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Must-click link: “A brother’s passage”

Apr 6, 2013, 1:34 PM EDT

Max Scherzer Getty Getty Images

Robert Sanchez has written a powerful story for ESPN The Magazine about Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer and his family. Scherzer’s younger brother, Alex, took his own life last summer following a battle with depression.

The story goes into heartbreaking detail about Alex’s death and how Max went ahead with his scheduled start against the Pirates, just days after his brother’s passing.

Max wanted to finish the outing emphatically, to leave no doubt about his resolve and give his parents one last burst of light, before everything went black again. He got a sign for a slider, low, and nodded his head. McCutchen swung at the pitch and missed.

McCutchen might chase something now, Max thought. He waited on the sign for another slider. The pitch broke inward then cut back and dropped sharply. McCutchen swung through it. Strike three.

Max took a breath and walked off the mound, his head down and his glove arched high on his left hip. From their seats, his parents held back tears. Max saw his teammates waiting for him at the edge of the dugout. They engulfed him. Hugs. Pats on the back. Handshakes.

Max nodded his appreciation, but had to get past the crowd. He walked through the dugout and into the field crew’s room near the clubhouse. Here, no one could see him. In the quiet shadows, he began to sob.

It’s not an easy read, so I can’t even imagine the weight of having to write it, but Sanchez treats the subject with grace and respect. A truly touching story about a bond between brothers and family.

  1. professor30 - Apr 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    You’re right it is a powerful story. Every once in a while I’ll read something like this and it makes me take stock in my own life and realize how fortunate i really am. It’s also made me a Max Scherzer fan for life. God Bless the Scherzer family.

  2. Old Gator - Apr 6, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I remember that game, and the knot in my throat when I read about it and what the background story was. Hats off to Scherzer, to his almost superhuman ability to focus and do what he felt he had to. One story like this can compensate for dozens of the tragic kind we usually have to read.

  3. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    i never heard any soundbites by max after that start. now i see why. what a great article, left me pretty stunned and emotional. thanks for sharing.

  4. 303bengalguy - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Scherzer is my keeper ace. Love that guy! Sad story I never even knew about…

  5. thebadguyswon - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    No….he’s my keeper ace.

    In all seriousness, what a great story.

  6. indaburg - Apr 6, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    That was so beautifully written and so utterly heartbreaking. It was hard to get it through it–it’s hard to read while crying–but I’m glad I did. Count me among one of Max’s fans.

  7. scoobies05 - Apr 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    nothing else to say but…wow

  8. viachicago22 - Apr 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

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