Karma Punishes Those Who Waste Talent
When I was a little boy, I wanted to be the next Brooks Robinson and play third base for the Baltimore Orioles. However, being blessed (or cursed) with the gift of self-awareness, I knew by the time I was 10 that a career as a major league baseball player just wasn't going to happen.
That's why I just don't understand those talented athletes who don't appreciate the gift they've been given? I also wish those same athletes could appreciate that any gift that is given can be taken away.
Case in point: Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel.
For years, Gamel was a "can't miss" player in the Brewers system. A guy that you could build a team around and who would probably make so much money during the course of his baseball career that he would never have to work again. A guy who was really gifted.
That's why it was so aggravating that early in his career Gamel showed up for spring training out of shape and more than a little full of himself. Seriously, didn't he realize the opportunity that he had?
That's all changed though. Last year, Gamel inherited the first base job left open when Prince Fielder left for Detroit. Unfortunately, Gamel tore up his knee early in the season and missed most of the 2012 season.
This year an injury to Corey Hart gave Gamel another opportunity at first base. Unfortunately, he has re-injured his surgically repaired knee and will miss the 2013 season.
In the matter of just a couple of years, Gamel has gone from a 24-year-old hot prospect to a guy in his late 20's with a bum knee and a career batting average of .229. Maybe he'll come back and have a great career in Milwaukee (or somewhere else). I certainly hope so.
Still, at this point, you wouldn't necessarily say the odds were in his favor.
I've always believed that one of the greatest sins someone can commit is to waste their talent. When a younger Mat Gamel showed up out of shape and with a bad attitude, I'm sure he thought that there would always be tomorrow. The reality is that sometimes tomorrow never comes.
The lesson in all this is to take nothing for granted and always do your best. Occasionally opportunity knocks only once - and karma punishes those who fail to answer the door in a timely fashion.