Professional athletes are often seen as vain, greedy, primadonnas. The Colorado Rockies -- who seem poised to advance to the National League Championship Series -- have gone against type.
When a team makes the playoffs, it earns a 'bonus' from Major League Baseball, tied to how far the squad advances. The players decide among themselves who's entitled to a share of the pot. They award shares among players who spent the entire year with the team, players who were traded, trainers, etc.
The Colorado Rockies have voted to award a playoff share to the widow of a coach on one of the team's minor league affiliates, who was killed by a line-drive during a game:
On July 22, Double-A Tulsa coach Mike Coolbaugh, 35, died after being hit in the neck with a line drive while coaching.
Few players on the Rockies knew Coolbaugh, who joined the organization in early July, but last week, they unanimously voted his widow a full playoff share that could be more than $350,000 if the Rockies win the World Series.
"I'm completely shocked in a good way," Coolbaugh said. "I don't even know the correct words to use. I know Mike would feel very honored and proud. This would mean a lot to him, and it means a lot to our family."
Coolbaugh said her due date is in two weeks, but her "doctor was saying with stress and everything," the baby could arrive sooner. Mandy also is the mother of two sons, Joseph, 5, and Jacob, who turned 4 last month.
The boys will throw out the first pitch before Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Saturday at Coors Field...
Teams with a chance to play in the postseason typically meet late in the regular season to decide whom to allot full shares, partial shares and cash awards.
Rockies player representative Josh Fogg brought up the possibility of giving Mandy Coolbaugh a full share, although Fogg would not take credit for the idea.
"We felt as a team it was the right thing to do," Fogg said. "We're obviously happy with the decision."
I'm not sure that it's about the money -- although the pregnant widow of a career minor leaguer can probably use it. To me it's more about the fact that the team remembered and honored a guy that few of them ever met.
Good for the Colorado Rockies.