The first phone call went to Billy Beane. It was less than a month before Grant Desme needed to report to spring training, and he was about to call one of the most powerful men in the game to which he dedicated his life – the person Brad Pitt would portray in the "Moneyball" movie – and tell him he was quitting to spend the next decade becoming a priest.
And it was then he knew this was the right choice.
Because he wasn't nervous. No jitters, no anxiety. Just 10 digits to freedom. Desme felt a little on the defensive when explaining it to his parents. When he got a call from his friend Logan Schafer, now a rookie outfielder with the Milwaukee Brewers, Desme danced around the subject, fearful of the reaction from someone inside the baseball world. Top 100 prospects don't leave the game. Arizona Fall League MVPs go to cathedrals like Yankee Stadium, not St. Michael's Abbey.
"At first, I didn't really know what to say," Schafer says. "Then I realized it's a simple answer. It's how he explained it to me. He knew he had a career in baseball. But his love for God took over his love for baseball. He loved baseball so much, but he realized there was something greater in life that he had to do. This calling wasn't a one-time thing.
"For those of us who haven't had that call or that overwhelming need to do something, we can't understand. He's turning into the most selfless human I know. It's humbling to see. He made a decision as a human being, not a baseball player."
Beane, too, was thrilled for him. Taken aback, certainly. "I grew up in a Catholic family, so what he was pursuing wasn't completely foreign to me," Beane says. "I spent half the conversation congratulating him."
The closest thing he'd seen to this was when John Frank, the former 49ers tight end, retired after five seasons to pursue a medical degree. Or perhaps Pat Tillman leaving the NFL to join the U.S. Army. The players who called Beane were usually minor leaguers tired of the bus trips and worn down by the reality that so few do make the majors, that once ballplayers reach a certain age they're typecast as minor league lifers. Players with Desme's talent and future don't quit. They just don't.
"As I've told people, it's not something you try to talk him out of," Beane says. "At that point, it would be for your own selfish purposes."
Read the whole thing.
It'll go a long way toward restoring your view of humanity.
And think about Mr. Desme the next time you question your commitment to just go to Mass.
God bless the man. Might his commitment inspire us all.