Sometimes there are no perfect endings. So, no, Adam Greenberg did not take R.A. Dickey over the wall last night when he pinch-hit for the Marlins in the sixth inning.
Instead, he struck out swinging on three pitches. Strange how much it looked and sounded like triumph.
That's because this is one of those Archie "Moonlight" Graham stories, where a young man's big chance turns to ashes in his fists. In Greenberg's case, that happened in 2005, with the Cubs, on the first pitch he ever saw in the bigs.
That pitch seriously beaned him, leaving him severely debilitated for months and driving him, for a time, from the game. He wound up back in the boondocks, trying to rediscover the dream with the likes of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx and the Bridgeport (Conn.) Bluefish. By this summer, he was playing for Israel's national team, holding fast to the game long beyond the time when a more ordinary human being might have given up.
And so, in recognition of that and more, the Marlins did the most wonderful thing: They called and offered Greenberg a one-day contract. One more at-bat. One more shot in the bigs.
Greenberg is said to have cried when the call came. And then cried some more.
You can ask, and some will, if it was right of the Marlins to do this. Prepare to be laughed at here if you do.
Of course it was right, and decent, and human, and all those things we so often wish sports to be but which they so often are not. This was a nothing game at a nothing time of the season involving two teams for which nothing was at stake. What better time to make a grand gesture such as this?
What greater credit to bring to the game?