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Angel in the Infield

October 8, 2009

 

Noah is now preparing for the day he can be an angel, playing with his friends, making sure his mother can live without him, and helping Brandon during the next baseball season.

 

In the bottom of the 9th inning in a historic one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins, Brandon Inge made a diving stop of a sharp line drive off the bat of Orlando Cabrera and threw him out, possibly saving the game. In the 10th inning of the game which would determine the championship of the American League Central Division and a chance to play the New York Yankees in the MLB playoffs, Inge hit a double down the leftfield line, driving in Don Kelly and giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead and a chance to win the game. But after the Twins tied the game 5-5 in the 10th after both a poor play by Ryan Raburn and then a great throw by Ryan Raburn, Inge had another chance.

            It was bases loaded with only one out and Brandon Inge was at the plate in the 12th inning. Like Tigers fans everywhere, I was rooting for a gland slam, a base hit, or just a walk. When a ball glanced against Brandon’s shirt, Inge began to walk to 1st base, thinking he was “hit by a pitch.” Even though the video replay showed the ball did hit his shirt and Brandon later said, “It hit my shirt–period,” the umpire disagreed and then Brandon hit a ground ball which turned into a fielder’s choice out at home plate. Then, Gerald Laird struck out and the Twins won the game in the bottom of the 12th inning.

            "No matter what we did, it seems like it wasn't meant to be,” Inge said after the game (“Twins Complete Comeback, Beat Tigers in 12th, AP, Dave Campbell, Oct. 6, 2009). Yet, he admitted, “This is the best game, by far, that I've ever played in, no matter the outcome."

            “After the devastating Tiger loss last night,” Diana Biorkman wrote, “I was restless and couldn’t sleep. Noah came and got me and told me it was time to snuggle. Then he asked me if the Tigers won. I told him that they lost and he said it was ok. I told him that Brandon was really upset on the news. He said that he was sad Brandon wasn’t happy and that he loves Brandon. I told him that Brandon loves him too and he smiled and told me that he knew that. I told him that they can go for it next year. He looked up at me in the dark and said that he was going to have fun watching Brandon from over his shoulder. I asked what he meant by that. He said that he’ll have his angel wings next year and will be able to watch over Brandon and his other friends. I told him that Brandon might need it. He told me that he already knew that which was why he was going to watch over him. He said that Brandon’s knees won’t hurt next year. He’ll be there to help.”

            During the evening on the first night of the playoffs, TBS added a story filmed a few weeks ago about Brandon Inge, Noah, and some of the other critically ill children that Brandon has helped to smile. You can click on the seven minute video which is both touching and inspiring: http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=7018401     

            Brandon Inge might have been sad about the loss but he knows which losses are most important. Losing a baseball game is no comparison to losing a child. On the same day as the Tigers game against the Twins, Noah’s friend, Carson, was buried. Diana didn’t tell Noah about it until the day of the funeral as she was wrestling whether to go to the funeral. When she asked Noah about it, he asked if Carson got his angel wings. Yes, his mom said, God gave him the wings and then, according to Diana, Noah “smiled and told me that I didn’t have to go to the funeral because Carson was watching over him right then. He asked me if I could feel him in the room. I told him that I couldn’t and he said that it was ok. He smiled again and said, ‘Mom—Carson’s waiting for me. He doesn’t have cancer anymore and wants to play.’”

            When she asked if Carson’s mom should come to his funeral, he asked, “When I die soon?” She said yes and he said, “Mom—I’ll be dead so I don’t care if she comes or not.”

            Noah is now preparing for the day he can be an angel, playing with his friends, making sure his mother can live without him, and helping Brandon during the next baseball season.

            “Everyone wants to know where my strength comes from,” Diana wrote. “That’s an easy answer for me. It comes from Noah. If he can handle the dying process this well, then I can suck it up and help him through it without being a blubbering mess. He deserves that. He makes it easier. He makes it bearable.”

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