At 6:30 a.m. this past Monday morning, New York Mets center fielder, Andres Torres wasn't at home resting in preparation for his team's game against the rival Philadelphia Phillies on that Memorial Day afternoon. He wasn't brushing his teeth or drinking his morning cup of joe.
Instead, he was at the hospital, bleary-eyed from a long sleepless night, helping his wife deliver their second child, just six hours before his team's first pitch.
For most players, a life-changing moment like this would be a legitimate excuse to miss a game, maybe even two. For a man like Torres—who lived every moment of the first 32 years of his life trying to reach his dream of becoming a Major League player—there are no excuses.
So with just one hour of sleep under his belt and a newborn baby in the front of his mind, Torres packed up his stuff and went to Citi Field, where he not only suited up but actually had an 8th-inning pinch-hit double with his team down one run.
This is only one small story in what has been a long journey for Andres Torres, yet in some ways, it exemplifies not only the kind of player that he is but the type of person that he is, as well.
Last night at the NYU School of Medicine, Torres premiered a documentary about his life entitled Gigante (Spanish for 'Giant'). The film chronicles his life from early childhood until the birth of his newborn daughter.
Its underlying message was about his struggle with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
ADHD has always been something that Torres has had to deal with. Whether it came to baseball or doing chores for his mother in their native Puerto Rico, staying focused has always been a challenge for Torres.
However, the biggest struggle may not have been his ability to stay focused, but to admit that he was vulnerable.
He would look at himself in the mirror and see a big, strong, muscular athlete. He saw someone so strong and so determined that there was no way that he could lack control of his own mind.
Thus, when he was a promising young prospect when drafted in 2002, he refused to take his medication. So for many years he toiled away in the minor leagues, playing for 14 minor league teams and four different organizations in eight years.
Yet for some reason—no matter how much talent he had, no matter how much worked—the results were never there to match it.
In 2010, after finally altering the dosage of his medication, Torres was given a chance to play for the San Francisco Giants, where he became a star and fan favorite and, later that season, a World Series Champion. After being able to understand what was wrong with him, he could address it and have the ability to have all of his hard work pay off.
And boy did he work hard.
Every night, he would spend hours with his bat, just practicing his swing. If he was on the road and didn't have a bat with him, he would do the same with his toothbrush. During the offseason, he would build up his strength by throwing heavy objects such as tires and would run for hours in the hills of Puerto Rico. He is so fast that he actually owns the fastest 100-meter dash time in Major League history.
Yet, no matter how much he worked, the ADHD always worked harder.
The story of Gigante is not just an informative video about ADHD. It is the story of a man that had to come to terms with his illness—to embrace his illness—in order to become the person that he so desperately wanted to be. It's about a man so genuine that he would thank his third base coach whenever he scored for waving him home.
It is about a man that—despite playing more than 1,000 minor league games—never gave up on his dream to play Major League Baseball.