Sports Spotlight: Steve Adams – rediscovering the love for baseball
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Baseball has played a major role in the life of Larks Assistant Coach Steve Adams. He grew up idolizing the Reds, played college baseball, then got into coaching. All that came to a halt in 2020.
The game of baseball can be one of the most rewarding sports to take part in. For Bismarck Larks Assistant Coach Steve Adams, the game brought him to North Dakota nearly three decades after he first picked up a glove.
“I started young. I started at three or four. I just loved baseball, grew up with the Reds. Grew up around Cincinnati. Barry Larkin was my hero, I wanted to be Barry. We traveled. Traveled the world playing ball,” said Adams.
Adams took the game he loved and turned it into fruitful opportunities, joining one of the best JUCO programs in the country at Miami Hamilton.
“Great program, great program. Actually my best friend growing up, my parent’s next door neighbors to this day, went to the same school and we became roommates,” said Adams.
He had found the right place to continue ball, and toward the end of his time in Hamilton, Major League Baseball was on the table... but a flurry of injuries made Steve’s post-grad plans much more clear.
“Went from torn tendons, broke a couple ribs. It was back to back to back. Hurt my knee, then my back went out. I was okay with it. I was ready for my next step in coaching, that’s really what I wanted to do. As soon as I finished surgery and it wrapped up, I went straight into coaching there at Miami Hamilton,” said Adams.
He spent a decade teaching and mentoring ball players in positions he had been in years prior. In 2020, Steve’s life changed drastically when he found out his best friend, Marcus Binoeder, was rushed to the hospital.
“I got a phone call that they were bringing him to the hospital, they thought he had a stroke,” Adams said. “We found out that night he had a brain tumor. It was hard to see. It was really hard to see him. We decided I was going to help. Everyday I’d go pick him up, for radiation, or chemo, or whatever terrible day he had coming. Helping him get around, him being a big guy, my back was getting worse. I just kind of dealt with it. One day, it was really bad. I went to the doctor, found a shadow on my heart, and found out that I had cancer.”
PART TWO: The last thing you heard from Bismarck Larks assistant coach Steve Adams in part one of this week’s Sports Spotlight was a surprising cancer diagnosis while taking care of his best friend who was also battling a brain tumor. Here’s part two of Steve Adams’ story.
In March of 2021, Adams was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that develops in cartilage cells.
“That was a shock. I had two kids. Marcus had two kids. I didn’t want to tell him. I didn’t tell him for a couple months because he was getting toward the end. It broke my heart. It was a long, rough battle, but it was nothing compared to Marcus’,” said Adams.
His best friend Marcus passed away September 17th, 2021 at the age of 43, two and a half months after Steve underwent his surgery. Doctors said it was a miracle that Steve’s cancer didn’t spread further than his vertebrae.
“They took the rib out and kind of put me back together. My son, Logan, he was my drive. He wanted to go on walks. He’d be like ‘Dad you’re not missing a walk let’s go.’ He’s four at the time. He’s like ‘Let’s go for a walk, let’s go for a walk!’ It became well I can’t let him down. Our walks became longer and longer. Then it became longer, then I would drop him off at the house and I would go longer,” said Adams.
While taking care of Marcus, the two connected on wanting to take a trip through the Dakota’s, Marcus’ favorite part of the country. Steve had been out of the game of baseball for close to a year and half, but just weeks after losing his best friend, an opportunity with the Bismarck Larks was too good to pass up.
“We always talked about the Dakotas, he loved the Dakotas. When this came up, it seemed like I had to do it. I had to come to Bismarck, North Dakota of all places. Inside my wallet, I have a fortune cookie. It says ‘Some day soon you’re going to go on a trip with friends’ and that was my thing. One day we’re going to go on a trip together. All this will be in our past, and we’ll go on a trip together. It’s still in my wallet. It’s like we are together, and going on a trip. To Bismarck,” said Adams.
Through all the difficulties, his love for baseball took a backseat. But when the possibility to coach again was dropped in his lap, Steve took it as a chance to feel alive again.
“I lost the love for baseball for a while. Baseball became a job,” Adams said. “But here, every time I’m out here I’m smiling. I smile so much. I send pictures back to my family and they all say the same thing, ‘You look so happy’, and I am happy. I am happy to be back around baseball again. Baseball is fun. I say it in the dugout all the time, baseball is fun. I hope every single one of these kids understands what they have, and what they have coming ahead of them.”
Steve said his wife Kaleigh has been his rock, and that taking this trip to Bismarck with Marcus exceeds all other accolades he’s received through the game of baseball.
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