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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

November 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Reaction about the death of Greg Halman

Posted by Seattle Times staff

Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, 24, was stabbed to death Monday in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Here are thoughts and reaction from the Mariners and beyond:

Mariners pitcher Dan Cortes:

"It just ripped my heart out, man. It was just a blow to my gut. He was like a big brother to me. It just worked out that way. The way we joked around, helped each other out.

"I've just been pacing around here not knowing what I'm doing. I can't even eat right now. I can't do anything. I'm just sitting around and waiting to see if I hear anything more. I'm just devastated."

Free-agent pitcher David Aardsma:

"It's obviously a tragedy, but as a guy, as a teammate, he was great. On days when he was down, he never really showed it. He was always smiling and working hard."

Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo:

"I remember him from my first time with the Mariners when he was still just a baby. No, no. This is terrible news. He was a great kid. A great baseball player. Everybody loved him. He was just one of the guys. He was a great, young kid. In a couple of years, he would have been a great player."

Free-agent infielder Adam Kennedy:

"A lot of us older guys got to know him real well because he was one of those younger guys who was eager to listen and eager to learn. I don't know whether they're shy about it or what, but he was just one of the guys. He seemed happy all the time and was just a fun guy to be around. This is just devastating news."

Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley:

"He was the most athletic guy on the team. I mean, he could just hit the ball a mile in batting practice and get to balls hit all over."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge:

"I only knew Greg for a brief time, but I feel lucky that I had the chance to get to know him. He was a fine young man with a bright future. Greg had a tremendous energy about him, both on and off the field, that I loved. This is just tragic. That's all I can think, that this is so tragic and sad."

Mike Nicotera, Halman's agent:

"I'm hurting. I've talked to a number of players who knew Greg and played with Greg and were friends with Greg, and they're hurting, too.

"When I think of Greg, I think of a big smile, energetic, full of life, joking around, faithful. He was a very faithful kid. It's just hard for me to wrap my head around. It will take a long time to wrap my head around it. It's difficult for me to even talk about Greg in the past tense.

"He was a man of faith. A man who believed in prayer and taking care of his family. We talked a number of times about him being able to help his family out and to get them into a better situation than he grew up in He wanted better things for his family, and he was going to work to get them.

"I had no doubts Greg could be an impact-type player. He was young and developing, and never one that shied away from working at it. God gave him a lot of gifts, and he was trying to maximize those. It's just so sad."

Former Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron, who had dinner with Halman at spring training in 2009 when he was playing for Milwaukee:

"He had seen me playing in Seattle, and he even had a pair of my old shoes they had given him. He didn't wear them; he kept them in a box in his room. It's kind of crazy how you touch people and you don't even know it.

"He was a little bigger than me, but he was kind of on the same career path, coming up through the minor leagues. We had a good talk, and the next thing I know, I saw him in the major leagues. He had struggled really bad one year. I kind of told him, 'Your talent is always going to be there. It's going to be about how you put it together mentally and how you approach it.' It was good to see he had a chance to put it all together. I think he was about to come into his own as a player. He was very spirited and high strung -- real spirited about what he was doing. It's so crazy what happened."

Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, who was born in Holland:

"Our condolences to Greg Halman's family in Holland. He played well for us in the WBC in 2009. He had a lot of promise in baseball and life."

Robert Eenhorn, technical director of the Dutch baseball association, and a former major leaguer:

"The only thing I can say right now is we are deeply shocked. All our thoughts are with his family and how they are going to have to deal with this tremendous loss."

Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association:

"Greg was passionate about the game of baseball and generously gave of himself to share his passion with others in an attempt to help grow the sport's popularity across Europe. He will be sorely missed."

Bud Selig, MLB commissioner:

"The loss of a talented 24-year-old young man like Greg, amid such tragic circumstances, is painful for all of us throughout the game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to the entire Mariners organization and to all those whose lives were touched by Greg."

Aaron Artman, Tacoma Rainiers president:

"Greg was a huge part of the Rainiers during his time here in Tacoma, and played a pivotal role -- on the field -- in our run to the 2010 Pacific Coast League championship," Rainiers president Aaron Artman said in a release. "But far more important than what he did on the field, was his personality off the field.

"He had a huge smile on his face, every day, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He just had a way about him that made our front office staff and fans see a guy who clearly loved what he was doing.

"We miss Greg, already, and our prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and the Mariners organization."

Joint statement released by Mariners chairman Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Jack Zduriencik:

"The Mariners family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Greg Halman. Greg was a part of our organization since he was 16 and we saw him grow into a passionate young man and talented baseball player. He had an infectious smile that would greet you in the clubhouse, and he was a tremendous teammate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg's family."

Former major league slugger Bobby Bonilla, now with the MLB Players' Association, accompanied Halman on the recent European tour:

"He was trying to give back,'' Bonilla said. "He was doing stuff in his native country and just thrilled about it. He was very excited about the clinics he was doing over there.''

On Halman, he added: "We talked about a lot of things. Baseball, a little bit about life. He wanted to pick my brain about hitting. I'm in shock right now, to be honest with you. I just can't believe this happened.''

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