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Must-click link: Catching up with Frater Matthew Desme

Sep 28, 2012, 9:42 AM EDT

Image (1) Desme.jpg for post 3534

Although you may remember him as Grant Desme, the Oakland A’s center field prospect who hit .288/.365/.568 with 31 homers and 40 steals in 131 games between high Single-A and Double-A in 2009. And then who, in 2010, quit baseball and joined a seminary to become a priest.

Today Jeff Passan has the story of where he’s been and what he’s been doing for the past two years.  It’s a good long read, but I think this sums it up:

I had everything I wanted,” he says, “and it wasn’t enough.”

Sometimes it’s that simple.

  1. Alex K - Sep 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Frater? He quit trying to be a priest, too?!?

    • Alex K - Sep 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      Well, I’ve never heard frater used in this context….I just looked it up and it’s not a typo. Hmmmm. I’m just going to go ahead and pretend like I didn’t make that joke now….

  2. Brian Donohue - Sep 28, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    The part that sums it up for me is Dad’s question and the anger it evoked. It suggests that there is something roiling inside, that an inner conflict remains. And that’s a good thing: as Jung said of one of his patients, “thank God he became neurotic.” The point being that there is psycho-spiritual conflict in our games, especially baseball. We are asked to be witnesses to it, to follow it, to ask questions of it. This kid may soon have his own questions, of himself and his cosmic Source: “who gave me this gift? who put these abilities into my body? and is my body indeed nothing better than the root of evil, the home of Original Sin? is my body merely a shell, a container for Spirit, a mere barrel for the wine or the wooden chest that holds the Treasure? Or is there something else to body itself, something noumenal, quantum, enduring, something that overcomes and dissolves the forced division of body, mind, spirit, self?” That is, he’ll have to truly explore his animal nature to discover his own truth. He’s not done with that yet.

    As Rumi said, if you can’t find it here, in your self and this moment, you will never find it later in Heaven. I’ll think of this kid next time I see some fellow point to Heaven after he hits a HR.

  3. stlouis1baseball - Sep 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Great story. As you said…it’s a long read. But it was well worth it.

  4. cur68 - Sep 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I wonder what someone with a background in autism evaluation would say about Desme? Speaking as someone without much of background, but having read about it a quite a bit, I see Desme as someone with just a touch of autism. He can’t handle the noise. He likes baseball fine, can play it well, but the noise isn’t right. All the other people doing random, non-baseball things, takes away some of the satisfaction of the game. Just enough of it, crowds into his mind and renders the sense of peace and accomplishment of the precision of baseball inadequate for his needs. Religion has very little noise and the same sort of ordered trappings, level of routine and, with all the hard work, enough physical demand to be a better fit for him.

    I’m probably wrong, though. I probably want to believe that there must be something medically wrong with someone who would give up a career in baseball for mysticism. I hope he’s at peace.

    • stex52 - Sep 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      I is rather hard for us to imagine (and I confess to Catholicism). I used to wonder what it would be like to go to the monastic life. But the discipline is not nearly deep enough in me. And I share your pain at his giving up the opportunity to use his best physical gifts. And then there’s the thing with girls. I’d come up short of calling it a pathology, but it certainly puts him at odds with the vast majority of the world. I admire him for rising to a level I could never attain. I hope the happiness is truly always there. I have known a few in my life who took that direction – or wanted to and didn’t. But I hope and trust it is the right path for him. As they said, only 30% make it to priesthood. Life is long, and there is always occasion for regret.

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