As Ryan Westmoreland and his parents were driving up from Portsmouth, Rhode Island to Lowell for the Spinners Hot Stove Dinner, they fondly and enthusiastically discussed his one magical season as a pro in 2009.
The return trip was filled with silence.
At the dinner the Spinners shocked Ryan and his parents when they announced that the team would be retiring his number 25 during the upcoming season, something we posted about here last week.
“When I got there [Spinners Assistant General Manager] Jon Boswell told me, “Don’t be surprised, but we are going to announce something at the end of the night,”” said Westmoreland. “I thought it was just going to be them announcing that I was there or something, I honestly had no idea. I was caught completely by surprise. I was speechless.”
A gifted athlete, Westmoreland was cherished not only for his skill on the field, but his enthusiasm and love of the game even when he was off the field.
His pure grit and determination in attempting to get back to baseball following multiple surgeries and rehabilitations for a cavernous malformation on his brain showed the true spirit of who Ryan really is, something recognized across the entire Red Sox organization.
“That’s an honor and represents the way that not only the Spinners, but the Red Sox feel about Ryan and the contribution he made in his short career,” said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. “As much as it was about performance, it was also the way he goes about his business, how hard he worked for us on the field and how passionate and driven he was during his career and certainly when he was trying to battle back.
“He’s quite a human being and someone that, from the Red Sox perspective, is held in very, very high regard.”
Even though many, most especially Ryan, wish they could have seen him make it back to the field to fulfill his potential, his health is what ultimately matters most.
It has taken some time to come to the realization that the dream is over and Ryan is now okay with it.
When his number 25 gets added to LeLacheur Park’s right field wall, he will be granted closure on this aspect of his baseball career.
“To have such an honor at 23 years old is really quite a shock,” said Westmoreland. “Dreams come true and although it didn’t all work out, I enjoy being able to impact others along the way. I am truly grateful for the Red Sox and the Spinners for this honor.”
Now he is just learning to adjust to life as a regular kid, taking courses through Northeastern University while he ponders his next move in the baseball.
“I love this game and I always will,” said Westmoreland. “I want to get into the game in some aspect and be as close as I can to it all.”
And when he wants to reminisce about his playing days, a nice car ride with his folks up to Lowell to see his retired number 25 will help spur the conversation along the way.
Photo credit - John Corneau/Lowell Spinners
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