Remembering Jeriome Robertson

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

robertson.jpgSo many names come and go in your life in this job. And many of them are just that — names you might hear again in passing or see on some long-ago scoresheet or in some article you stumble upon in your archives. Names as quickly forgotten as they are remembered.

Baseball writer and baseball player form a relationship, however forced or feigned it might be, over the course of a long baseball season or Spring Training camp. And when it’s all over — when the 35-year-old journeyman reliever gets designated for assignment or the 29-year-old prospect who never panned out gets optioned back to Triple-A one last time — we go back to our real lives and, more often than not, never hear from or see each other again.

Then there’s a day like today, when I got a text telling me Jeriome Robertson died in a motorcycle crash over the weekend in his hometown of Exeter, Calif.

I remembered a day in 2004, when I was an MLB.com intern dispatched to Buffalo to do some stories on Tribe prospects, and there was Robertson, a trade acquisition gone awry, trying to reshape himself as a reliever, a year after winning 15 games for the Astros. I remember how upbeat he was, and I remember thinking to myself something along the lines of, “Why is this guy who got routinely shelled in Cleveland and demoted to Buffalo in such a good mood?” As I’ve gotten (slightly) older, I’ve realized that those who let their positive personality shine through, no matter the circumstances, are blessed.

The following spring, I was hired to cover the Reds full-time. And there was Robertson again, in camp in Sarasota, Fla., trying to latch on in a starting or relief spot with a Reds team that signed him to a Minor League deal. As a 23-year-old kid with, admittedly, a ton to learn about this business and a little intimidated about my new role, it was nice to see a familiar face. He was the one guy in that room that I didn’t have to introduce myself to, and he was immediately happy to see me when I approached his locker. It made me feel welcomed. And his competitive fire shone through in our conversation.

“I never thought anything different than making the team,” he told me. “If I did, I’d be selling myself short. It’s hard to get a job when you don’t want it.”

He wanted it, but he didn’t get it. The Reds cut him… on his 28th birthday, no less.

Robertson never made it back to the Majors. He was in the Mets’ camp in 2006, in Mexican ball in ’07. I don’t know where life took him from there, aside from a too-tight curve on a California road. I don’t know why he was traveling that road at 70 mph. I don’t know how he had adapted to life after baseball, a difficult transition for so many who spend their entire adult lives chasing those big-league dreams and never achieve that sustained success or sign that big contract. I don’t know these things because Robertson was one of hundreds of players I’ve gotten to know only through occasional interviews, names I’ve typed on a screen.

And yet a sadness came over me when I got that text. I remembered Jeriome as more than just a name on paper because of the class and camaraderie he had displayed when our paths crossed in that impressionable stage of my career. My career in baseball was just starting, as his was drawing to a close, against his will. That his life drew to a close so quickly is a shock and a shame. My prayers go out to his family.

Rest in peace, Jeriome.

~AC

59 Comments

well done Castro……well done

When I read the note this morning in our local paper, I had absolutely no recollection of Robertson. I still cannot place him. Thanks for fleshing him out as a person for me. Nicely done.

I would like to sincerely compliment you on your Robertson article. It was far and away one of the nicest tributes I have read from a sportswriter of any age. This kind of reporting elevates you to a much higher level than the regular day to day blogger who just spins trivia. Well done.

I second all of the above!

I knew J rob since he was 13 years old,even back then I knew that he was special and destined to great things.As I watched him blossom from a little league play to the show,what a special thing to see.he was like a son to me,i t was always a pleasure to see how far he had come from the small town of Exeter,I always told him he was living the dream that I wanted.he shall always have a special place in my soul,off the field he always had that competitive nature in him all the way down to the wiffle ball we constantly played my life will never be the same without him I will let his boys know what kind of man he was,and the legacy he let on and off the field j Rob i will always miss you one of a kind personality .see you on the other side so we can finish those wiffle ball games.your friend and biggest Lee

Beautiful, just beautiful.

We are raising money for Jeriomies funeral in exeter through car washes and also donations for his funeral . He has always been a good freind to me and I’ve always felt special cuz a pro baller considered me his friend and would pick me up to go hang out with him .He was at my house 3 hours before his accident.”Just wanted to say hi” I grew up on the next street, and wish I would have went outside to talk to him that day, instead I just said whats up through the window.his funeral will be held in exeter at smiths funeral home and at the exeter cementary starting the viewings at 10am and actual funeral is around 1pm if u want to contribute call 559) 740-9724 and we will get u in contact with either his sister or mother . thank u for this wonderful story that u wrote about my freind who I called Romey alsop known as JRobb or duece funeral is mon. the 7th of june

The death of Jeroime Robertson is actually a deep blow and I can?t accept the fact that he is no more. The way you are just bring back the fond memories is just amazing seems like you also had a deep attachment with Robertson. – Jordan

Yes this was sad to see Jeriome Robertson leave us at such an early age. As a pitcher he had a lot of style. Unfortunately motorcycle accidents are causing thousands of similar deaths every year. strategy

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Such a sad story. I have known a few professional athletes throughout my years. While I hate to generalize, it seemed as though the ones that I knew on a personal level had a flair for excitement. I think anyone involved in sports or entertainment has to have a little bit of that in them to help drive them toward their dreams. Some have more than others and can often live out that excitement in different ways. We cannot make assumptions as to the cause of such a tragedy however.
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Of course! I remember Jeriome Robertson because he was one of the best baseball players in the world at least that’s my opinion he had excellent skills and also he used to take Generic Viagra to get an excellent condition in the field.

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