It’s so easy to get cynical about professional sports. Every day it seems like there’s some sort of scandal sending shockwaves through the sports world. But once in a while a story comes along that proves that there are some true class acts in professional sports.
On March 6, University of Georgia baseball player Johnathan Taylor was paralyzed following an onfield collision with teammate Zach Cone. Taylor is still confined to a wheelchair and has undergone extensive grueling rehab. The team and fans have rallied around him, praying for him and wishing him well.
This week, in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball draft, the Texas Rangers drafted Taylor along with Cone, who was drafted 37th overall.
The selection of Taylor was one of the feel-good stories of the three-day draft. In the first round, the Rangers used the No. 37 overall pick to take Georgia’s Zach Cone, who was involved in the devastating outfield collision with Taylor in a March 6 game against Florida State.
Cone and Taylor remain best of friends and celebrated Wednesday’s announcement over the phone. Taylor was undergoing rehabilitation at Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta that has continued since surgery for a broken neck. He is paralyzed from the waist down.
“JT was so pumped up and couldn’t have been happier,” Cone said. “He was very surprised and not expecting it to happen. I was very happy for JT because I knew being drafted was something he always wanted.
“It’s an honor for me to get drafted by the same team. It says a lot about the Rangers. It means a lot to JT, me, and both of our families.”
Georgia baseball coach David Perno said, “This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization.”
“Classy” is the right word. I’m impressed with the Rangers organization. Between Josh Hamilton’s second chance and drafting JT, I’ve made the Texas Rangers my second favorite baseball team…and my favorite American League team. Here’s to the truly classy guys in professional sports.