Courage, love and baseball can take you a long way.
For Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin, that journey will take him to the pitching mound at Wrigley Field on Friday night for Game 3 of the World Series to match up against the mighty Cubs and Kyle Hendricks.
“He has the biggest nuts on the team,” first baseman Mike Napoli said of Tomlin, who is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA this postseason, already having posted wins against the hard-hitting Red Sox and Blue Jays, utilizing his curveball to great success.
This start will be special for many reasons. Every young baseball player dreams of pitching in the World Series and this kid from Tyler, Texas, is no different.
But for Tomlin, this one is extra special because of what his father has gone through this summer.
In mid-August, Tomlin received word that his dad had fallen severely ill. Jerry Tomlin, 57, suffered from a rare condition called an arteriovenous malformation — a tangle of blood vessels on the spinal cord — that required emergency surgery.
Jerry, a working man his entire life, working two jobs daily, was paralyzed from the chest down because of the condition.
Such a tragedy has not shaken Josh Tomlin’s faith or resolve. Through it all, he has seen the good in people.
“The community came together to help him,’’ Josh said. “Some of my dad’s best friends are plumbers and construction workers and stuff like that and they came over and did a bunch of stuff for him.”
Tomlin’s father will attend Friday night’s game; he was on a plane to Chicago on Thursday night.
“He texts me before every game to keep the ball down,’’ Tomlin said with a smile. “He understands I have a little bit of a home-run problem. He’s always been a positive influence in my life.
“He’s really looking forward to being [here], see the stadium, and more importantly watch a baseball game.”
“This has been one of the most difficult situations in my life, no doubt about it, but I’m employed by the Cleveland Indians to go out there and pitch. When I step between the lines, my job is to go out there and perform.”
No excuses. We can all learn from Josh Tomlin.
Tomlin, 32, went home for three days during the crisis. “Knowing he was in good hands, it was a relief off my shoulders,” he said.
“My mom and my dad have instilled a positive attitude in me my entire life, they are both very positive people, they are hard-working people, they’ve tried to earn everything they got. When this happened it wasn’t ‘Woe is me.’ It was ‘This is the hand I was dealt. I have to deal with it.’
“This puts a lot of things in perspective. Being a father myself, I understand the sacrifices he made for me. It was tough to see him cooped up in the hospital, he likes to be outdoors doing stuff. It was a tough transition for him, a transition for me. But I appreciate everything he has done for me.”
As for the game, Tomlin is never afraid to challenge a hitter. He pitches well on the road and does not figure to get rattled at Wrigley. He is also 6-for-12 as a hitter, another reason Terry Francona prefers to start him in Game 3.
“I enjoy hitting,” Tomlin said. “I enjoy being a ballplayer. The National League is fun, you get to impact both sides of the game.”
His dad can watch all aspects of his son playing the game.
“It’s going to be a good experience to know he is there,” Josh said. “To know that he is behind me, but once that game starts, it’s not going to be any different. It’s going to be trying to execute pitches and hopefully get the chance to celebrate with him afterwards with a ‘W,’ but win, lose or draw it’s going to be fun that he is a part of it and he gets to experience that game with me.”
Courage on display.
Indians’ Game 3 starter drawing true courage from paralyzed dad – New York Post