Baseball

Williams’ competitive fire as intense as ever during cancer battle

One factor is definite: Padres third-base coach Matt Williams nonetheless has the hearth for baseball.

It’s 1:30 p.m. on a Friday at Residents Financial institution Park in Philadelphia. It’s sizzling and humid, and the Padres are having early fielding apply. There’s Williams with a fungo bat in his arms working with the workforce’s infielders.

One couldn’t inform that Williams, 57, is in his third spherical of chemotherapy in his combat with colon most cancers, which was discovered in early March after he took a routine blood check. Williams by no means had points earlier than, however this specific check revealed that he was anemic, and the medical doctors have been dumbfounded.

“Why are you bleeding someplace? Why are your purple blood cells happening with no signs?” Williams mentioned the medical doctors requested him. “We carried out the checks they usually discovered the most cancers.”

There’s a fourth spherical of chemo coming quickly. Hopefully, after that, if all of the scans are good, Williams will likely be cancer-free and can get check-ups each three months.

Williams mentioned some days are higher than others, however general every thing is manageable.

Since getting back from most cancers surgical procedure on April 13, Williams hasn’t missed a day of labor. That hasn’t stopped supervisor Bob Melvin from asking Williams the day by day query, “How are you doing?”

There are occasions Williams will wave him off and say he’s effective.

“You don’t hear two phrases [about cancer]. He doesn’t wish to discuss it,” Melvin mentioned. “He is without doubt one of the hardest guys I’ve ever been round within the recreation. It means rather a lot to this workforce as properly, due to the respect he will get throughout his taking part in profession, teaching profession and managerial profession.”

The friendship between Williams and Melvin goes again to once they have been teammates with the Giants within the late Nineteen Eighties. Williams doesn’t need any particular therapy from his good pal.

“I’m capable of coach third, do my duties and all that, so these are all optimistic indicators,” Williams mentioned. “It’s the job that I signed up for. The medical doctors, my fellow coaches, the workforce are superb with me. They’ve allowed me to take a break once I must.

“I suppose one of the simplest ways to say it’s the manner the physician put it to me, ‘This isn’t your dad’s chemo.’ The advances that they’ve made are such that you’ll be able to work. You’ll be able to reside your life. I’m capable of do my regular routine. I’ve taken that to coronary heart.”

If most cancers did something to Williams, it strengthened his love for baseball. He has been in skilled baseball since 1986 when the Giants chosen him within the first spherical of the MLB Draft.

He’ll let you know the hearth for the sport remains to be there. That zest for the game got here out when he was a Main League participant, coach and supervisor. Williams was a five-time All-Star with the Giants and D-backs, and he received the Nationwide League Supervisor of the Yr Award with the Nationals in 2014.

“I don’t suppose the hearth will ever depart,” Williams mentioned. “Part of my goal once I was recognized was to show to myself that the hearth is there. Simply maintain going. Simply maintain shifting.

“A variety of of us who’ve gone via this or one thing like this instructed me the angle is an important factor. The medication will deal with stuff, however you probably have the proper angle, it goes a good distance. I attempt to take that significantly and transfer ahead.”

Whereas Williams has an awesome angle, the most cancers made him understand that he’s not bullet-proof.

“What I discovered is I ought to have been on high of one thing like this a very long time in the past,” Williams mentioned. “The difficulty is, with such a most cancers, there are actually no signs. You don’t know except you get your colonoscopy and get checked. We’re large, robust athletes. You [believe that you] don’t want to do this, [but it’s not true]. You want to go do it. If I’d have executed it earlier, I would not be on this scenario.

“On the similar time, the truth that I’ve gone via this makes me a stronger individual. You don’t need this to grow to be a stronger individual, nevertheless it has made me stronger and makes me recognize issues extra.”

Williams didn’t understand how many individuals cared about him till after he was given his most cancers prognosis. His household, together with spouse Erika Monroe, pals, the Padres entrance workplace and training employees all the time verify in to see how he’s feeling.

“The response blew my thoughts. That’s a gratifying feeling,” Williams mentioned. “I heard from all of them — from guys with the Diamondbacks, the Nats. They mentioned, ‘No matter you want, we’re right here. Don’t be afraid to choose the telephone up.’ The response has been so appreciated. It makes you are feeling higher.”


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Revealed : 2023-07-17 20:08:30

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