The Marjory Stoneman Douglas baseball team won another state title, the Eagles’ third in a row, an incredible feat in any part of the U.S., but even more so considering the stacked lineups they faced in a highly competitive South Florida area .
In the time it takes to read that sentence, however, some – if not all – have most likely lost the scale of the achievement because something like “shooting in the park” has replayed in their minds.
There’s something off-putting about even bringing up such a tragedy and allowing him to share the national spotlight with a championship that included an undefeated season, the first since 2017 in the Sunshine State and the first in South Florida history. Yes, history.
But to ignore what happened on February 18, 2018, when 17 people were killed at the hands of a gunman, ignores the bigger story: The freshmen, seniors and everyone in between on the Eagles 2023 roster and in the Parkland community are just five years removed from the deadliest high school mass shooting ever—a statistic that now exists and floats across media tickers as casually as if it were part of the latest NYSE.
“No one here really brings it up,” pitcher Christian Rodriguez said Manny Navarro of Athletic for this Valentine’s Day 2018 “It’s just something that stays.”
To applaud the strength required to recover from such an event – which now lives in the subconscious of the masses as a reminder of the horrors students face on a daily basis – is something that should bring everyone to their feet. Standing-O.
Then, another standing O…
And so on.
And while the uplifting story would have been perfectly acceptable if the final chapter had quietly ended with a lesson in progression and simply putting the cleats in and doing your best between the lines, the Eagles baseball team didn’t just show up at the ballpark; they’ve crushed teams over the last few years, compiling an 87-5 record, including 51 straight.
They finished the year as the No. 1 ranked team in the country and as national champions during that stretch.
In 2023, the Eagles hit 35 home runs. That’s two more runs than a pitching team has surrendered all year (33). Comebacks? They haven’t trailed after the third inning in any game this season.
And when it came time to end this current streak, the team did, taking home that third state title.
Impressive? Maybe just a case of having top tier talent?
As Ted Williams famously told The New York Times, “I’ve always said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in sports.”
It’s harder to excel at it while bringing inspiration and positivity to a community and beyond.