Tucked into social media amongst all the highlight catches, the box scores, the crazy walk off wins, the videos of mammoth home runs was an Instagram post I read and re-read about 10 times. I read it so many times because every time I read it, it meant more and more to me and I gained more and more respect for its author. The author, Kyle Denis (who follows me on Instagram) is a Warwick native, Pilgrim High School graduate, and recent UMass-Dartmouth student athlete and had just played his last collegiate baseball game, a loss against powerhouse Eastern Connecticut State in the Little East Conference Championship game. In his last baseball game, Denis had one plate appearance and walked. According to the UMass-Dartmouth’s baseball page displaying the box score, the game was over at around 2:32 on Saturday. Denis’ post was just before 5:30pm that same night. A few hours to collect his thoughts and post them, eloquently I might add, on his Instagram page. To me, it defines the baseball reality many, many of us come to realize at some point in our lives – post Little League, maybe after high school, perhaps after a run in college, heck even after a professional career. The reality – today I am playing my last baseball game.
With all due respect to all the scores, the wins, the bat flips, the hype of the weekend baseball activity, this morning I would like to share Kyle’s tribute to baseball in his words and the accompanying photos from his post. Included are some of the comments he received since posting on Saturday:
“Well said. Those memories will last for ever.”
“Great job kid am glad to say I was able to coach against you for many years and then finally able to coach you too in Babe Ruth and all stars good luck too you in your next journey”
“Love you bro, thank you for being an amazing teammate every day to each and every one of us. One of the nicest kids I’ve met, best of luck on your future endeavors”
“Always gonna be remembered as a great teammate, you’re the man”
“Beast, congratulations on a great career bro! Best of luck on your next chapter in your life!”
“It was a pleasure to be a part of your journey bro. Best of luck in the future. Thanks for everything”
“Thank you for being an amazing teammate KD. It’s been an honor playing with you”
“What journey Denis. Your represented your state well. This chapter is closing but the next one is on deck. I know you are going knock life out the park. Make sure take that amazing work ethic with you.”
“it was a pleasure to share the field with you , thank you for setting an example and being an amazing teammate. gonna miss you, much love diesel”
Great kid, great teammate, pleasure to coach you, pleasure to share the field with you, you represented your state well. Wow, what a tribute to Kyle and his amazing character on and off the field. Congrats Kyle Denis on an incredible baseball journey and my hope is that your baseball career takes on a new role in your years to come. I think everyone will agree that the youth sports athletes of Rhode Island (or wherever you land) could use a mentor who understands sportsmanship, leadership, and how to CRUSH a baseball. Good luck Kyle and thank you for sharing such an incredible post!