I'm taking a step away from the game today to write a note directly to my readers. This was such a special year for me professionally and personally. I am happily married, work was just incredible, the column has taken off, and I just wanted to thank all of you, the great readers of BP, for allowing this column to exist. I appreciate the interaction so much, and you have no idea how much you all really do mean to me. Thank you.
With all the work that has gone on so far this offseason I am exhausted, but I have to keep pushing on. Those of you who know me personally are aware that I have been dealing with health issues the past few years. I have had 42 surgeries (soon to be 43—more on that shortly) to correct a pediatric birth defect called bladder exstrophy. I have never really been too comfortable discussing my ailment because it isn’t something I ever saw as an impediment in my life. But now I realize that I’m the exception, and I am utterly embarrassed I have not done more to help others who struggle with this ailment.
For the past three years I have worked with the writer Joe Lemire and told him my story in its entirety. Joe spoke with my clients, family, friends, and doctors about my life as an agent dealing with a persistent medical issue. I am not writing this to usurp that column—I’m looking forward to it finally being published. But I will have surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore Wednesday to rebuild my abdomen. It is a two-hour procedure and it’s all superficial (irony) surgery. The risk of error is technically very low, but given my history there is no such thing as minor surgery. I’m nervous, obviously. Recovery is an overnight hospital stay if all goes to plan; however, I had “routine” surgery when I was 17 and that recovery that was supposed to last 10 days turned into six months, two intestinal ruptures, six months NPO, a couple air ambulance trips, and a 60-pound weight loss.
You know, I remember every day I was in the hospital when I was 17. I also remember during brief periods of discharge my dad taking me to Delmarva so I could meet Vernon Wells and Jayson Werth. I remember having a feeding tube from my chest to a backpack, and I remember chasing Vernon Wells for his autograph—it ended up that I was the first person to ever ask him to sign a baseball card. I remember my dad helping me write letters so I could get the entire 2000 UDSP set autographed. He even went to get me Pete Rose Jr. and Jason Brester. I was that big a nerd in 2000—I cared more about getting my Jason Brester card signed than, say, Vladimir Guerrero.
Without running too far off point, baseball played a huge role in getting me through that horrible period of my life. The one constant throughout my life, from the time I was 4 to now, has always been baseball. The game has always allowed me to immerse myself in its rich history, its oddball statistics—and, now, in my work.
So now to you guys. I do not know when my next baseball related column will run. It is my goal to get through the surgery and post a real article by the end of the month. It won’t be another transaction monkey story nor will it be another non-baseball self-introspection piece. I would ideally like to talk about something triumphant and inspiring just before spring training begins.
I have always used this space as a place to tell stories about the business as much as I can. Everything from personal anecdotes to general advice. It was never my intention to “pull back the curtain,” but that’s what this has become to a point. Obviously, this column does not interfere with my job and there are some subjects I just can’t touch, but with that being said I am quite proud at how honest I have gotten to be here. I long feared a negative blowback from the column but, fortunately, that has not been an issue, at least to any point where it has negatively impacted my career. So I’m looking forward to telling more stories about my life and career as soon as I can. Who knows, maybe I can turn all these stories into a book—I’ve already been pitched a reality show idea. I have to finish up free agency, all my marketing stuff, then get ready for the spring.
I just can’t wait until I am past all this medical stuff and I can get back to focusing on my family and baseball. I can’t wait to start writing content again and connecting with so many great fans on here or on Twitter. I reread this and I know it reads like a band breakup note or Kurt Cobain’s suicide note, but that is not what I wanted to do. I just wanted to give you guys a heads up to what is going on in a way I could never do on social media, and to thank everyone for their support. Your reading of my column and your comments mean so much more than any of you will know. I reply to every single one of the comments left and it really is a joy for me to interact with such passionate fans. So again, thank you. I shall return soon. Peace, love, empathy, Joshua Kusnick.
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