While the idea may be tempting, David Eckstein fully understands the reality–he will not bring his glove with him on Sunday and volunteer to fill in for the injured Aledmys Diaz.
“Maybe for one day and then after that, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight,” laughed Eckstein at the suggestion, who will be the keynote speaker at Christian Family Day at Busch Stadium following the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves.
“I really have never been out there on this type of platform before speaking about my faith and how it has kind of guided me through my career,” shared Eckstein. “Just the way things went on in my life to put me in the position that I was able to make it to the Majors and play for ten years, some things I haven’t truly shared with the public. So that’s what I’m going to be talking about mostly on Sunday.”
Like other speakers of the past, Eckstein is looking to “preach” but rather inspire those from any walk with his experiences.
“I’m going to start off with a neat little story that happened when I was born, basically–like what my mom did, and it’s something that I’ve never told this story to the public,” he continued. “It’s going to be more intimate. Just like the discussions with the doctors when my sister goes through kidney disease and just out of the blue she’s in complete renal failure. What happened the night I was designated for assignment. It’s just going to go a little more in detail of those crucial parts of my life and what I actually did because I’ve never truly ever spoke about that.”
The 2006 World Series MVP, Eckstein was in St. Louis just a couple of weeks ago to celebrate the ten year anniversary of that championship with several of his old teammates.
“We started out that season so hot–I think after the first two months of the season, we were cruising but then people started getting hurt,” he recalled. “I think you’ll hear most of say it goes basically to that Ronnie Belliard play–when he dives and makes that play at second base, with that we’re coming off like ‘okay, here we go, we’re ready to go play’.”
That play occurred in the 7th inning of Game 1 of the NLDS against San Diego, when trailing by four runs the Padres had the bases loaded with two outs. Todd Walker hit a grounder to the right side off Tyler Johnson and Belliard dove, knocked the ball down and was able to get the throw to first to just beat the runner.
“And winning that game, I think that’s when it was, okay if we can keep these guys healthy, at least for the next three week push, we can do this thing,” finished Eckstein.
Belliard was unable to make the 2006 festivities as he had already booked a birthday celebration for his daughter.
Most recall that after being named MVP, Eckstein was presented with a new, yellow Corvette–sharing that it was the first “new” car that he had ever gotten. He later gave the car to his father.
These days, Eckstein is driving a vehicle with a purpose.
“When I’m in Florida, I have my sister’s 2000 Toyota Sienna mini-van,” he stated. “I help out at the high school and they love it–at least they tell me they love it, they fight for me to drive.”
But the story gets better.
“My brother was driving it years back, so you can see the Styrofoam of the bumper on one side. And then, the two door handles that open the sliding doors on both sides have fallen off. So, instead of fixing it–I’ve just put Gorilla tape over the side. So that’s what I’m driving.”
“But it’s a bigger message than what I drive,” Eckstein explained. “When I show up with these kids in the high school, I want them to understand that it has nothing to do what you drive it has everything to do with the person you are.”
Admittedly, he does drive a different car in California–an eco-friendly model that is allowed in the carpool lane–but somehow the vision of David Eckstein driving a min-van with duct tape is funny, makes sense, and a perfect example why Cardinals Nation loves him all wrapped up into one.
It also seems to serve as another preview into some of his message to be shared this Sunday.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI