he will remain involved with baseball.
“In all seriousness, I have too much knowledge and information, I’ve gone through too much stuff [to not be involved].”