Roars from the crowd filled Miami's Marlins Park Tuesday night, all for Adam Greenberg, not because he's a professional baseball player, but because he is proof that second chances really do happen.
Greenberg, the ballplayer whose first major league at-bat for the Chicago Cubs in 2005 ended with his being hit in the head with a 92-mph fastball, got another chance to fulfill his dream Tuesday night, and received a standing ovation in the process.
It took Greenberg seven years to work his way back up from the minors to get his second big league at-bat, as a pinch hitter. It was ultimately a small moment for the team, but for the 31-year-old, it was his real-life field of dreams, which was stripped away from him years ago.
Greenberg could have given up after that single plate appearance with the Chicago Cubs, when he suffered a mild concussion and was removed from the game. But he said he'd soldier on.
"I'm not going to be a 15 minute of fame," he said in a 2007 ESPN interview. "You know, one-pitch guy in the major leagues. I am going to get back into the big leagues."
Greenberg, however, went on to toil in the minor leagues, playing for the Jacksonville Suns and other Double-A minor league teams.
His fans even launched an online campaign to get him just one more shot, even coming up with the phrase, "One at-bat for Greenie."
It eventually paid off, and the Florida Marlins agreed to sign Greenberg for a one-day, one-at-bat contract for $2,623, all of which will be donated to research brain trauma in athletes, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"This is the start of hopefully my career in this game that I wanted as a kid," he said in a pre-game interview.
Greenberg didn't want any softballs lobbed his way during his first major league game in seven years. What he wanted was a real second chance. And he got it Tuesday night, stepping to the plate as Aerosmith's "Dream On" filled the stadium.
His at-bat, in which he faced Mets knuckler R.A. Dickey, lasted about 30 seconds: three pitches, two swings and, eventually, a strike-out. But it was worth it for one giant smile.
"It was magical," Greenberg told ESPN. "The energy in the stadium was something I never experienced, and I don't know if I will ever experience it again. You could just feel the genuine support. It was awesome."Also Read