You don't have to be a sports fan to appreciate what Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy did recently to honor Yordano Ventura, his 25-year-old teammate who died in a car accident in January.
Duffy wanted to do something for Ventura's mother. But what?
He set up an anonymous account on eBay and bid on Yordano Ventura memorabilia. This excellent story on Yahoo! Sports says Duffy wanted Ventura's mother to be able to look at a few things that captured her son at his finest to remind her about the impact her son made.
Duffy paid $100 for a bobblehead and had it sent to Kauffman Stadium (where the Royals play). The seller put two and two together and someone tweeted about it. Before long, Duffy's locker at Kauffman Stadium was filling up with limited-edition baseball cards of Ventura, handwritten notes, more bobbleheads, and so much more.
Over the years, I've interviewed Duffy a number of times. Once, I talked to him at length about his comeback from Tommy John surgery – asking him questions he's probably answered a hundred times before, but he still gave me introspective answers.
During another interview, he was in the minor leagues because a young up and coming pitcher named Yordano Ventura beat him out for the last pitching spot on the big league club. I asked him about that and here's what he said:
"I put a lot of pressure on myself this year coming in knowing I'm going to be competing with the best stuff on the planet in Ventura and the kid shoved in spring training. Hats off to him. I'm proud of him for how far he's come. So I came here just trying to have fun and to be a good teammate. I'm having a blast with these guys."
In all my years of covering sports, Duffy was one of a handful of guys I could always count on to tell me exactly he was thinking. When Duffy said he was proud of Ventura, I really believed him, even though Duffy was in the minor leagues as a result of Ventura.
Ventura is gone now and Duffy is finding ways to help Ventura's mother grieve. Grieving with others is a great way to live deeper. It not only lightens the load just a little, but it also creates a lifelong bond.
Here are this week's week's thoughts about slowing down and living deeper:
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