Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Detroit Tigers' Max Scherzer managing to stay positive despite his brother's suicide

RECOMMENDED READING


DETROIT — Max Scherzer spoke enthusiastically, and convincingly, Saturday of his excitement to pitch tonight for the Tigers in the World Series.

"The start of a lifetime," he called it.

But Scherzer will also do so with sadness, as he has 20 other times this year since the devastating June news that his younger brother, Alex, had killed himself.

"That was the most difficult time of my life," Scherzer said, softly. "For me, I just learned to live life as happy as I can. Put a smile on everybody's face. For my family, when I play baseball, it puts a smile on everybody's face."

That was why two days after, Scherzer rejoined the Tigers in Pittsburgh and pitched. Painfully, more so than he imagined, Alex on his mind literally with each of his 100 pitches. His family had told him he should go, that it would be good for him. He said he'd do it, but only if they came, too, so his parents, an aunt and a cousin went with. That he lost, 4-1, far from mattered.

"I'm glad I pitched," he said. "That was the most difficult start I ever made. … (But) it was an important thing at that time for my family for me to be able to go out there and do that."

Three days later, Max spoke for the first time about his brother, who was 24 and had recently earned an MBA from the University of Missouri and begun working for Morgan Stanley in St. Louis.

He read from a statement about Alex's brilliance and great sense of humor. Of how he always knew how to leave Max with a smile on his face, or laughing out loud. Of their regular debates — over sports, politics, or anything else — and how Alex always insisted he was right.

"Alex made this world a better place and anybody I have ever talked to that knew him could only say how much fun they had being around him," Scherzer said. "Alex was the best brother I could have asked for and he will always be missed."

Scherzer, 28, started two days later at the Trop and beat the Rays, headed home to St. Louis for a memorial service and has been back with the team ever since.

Despite some minor injuries — a hamstring he tweaked running at the Trop, a sore shoulder, an ankle he tweaked in the Tigers' division-clinching celebration — he has pitched incredibly well: 10-2, 2.61 from the Rays win on, plus two strong playoff starts, going 1-0, 0.82 with 18 strikeouts vs. the A's and the clincher against the Yankees. He says the difference is better fastball location.

His teammates marvel at how he has gone forward.

"It's a testament to him and his family," DH Delmon Young said. "That's one of the hardest things you'll ever have to deal with in life, and it can destroy you throughout the whole season. Especially being gone on the road, sitting in your room, and dwelling on it. But I think since that point on he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball."

"I commend him for being able to pull through and perform the way he has," starter Doug Fister said. "Finding a sense of normalcy is a big thing, and I think coming to work every day and being able to come to the ballpark has really helped him out."

As horrible as the experience has been, Scherzer said he, too, has found some solace.

"I'm playing the game I love," Scherzer said. "Life goes on no matter what happens. And the sun always comes up, so you better have a positive outlook on life, and a positive outlook on what to do with your life. So for me, right now, playing baseball puts a smile on everybody's face."

Comments
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Updated: 6 hours ago
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17