FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox players friendly with stricken prospect Ryan Westmoreland said the 19-year-old outfielder learned of his rare brain condition after experiencing a series of headaches and other symptoms while working out at the minor league camp last month.
The team announced Saturday night that Westmoreland has a “cavernous malformation’’ of weak blood vessels in his brain and would have surgery tomorrow in Phoenix.
What makes it worse for Westmoreland is that the malformation is apparently located on or near his brain stem. That not only complicates the surgery, but enhances the possibility of lasting neurological issues.
So we are faced with the situation that a talented, gifted teenager (he is only 19) faces a life-altering surgery. It also reminds us that baseball is, at the end of the day, a game. And we need to be reminded of that.
We all have read a story about someone being attacked (or worse) because they wore a Sox cap here or a Yankees t-shirt there. If you wear the visiting colors to Fenway or the Bronx, you're lucky to get away with having your ears burned off by the profanities slung in your direction. All that seems a wee bit ridiculous when presented with a story like this. It shouldn't take a teenager, or a child, being seriously ill to remind us about where the Sox/Yankee rivalry should reside in our lives. Or about what really matters.
Prayers and best wishes to Ryan Westmoreland and his family.