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- Mike Matheny says Oscar Taveras’ death is “like a bad dream.”
- Taveras died in a car crash on Oct. 26.
- Matheny went to the Dominican Republic on Oct. 27 to console Taveras’ family.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny issued a statement on the death of Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras on Oct. 27. He said Taveras’ passing “felt like a bad dream.” Taveras and his girlfriend perished in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday.
“I was asked last night to give some words regarding the tragic death of Oscar Taveras, but I simply couldn’t.
“First of all, it felt like a bad dream that could not be real, and when reality kicked in, my words didn’t even seem to make sense. To say this is a horrible loss of a life ended too soon would be an understatement. To talk about the potential of his abilities seemed to be untimely. All I wanted to do was get the guys together and be with our baseball family. I know that hurt that comes along with buying into the brotherhood of a baseball team.
“That hurt is just as powerful as the joys that come with this life. Not to say it is even close to the depth of pain his true family is going through, but the pain itself is just as real. The ache is deep because the relationships were deep, and forged through time and trials.
“To the many fans who have already reached out with condolences, and to the many more who are in mouring, thank you for taking these players in, like they are one of your own. This level of care is what sets our fans apart.
“In my opinion, the word ‘love’ is the most misused, and misunderstood word in the English language. It is not popular for men to use this word, and even less popular for athletes. But, there is not a more accurate word for how a group of men share a deep and genuine concern for each other. We loved Oscar, and he loved us. That is what a team does, that is what a family does. You will be missed, Oscar.”
“A week before Oscar Taveras was to arrive in Jupiter, Fla., to begin a conditioning program that would prepare him to compete for a starting job with the Cardinals next spring, general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny boarded a flight to the Dominican Republic, where they were to meet with a family grieving the loss of a son, a brother, a budding baseball star lost too young.
“The unexpected trip to the Carribean came a day after Taveras and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Edilia Arevalo, were killed when Taveras’ 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ran off a road near his home and struck a tree. According to the report issued by Brigade General Francisco Romero Lopez of the Northern Regional National Police, Taveras died of multiple injuries while receiving care at the Sosua Cabarete Medical Center.
“Mozeliak, speaking on a Monday afternoon conference call, said he learned of the accident from Moises Rodriguez, the Cardinals’ international scouting director, around 6:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.
“‘My very first thought is, ‘Is this true? Is this possible?’ Mozeliak said. ‘Seeing Oscar a week-and-a-half ago and so full of life, then to have it end so tragically in a car accident was, needless to say, shockign and saddening.
“‘He was someone who became an identity in our organization to some degree when you think about how much has been written about him, how much has been talked about him. And he never really got an opportunity to show it at a Major League level.’
“One of the GM’s first calls on Sunday evening was to inform Matheny, who, Mozeliak said, reacted with silence.
“‘He was just shocked,’ Mozeliak said.”
The 22-year-old Taveras had 56 hits, three home runs and 22 RBIs in 80 regular season games with the Cardinals during the 2014 MLB season, per ESPN stats.
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