Starling Marte sat patiently waiting for the Zoom call to begin. One could already sense from his expression that he was ready for this moment to address the media.
In simple straight forward terms he described what he and his family have gone through. Despite the language and translation barriers, he was able to convey the emotions of the event and aftermath.
His wife fractured her foot, and something in the trauma of that event lead to a heart attack. It was all sudden, nothing one can prepare for.
His first thought was he wanted to retire and didn’t want to play baseball. But the more he spoke with his Pastors and Priests from his Church, as well as his friends and family back home the more he felt supported to come back to the game, especially by his kids. He spoke several times during the call about the support network through his church, and his faith.
Starling has 4 children, ages 10, 6, 4 & 1. It’s been hardest for his oldest, having spent the most time with his wife and being the 1st born. But through all the meetings with the support people mentioned it’s been very helpful throughout the entire process.
Starling also spoke about his friendship with Ketel Marte and how he’s been there for him like a brother. On the plane ride back to USA he and Ketel were able to share their experiences of going through family tragedy. They also spoke a lot about their kids, even how well behaved they were on the flight. Ketel and his wife consoled him and supported him.
His 3 day hiatus from camp was caused by waiting for MLB testing results. But all is good on that front, as tests were negative. He feels strong and ready to go thanks to all the training he did during this delay to the season.
He’s very happy to be back, especially with his kids. Clearly it’s been very tough time for his family. But it’s all about moving forward now and making sure the kids are all right and being ready to go.
No matter how one feels about the privilege and riches that come with being a major league star, listening to him speak today drove home the point once again that ballplayers are people like the rest of us who have to deal with challenges in life that are sometimes overwhelming. But this father of four is facing them head on, and is someone we can all root for both on the field and in his personal life.