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A appreciation of Pat Neshek’s torturous journey

One of the things about a job like mine is there are questions you hate to ask, only because were the roles reversed, you’d hate to have them asked of you.

I say this today because I spent 30 minutes or so talking with Pat Neshek of the A’s this morning, Neshek and his wife, Stephanee, lost their son, Gehrig John, just 23 hours after he was born last Oct. 2.

He just stopped breathing.

   The parents had to process that during the midst of what should have been one of the peak moments of Neshek’s baseball career, pitching out of the A’s bullpen in the playoffs against the Detroit Tigers.

Let’s make one thing clear. Pat Neshek is not over the loss of his son. That day likely will not come any time soon, or maybe any time at all. But he has come to grips with the reality that, however painful the experience was, his life and that of his wife goes on.

He couldn’t have been more open to talking about a deeply personal and private matter that played out in public in newspapers and in the internet because of his profession. Would I have been as amenable had the roles been reversed? Maybe, but who can tell unless we’ve been put in that terrible position?

I found myself inordinately pleased to hear him say that, professionally, at least, “this is the happiest I’ve been.’’

He said he couldn’t have imagined five months ago saying that.

The story will be up on the website in the next 24-48 hours or so, but I’d just like to say it’s good to see him finding some happiness.

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.