Chase Lambin: Hangin’ Em Up

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by Ed Tsunoda on October 4, 2014

My friend, former Mets prospect, and NYFS favorite Chase Lambin, The Great Lambino, has announced his retirement from professional baseball. Chase’s career came to end last night as his club the Sugarland Skeeters lost the league championship game and their season came to a close. Chase sent this letter today announcing his retirement, and thanking fans, friends, family and teammates.

Hangin’ Em Up – By Chase Lambin

As the old adage says, “All good things must come to an end.” Well, after 1,363 games, 5,149 plate appearances, and 1,191 hits, I have made the decision to hang up my cleats and retire from playing professional baseball.

Many an ex-teammate has said to me after their retirement, “Ride it till the wheels fall off Chase. Because once it’s over, it’s over.” Well I listened. My wheels may not be completely off, but there are a lot of miles on these tires, and they are running pretty low. My body just doesn’t do what it used to do. I’ve always said that if I couldn’t play to the level I’m accustomed to, then it was time to walk away. And I’m okay with it. I’m more than okay with it. I have been BLESSED beyond measure. My cup has runneth over with good times and good fortune. I have chased the coolest of dreams for the past 13 years, allowing me to travel the world, meet the most amazing cast of characters you could ever imagine, and push my mind and body to levels that most people could only dream of.

I can honestly say that I played, prepared, and competed as hard as I possibly could have. I always respected the game and tried to have as much fun as possible. (Even when the game kicked me in the guts, and God knows how many times this game has brought me to my knees.) I got back up every time I was knocked down, and will be able to look my two beautiful children in the eye one day and say, “Dada never gave in, and Dada never gave up.” I can look in the mirror and know that I played the game the right way, leaving it all on the field, and have zero regrets.

Although I will dearly miss squaring up a 95 mph fastball or making a diving play, what I will really miss are the little things. The stories on the bus, talking hitting in the cages, the pre game handshakes, the smell of popcorn and fresh cut grass, the top step of the dugout, “Put me in coach” blaring over the speakers, seeing a kid’s face light up after signing a ball, a good fitting uniform, wearing eye black on a sunny day, the scraped knees and callused hands, the high fives after a big win, and the dog piles and champagne showers. But what I will probably miss most of all, is the clubhouse and just hangin with the guys.

It’s where I am most comfortable and free. It’s where I am at ease and at peace. I don’t know what could ever replace the feeling of being completely at home while “at work.” To all my teammates and coaches I had the pleasure of playing with and learning from over the years: It’s you who I will think of when I reflect on the past 13 years. It’s you who have filled my heart and soul with so many laughs and so much love. It’s you who helped mold me into the man I am today. Please know that you are all my brothers, and have a very special place in my heart. Tadlock, Robe, Mac, HoJo, Bobby V, Bates, Brad, Bear, Bowser, Ben, Burnham, Bacani, Byard, Gil, D-Wright, Simmons, Sulti, Dunc, Monty, Knick, EJ, Cervy, D-Mart, Quintin, Press, Whealy, Kole, McGinley, Hip-Hop, Bynum, Fletch, CC, Delaney…there are just too many to name. Thank you guys for grinding it out with me. You are all true warriors. I love you all.

I thank my parents and brother for instilling a work ethic and mentality that has served me my entire career. Y’all taught me how to outwork the rest and to be strong and tough in the face of adversity. Y’all have relentlessly supported my dream for over 30 years! Wow! What a lucky man I am to have had such an awesome upbringing, filled with so much love and encouragement. I love you guys. I sincerely thank all of the friends and family who supported my journey. Following me through all the minor league cities and even overseas to Japan. Your kind words and heartfelt support has filled my sails all these years. Chasing my dream was much easier because of you. Thank you.

To my amazing and graceful wife Sara, Thank You. You have ridden this crazy roller coaster with me for so many years. You have been by my side through every 0-4, every error, and every tough loss. You squealed at my big hits and applauded my good plays. But no matter what happened in the game, you always had a hug and kiss for me, and you ALWAYS had my back. You are by far the best teammate I have had in my career. I love you more than you know.

I was once asked by a teammate early in my career, if I didn’t make it to the big leagues, would I consider my career, “All for naught?” Without hesitation, I said, “No.” Life (and baseball) is about the journey, not the destination. And what an amazing journey it has been! Baseball is a microcosm for life. It teaches life lessons that I don’t think any other profession could teach. I look forward to teaching the lessons I have learned to my children and using those same lessons in my next profession. Thank you Baseball. Sara and I are looking forward to our next adventure. I’m not sure which direction God will lead us, but I trust his plan and am excited to see what the next chapter has in store for us. I just thank the Good Lord for making me a ball player. And I thank you all for taking this journey with me. I am, and have been, TRULY blessed. Big Love to all…See ya on down the road… Chase !

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