Chad Zurcher announced on Monday, that he contacted the Mets organization to inform them he was retiring from the game.
As soon as I heard the news, I reached out to him and asked Chad if he would be comfortable in sharing some of the details that led him to his decision to walk away from the game which has been a part of his life for most of his life.
“The decision to retire from baseball was very difficult. I have played for so many years, since I was 4 or 5 years old. I do not recall a summer without baseball. It was a decision that was in my best interest going forward though.”
“I wrestled with it for many nights during my last stint while injured in August and throughout this off-season,” Zurcher said. “It was difficult to leave an organization like the Mets who handle their business great. Their belief in me is something I will always remember. A first class organization.”
It wasn’t just one injury that kept the 25-year old Zurcher from the field. “It was more of a result of multiple injuries than it was one specific injury. I had my right shoulder fixed in 2009, missed 2012 with surgery on my left shoulder, and this past season I tore cartilage in my wrist in April. After returning from that injury, my right shoulder began bothering me again. I was hoping the wrist would recover with rest in the off season, but it has not.”
Even with multiple injuries, he continued to battle through hoping that his body would react better, but it just became worse, “It became apparent when my shoulders would bother me on and off during normal activities and the wrist stayed painful. The injuries were the main reason because it took some desire away missing all those games. It became such a problem that I realized if I were to get banged up again that it would just crush me and be too hard to keep playing,” says Zurcher.
The competition that an athlete faces each and every season, helps to build the competitiveness in their blood, but the camaraderie that they build amongst their teammates, is what creates a life long impression. “What I will miss most is competing and the friendships I built along the way. I will miss competing with my teammates against the opponents and competing with myself. Baseball is a challenging game, and if you are not competing daily with others and yourself to get better, then you will be left behind.”
“I will miss the friendships during the season and playing along side them, but I think I have created lifelong friends that I know I can talk to all the time. These friendships were created to last longer than just during the baseball season and during our careers.”
Making a sudden change to a career, can sometimes be a daunting decision, but Zurcher created a path to lead him to other goals, “I have a general direction of what I want to do. I definitely want to stay around sports, and that is what I am currently doing. I am interning in Arena Operations at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.” He continues, “Working in a collegiate athletic department or for a professional organization would be ideal. There is always the possibility of coaching baseball in my future as well. Also, I know through my faith that my path has already been laid out for me as long as I stay on the correct track. Jeremiah 29:11 assures me of this.”
Looking back, he knows that there are no regrets, maybe missed opportunities, but a new path will open up, and old memories will always be a part of his life. “I felt like I did well when I had my opportunity, especially after missing a year. I wish I could have found a way to stay healthy. I tried for years during high school, college and pro ball to get bigger and stronger, but it was always a challenge for me. I wish I could have done that better. I do not know if it would have helped because the strongest and most in shape I had ever been was right before the 2012 season.”
“All in all, I have zero regrets because I feel like for the past 20 years I gave it my all, competed night in and night out, created tons of lifelong friendships, and genuinely cared about those who touched my life. I hope I touched theirs as well.”
A special note from Chad Zurcher:
I appreciate you taking the time to allow me to explain the past few years a little more. I want to thank you for the support and being so kind. I will continue reading your articles because I am interested in seeing how my former teammates do and how the Mets continue to grow.
Thank You Chad for your time. Mets fans will remember your dedication both on and off the field, and we at MMO and MMN wish you much success in your new journey.