Over the last week or so, several people have hit me up on Twitter asking me to help promote OneAtBat.com, a social campaign to get the Chicago Cubs to sign Adam Greenberg and give him a chance to hit in the big leagues in September. The story is certainly moving. You may remember that Greenberg got hit in the head on the first pitch of his Major League career, but may not know that it effectively ended his shot at a big league career.
Since the 2005 season, Greenberg has bounced around between a few different Double-A clubs and more recently independent league baseball, and now 30-years-old, he’s not likely to have any kind of career rebirth that leads to a sustained chance with a Major League team. So, Matt Liston has decided to use social pressure and the promise of good PR to try and get the Cubs to give Greenberg the at-bat they tried to give him back in 2005, before Valerio de los Santos‘ wild pitch turned a dream into a nightmare.
It’s a pretty fascinating social experiment. Greenberg’s not the first guy to have his big league dreams cut short due to something beyond their control, and he’s certainly not the only guy playing in independent ball who would love to get an at-bat in the big leagues just so he can say he finally got to experience what it was like. If Major League teams operated like Extreme Makeover: Baseball Edition, granting wishes to those with touching backstories, we’d have a never-ending parade of at-bats being handed out because “it’s the right thing to do.” From a pandora’s box point of view, I can understand a team’s reticence to open up a spot on the 40 man roster and go through all the machinations involved with adding a new player in order to give Greenberg his chance at redemption.
That said, I’m still hoping the Cubs play along. If there’s room on a big league roster for Roger Clemens simply because he wants to delay his HOF eligibility in hopes of increasing his chances of getting inducted later on — and let’s call a spade and spade and note that this is likely the motivation behind his “comeback” — then we should all admit that a roster spot for one game in September for a team out of the playoff race isn’t so sacrosanct that it can’t be spared for Greenberg.
The schedule actually works out perfectly as well, as the Cubs close the season at home against the Astros. There will be no questions of whether giving Greenberg an at-at in a Houston-Chicago match-up in game 162 is influencing a playoff race, or endangering the legitimacy of an outcome that anyone cares about. Let Greenberg lead-off the game and get a standing ovation, and with any luck, he’ll even get a chance to run the bases. It’d be a good story. It’d be fun to watch. I hope it happens.