Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s taken seven years of hard work and a little help from a documentary film maker, but Tuesday night at Marlins Park, Adam Greenberg finally got his one at bat in the Major Leagues.
Although he struck out in three pitches, Greenberg told CBS4 Sports Anchor Jim Berry that although the at-bat was quick, the memory will last a lifetime.
Greenberg’s story started more than seven years ago on July 9, 2005. Greenberg had just been called up to the majors by the Chicago Cubs, who were playing the then-Florida Marlins. Greenberg stepped into the batter’s box and on the first pitch was hit in the head by pitcher Valerio De Los Santos.
Greenberg suffered from vertigo after the incident, but vowed that one day he would make it back to the show. But, despite his best efforts, Greenberg could never make it higher than Double-A in the minor leagues.
But after a documentary filmmaker started pushing a “one at bat” campaign, it went viral on the Internet and the Marlins decided to step in.
Last week, the Marlins announced it would sign Greenberg to a one-day contract so he could get his one at-bat, seven years later. Greenberg’s salary will be donated to charity in exchange for the at-bat. For the Marlins, it’s a bit of good publicity at the end of a miserable season.
Greenberg tweeted Tuesday morning that he signed his contract at noon and shortly after, the Marlins held a press conference.
“I think it’s good for the kid,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. “We decided to do it and people have to respect what we’re going to do with the kid. I think it’s a positive. I don’t think it’s going to kill anything to get the kid an at-bat.”
The Marlins won with 11 inning rout 4-3 against the Mets Tuesday night, and Mets manager Terry Collins said he supported Miami’s decision with regards to Greenberg.
“I think it’s a wonderful story,” Collins said. “I think it’s a great story for this guy to come up with all that he’s been through to try to fight back, all of the things he’s had to endure, it’s going to be a great story. Unfortunately, he’s going to have to face R.A. (Dickey).”
Dickey is the Mets’ ace pitcher this season and throws a mean knuckleball. He’s 20-6 on the season with a 2.69 ERA. Tuesday is his final chance to make a case for the Cy Young Award. Collins said he doesn’t expect Dickey to go easy on Greenberg.
“I don’t think that’s part of the deal,” Collins said. “I just think it’s about him saying, ‘hey, I’ve worked so hard to get here the first time and to have it taken away from me in such a fast instant to get back in the batter’s box to say I’ve worked hard enough to get back here again.’”
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)