MLB Prospect Casey Thomas’ Gym Rat Heart, Cool West Coast Vibe Lost at Just 24

 

My latest for Bleacher Report is about the day Oakland A’s rookie prospect Casey Thomas dies a few weeks ago, and about the way he lived — all at once willing to work hard, but also according to his trademark phrase: “Own your flow.”

When news broke of his death a few weeks ago, B/R editors asked if anyone would want to make some calls and try to turn something around within a couple days. I said I would.

I’m normally a deep-reporting features writer. And even on those, I never feel totally comfortable because my OCD makes me exhaustingly aware that we can never truly know another human being, no matter how much we talk to other people about them. That bugs me a lot, for a lot of reasons I won’t get into here.

Anyway, my point is, I feel like I got to know Casey well enough in a couple days that I’m glad I took this on, even if it did mean an exhausting couple of days taking calls in the car as my wife and I drove 9 hours round trip to Lynchburg, Va. for a play my sister stage-directed, and then to Emerald Isle for a weekend at the beach with Katie’s parents.

On the heels of my story about why life in the minor leagues kind of sucks, it was bittersweet to get to know Casey and his pure love for the game no matter what. I’m glad I got to know him, and I’m sad about the irony of the circumstances that let me get to know him, and like with almost everyone I write about, I took something from his life that I’ll apply to mine.

I might not have hair and a goatee like his that made him look like a pirate—or hair at all—but I want to do better about owning my flow.