Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Mark Budzinski recently announced he would be stepping away from the organization temporarily due to the unfortunate circumstance of his eldest daughter Julia suddenly passing away.
At the young age of 17, Julia Budzinski lost her life following a boating accident in Virginia. Given this substantial loss, the franchise held a moment of silence for the teenager during last week’s game at Rogers Centre.
“This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family,” Toronto’s general manager Ross Atkins expressed in a statement. “I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts.”
Last Saturday, Budzinski exited the dugout and left the game. He was followed closely by Charlie Montoyo, the manager of the Blue Jays. Following his absence, Montoyo explained that his own son was born with a rare heart defect and understands that grief outweighs baseball.
“It’s not about me, but I always got the pictures of my son (on my desk) because I know life could always be worse,” he shared during an interview with The Atheltic. “The moment that happened, my heart’s with Bud. The game? We got enough coaches that can do their job, so that’s why my job was to be with Mark.”
Montoyo included the sentiments, “There are good men and great men. He is a great man. Everybody would ache for anybody. But he’s a special kind of person.”
Remembering the short-lived life of Julia Budzinski
Julia Budzinski was a senior at Glen Allen High School, where she dominated in her three sports of choice: volleyball, soccer, and basketball. In addition, she was named Vice President of the National Honor Society as well as a leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
According to her obituary, “Julia poured her soul into games, inspired by her passion to help her teammates and desire to win. She pushed herself to continually improve and be the very best she could be in everything she did.”
The 17-year-old was described as quick-witted and intellectual, a passion for knowledge evident in her classroom experiences. “Julia was a perfectionist, a fierce competitor, a social butterfly, a lover of sunsets (especially at the beach) and had a quick and sarcastic wit to match her curious mind,” her obituary read.
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