David Perno correctly called it "a classy move and a great gesture," and it made many new Rangers fans in Bulldog Nation. Taylor, who was injured in an outfield collision in March, underwent surgery and was sent to the Shepherd Center for rehabilitation. We here have been sending him our prayers and best wishes from the beginning.
Outside obligations prevented me from doing this subject justice last evening, but, when B.J. Bennett called me late this afternoon to ask if I could appear on the radio to discuss what the Rangers had done, I began reflecting on the three months since Taylor’s career was cut short and his life was changed permanently.
Taylor was a star for the Diamond Dogs from the start, from the time he got aboard in his first plate appearance and attempted to steal second base. His performance on the field, his leadership in the clubhouse, and, by all accounts, his attitude off the diamond made him a favorite of fans and players alike, though these attributes only deepened the sorrow with which Bulldog Nation greeted the news of his career-ending and life-altering injury.
As Georgia fans, we have a heightened sense of the calamitous, even about matters that are less than genuinely disastrous, but this is one time when we should view the glass as half-full, and the Rangers’ gracious gesture serves to remind us why.
"It's just amazing," said Tandra Taylor of her son’s selection by Texas, "and when he got the call, his face lit up, and we were all very excited. It was awesome news." Those are not words we expected to hear uttered just three months after receiving such awful news, but his mother’s reaction illuminates the distinction between the tragic and the dramatic: in the tragic, the worst events are reserved for the end, when they will be the most somber and bitter, but, in the dramatic, the saddest occurrences take place in the middle, so that there still will be time for good men to triumph over adversity.
Oftentimes, heroes are allowed, and inspired, to rise above their circumstances by the thoughtful acts of others for whom such small shows of kindness are matters of choice rather than obligation. Johnathan Taylor, an honor roll student and an accomplished athlete, saw his playing days come to an abrupt and sad end in his 117th collegiate game and his 91st career start, but the story of this young man’s life is not a tragedy. Through his own effort, bolstered by such gestures as this one, the 33rd-round draft pick of the Texas American League baseball club will overcome this setback and emerge victorious from a contest more challenging than any occurring on the field of play.