Carpe Diem lives on with Carp

Photo by The Republican (
I have a confession to make.

I started off following the Seattle Mariners. I know, this is fundamentally not right for a Red Sox fan.

Let me explain.

I have a soft spot for amazing pitchers and I am a huge Randy Johnson fan. He was a dominating lefty that really came into himself while playing for the Mariners. I also have family living in that area of the US, so attended a few games out there.

As you might assume, I have moved on since to fall in love with the Boston Red Sox. This does not keep me from keeping one eye on the various Mariners that move through their organization. One such player I follow is Mike Carp, whom I really enjoyed watching become a pretty good hitter. When he moved over to the Boston Red Sox this season, I was happy to see a player I knew coming back to center stage for me instead of playing in the wings over on the West Coast.

Another player that could not escape my attention was Greg Halman, one of the few Dutch baseball players to make an active contribution to a major league team. When he left to the major leagues in the US it was pretty big news back here in the Netherlands, as I don't think it had ever happened before that a 16 year old Dutch kid signed with a major league team (later there would be a few pitchers to do so).

He spent six full years in the Mariners farm system before breaking into the majors. Mike Carp and Greg Halman bumped into each other at Spring Training in 2009, becoming best friends with their lockers close to each other.

Then after just 44 games for the Mariners, Greg Halman had it all taken away in a terrible family tragedy. It was front page news in the Netherlands, with teammates from the Mariners (including Mike Carp) attending the funeral services. Shortly thereafter it faded for most of us off into the background of our lives.

Not for Mike Carp.

Yesterday I noticed a side article where he was standing in Fenway with a jersey that I recognized. Number 56, Halman. The memories flooded back to the top and the story of the running memorial on twitter, with daily pictures. It was moving to see that Mike Carp keeps a jersey in his locker in honor of Greg Halman. It was moving to me to hear that Greg Halman loved Fenway and got to play center field there in a game.

This weekend in the US we remember the fallen. In his daily life, Mike Carp remembers a team mate, a ballplayer, and a friend. It reminds us all, that life is short. Things happen that we don't understand, don't want to understand, but that can change our world. Carpe Diem lives on when we choose to remember those no longer with us and seize our days.

We all get swept up in the world of professional baseball, of fast lives with daily games, news of scores, pitching highlights, and think that it is all magically perfect. These players have history, backgrounds, and a human side that often goes by unnoticed.

When it comes to Mike Carp, he stands still for a moment every day, looking at that jersey in his locker and remembers along with the Halman family. Then he gets suited up for another baseball game, mentally preparing to seize the day.

Post a comment or hit me up on twitter @ericschabell with your thoughts.

More by Eric D. Schabell