Perseverance is an admirable trait. Like all admirable traits, it can be taken well past the point where it serves you well. My wife, who spent a career in the theater, would always counsel anyone who wanted to act for a living to just go for it, so long as there was absolutely nothing else you wanted to do with your life. Because if there was, the frustrations of embarking on an acting career would eat you alive if you thought it was a choice you made, instead of something you had to do.
Sean Kazmar, Jr. is now 37 years old, and has just retired. I assume most of you on Braves Journal know his story. If you don’t, read the link in the previous sentence. Since his 46 plate appearances as a 23 year old in 2008 (which followed post-college stops in Fort Wayne, Eugene, Lake Elsinore, West Oahu, San Antonio and Peoria) with the Padres, he played in Portland, Tacoma, Buffalo and Binghamton before taking up a 8 year residency in Gwinnett County. Ozzie Albies played 153 games for Gwinnett at second base in 2016 and 2017. Sean Kazmar Jr. played 155 games at second in Gwinnett. Austin Riley played 119 games at 3rd base in Gwinnett. Sean Kazmar, Jr. played 137. Dansby Swanson played 11 games at shortstop in Gwinnett. Sean Kazmar, Jr. played 300 games at shortstop there. Just think about all the people Sean Kazmar, Jr. has watched passing through Gwinnett on the way to The Show.
Sean got back to the major leagues this year. On April 17th, he grounded into a double play in a game the Braves lost 13-4. Three days later, he was inserted as a pinch runner and stranded on third. Finally, he was recalled on May 5th, pinch hit for Edgar Santana and grounded out to 3rd. That is a cWPA of slightly under 0, but letâ€™s just round it to 0. He will almost certainly not earn a full playoff share, but he may well earn a share that more than doubles his Gwinnett salary for 2021. That shouldnâ€™t be hard. Does a guy who was there three days get a ring? Itâ€™s not my money, but Iâ€™d give him one. He’s not Moonlight Graham, but he’s about as close as the Braves have.
Yip Harburg was not a baseball player, even though he sounds like a member of the ’40s Dodgers. He was a song lyricist, writing, among other things, the words to the songs in Finian’s Rainbow and The Wizard of Oz. He liked one lyric so much that he put it in both: in both “Look to the Rainbow” (from Finian’s Rainbow) and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” (from The Wizard of Oz) he wrote:
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.Yip Harburg, twice
We’re still following you Sean, whatever you do next. I hope Sean is proud of what he tried to do, and best of luck in the next chapter, whether in the Braves organization or elsewhere.