Ian Snell Demotes Himself Due to Depression

Nick LippertContributor IJuly 3, 2009

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Ian Snell #45 poses during Pittsburgh Pirates photo day on February 25, 2007 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

On June 25th, the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned starting pitcher Ian Snell to their minor league club in Indianapolis.  Snell had not pitched well as of late; although it was still a suprise to see him get sent down.

After the announcement, Snell went off on reporters and anyone else who would listen about how Pittsburgh had a negative atmosphere.  I can't say he's wrong; the players openly question management and fans are tired of seeing major league talent shipped out of town for minor league "prospects".

Leading fans to the question "Will the Pirates ever win?"

Hearing and reading the article on July 1st out of Indianapolis that a month ago Snell contemplated suicide was shocking.  After those incidents, Snell apparently asked to be sent to AAA to save his life as he told Henry Wofford of WTHR-TV in Indianapolis.

I understand that there are a lot of pressures on professional athletes, especially for a pitcher, the game and fate of the team rests in his hands, but suicide? I may be wrong, but I can't recall any professional athlete committing suicide.

As a Pirates fan, I'm hoping that this trip to Indianapolis, a comfort zone of sorts for Snell, will clear his head and give him the confidence to be the pitcher he's shown glimpses of.

In his first start for the Indians, Snell appeared comfortable after walking the first batter; he struck out 13 straight and ended the game with 17 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. 

Let's hope this is the first great thing to happen to Snell as he tries to become a solid major league pitcher again.