Tragedy in the Dominican Republic
It is with the heaviest of hearts that this article is even being written. Over the years the Dominican Republic has seen its fair share of accidents. In fact, on January 22, 2017, both Royals star Yordano Ventura and journeyman Andy Marte met the same fate.
On Saturday, the Reds announced that 19-year old prospect Jairo Capellan had passed at the fate of yet another car accident in the Dominican Republic. Capellan had never played an inning in the majors, but that does not take away from how devastating the loss is.
We are not talking about how hard it is for the Reds. While losing any player or prospect is significant, baseball is the last thing that matters at this point. Capellan was just 19-years old. The kid from the DR had so much promise. He was just beginning his professional career.
The Losses That Should Have Never Been
At 19, a professional career is a dream in the making. He knew his path to the pros was already set. The only thing preventing him from millions of dollars and fulfilling a dream that every kid that ever steps on a diamond dreams of, was good health. Health is relatively easy to maintain, outside of Tommy John surgery or a torn MCL or ACL. Capellan was healthy, but the world had a different fate for the young prospect.
In the midst of the tragedy, two other prospects were injured in the car accident, both players in the organization were 19 as well. Another pitcher, Raul Hernandez, and outfielder Emilio Garcia were also injured in the accident.
Hernandez is in critical condition in the hospital. Reports have not indicated that he is in terminal condition, but they also have not reported that he will come out unscathed. His condition is confusing, family and friends can only pray that he will walk out the same as before he entered.
Garcia’s condition is nowhere near the severity of his teammates. Garcia, while involved in the accident, walked away Saturday in near perfect health. While he was of course injured, he did not encounter any life-threatening injuries that hampered Hernandez and of course, Capellan.
The future of both Hernandez and Garcia are not clear, but both should set foot on the diamond in the future. Hernandez has a bit more of a confusing case, but with the right medical treatment, he should be ok.
While Cincinnati, the Dominican, and the MLB community as a whole continue to mourn the loss of Jairo, we can only hope his two close companions and teammates will endure long and prosperous careers. The loss of essentially a brother weighs heavy on anyone, trying to recover from an accident adds to the pain. Jairo Capellan, while never donning a Major League Reds uniform, will forever be remembered as a Red and a hero in the Dominican Republic.