Oscar Taveras: A Lesson In Being Careful


As a teen, whenever I would leave the house to go to school, work or out with friends, my parents would say “Be Careful.” Most parents do. I’m older now, and still get told to be careful. It’s what people who love you say.

Simply put, they don’t want you being reckless.

That can be a problem for people in their teens and twenties. They think they are invincible. Nothing can happen to them.

Throughout all of our lives, we’ve experienced the loss of someone due to unexplainable reasons. The person lost had their whole future ahead of them and in an instant it’s all gone … because someone wasn’t as careful as they probably should have been. It sucks because the people left are left wondering why, what could have been, … Why?

That’s how all St. Louis Cardinals fans are feeling after the death of Oscar Taveras this week in a single car crash that also took his girlfriend. Taveras’ car was reportedly traveling at an excessive speed when it lost traction in a rain storm and hit a tree.

The day of the accident Taveras’ best friend and teammate, Carlos Martinez, had tried to implore Taveras to be careful.

According to an incredibly heartbreaking story from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"On the night before his friend’s death, Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez said he pleaded with Oscar Taveras, urged the rookie outfielder to come to a nearby resort, stay with his family, stay safe.Rarely one to refuse his closest teammate, Taveras declined.“He never said ‘no’ to me but he did once,” Martinez said Tuesday. “I called him and told him to come stay with me. I begged him. ‘Come stay, I’ll get you one of these VIP bracelets and you will have a good time with us.’ I had a premonition that something was going to happen to Oscar, something was going to happen.”Tears came to Martinez’s eyes as he retold that story at a restaurant just a few blocks from where a visitation was being held for Taveras. He was sitting with family members, who were staying with him at the nearby resort, where he purchased a time-share condo and, yes, had a VIP bracelet. He’s staying there this offseason, in part, because he is following his own advice.Stay safe."

This loss is going to be painful for Martinez for the rest of his life. This next year, in particular, will be rough. He’s going to need the strength of his teammates, his brothers, his extended family that includes the Cardinals leadership organization.

You can tell Martinez received the message of being careful loud and clear.

In the interview with Goold, Martinez continued:

"“It’s a reminder for me, an example that I have to keep doing the right thing,” Martinez said, speaking in Spanish. “Maybe God is giving me a sign and reminding me to stay on my path in baseball. It’s a lesson for all of us.”"

Goold’s report continued:

"Taveras signed with the Cardinals in 2008, before Martinez could, but Martinez had a swifter ascent to the majors. The 23-year-old pitcher made his debut in May 2013, a year before Taveras, and it was Martinez who offered advice to Taveras as he neared and then reached the majors.Taveras was drawn to a more reckless style of living when away from the ballpark. Not with substances, but with cars and crowds. Agent Brian Mejia called Taveras and Martinez “running mates” many times, but added that at times Taveras was the one to run “with a faster life.”“We talked like brothers and we shared ideas like brothers,” Martinez said. “I’d tell him about being in the big leagues and acting like a professional all the time, but it didn’t stick. He would listen to the advice. He just wouldn’t take it into practice. People knew that and it ended tragically.”"

Ugh. If this story couldn’t be more heartbreaking.

Every life is important. We are all connected. We may dislike. We may adore. We may even be meh. But, we’re still human beings that have everything ahead of us … Memories to make, friends to love, sports to watch, marathons to run, movies to watch, music to listen, beaches or lakes or snowy mountains to enjoy.

Lives to live.

We all need to be careful so we can do these life things.

If you learn anything from this tragic death, live your life … but, for goodness sake, be careful.