Back in March, it was announced that former first rounder (#3 overall in 2009) Donavan Tate would not be reporting to camp that Spring. No details were released other than it was “due to personal issues”. Despite getting the richest signing bonus in Padres history ($6.25 million) the once promising prospect had been plagued by injuries and off the field issues that have severely stunted his growth towards the Major Leagues. Woe, Doctor! did an excellent write up about Tate shortly after this was announced and questioned whether it was his “last hurrah” with the Padres or baseball in general.
As for Tate himself? Provided his personal issues don’t force him into retirement, despite many off-field mistakes, his pedigree and athleticism most likely ensure his career as a baseball player hasn’t flatlined. Whether or not this occurs with the Padres or any other organization is unclear, although any additional absence from baseball activity makes it increasingly unlikely.
Then this morning Corey Brock filled everyone in on the reason why Tate was out.
Instead of heading to Spring Training, Tate headed to California for the start of an exhaustive and, ultimately, enlightening, five-month treatment program.
It’s a fantastic read and I highly suggest you go check it out. People, myself included, often forget that these guys are human too though. It’s not always about what they do on the field. They deal with real life issues and have to deal with real life consequences just like you and I. Here was a kid who was given a ton of money and did not know how to handle it.
“I believe going through all of this has given me a strong grasp on my life and my career,” Tate said. “It’s given me a second chance. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am to be in this organization. I’m excited about coming to the field every day. It’s my job, but it’s more than that. It’s my life.”
He then leans back in his chair and smiles.
“I finally have a desire to want to better myself in every aspect of my life. Ever since I was drafted, I have not been fully invested in baseball. So it’s really exciting for me to know where I’m at now … and realize the opportunities I have ahead of me.”
Reading the interview I get a renewed amount of respect for Donavan Tate. He comes off like he’s matured and learned from his mistakes and is finally focused on improving his game. It’s a long road back but after all he’s been through, he seems up to the challenge.