The 17-year-old daughter of Mark Budzinski, head coach of the Toronto Blue Jays, died in a pipe accident on the James River in Virginia over the weekend.
According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Julia Budzinki was dragged behind a boat in the river when she and another girl fell. The boat operator attempted to return to rescue Ms Budzinski, but a spokesperson for the Department of Wildlife Resources said the boat hit a wave and one of its propellers injured Ms Budzinski.
Ms. Budzinski, a rising student and multi-sport athlete at Glen Allen High School, was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital. There was a high school vigil with Mrs. Budzinski’s family on Sunday.
News of the tragedy reached Mr. Budzinski at the Rogers Center in Toronto as the Blue Jays were playing two-headed against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mr. Budzinski left the field in the third half of the match.
“My heart breaks for Bud,” Toronto director Charlie Montoyo He said After the match ends. “There are good men and great men. He’s a great guy. He’s a special kind of person. His family is wonderful. The only thing I can share about what happened is that he left a note for the team. He did it while going through a tragedy, and that tells you all about him.”
Mr. Budzinski, who played college baseball in Virginia at the University of Richmond, enjoyed a very brief Major League career – making four appearances as a player for the Cincinnati Reds in 2003 before returning to the minor leagues and retiring two years later.
Mr. Budzinski returned to Virginia to start his life outside of baseball after retiring, but returned to the game as a coach for the Cleveland Organization where he spent several years before joining the Blue Jays as the club’s first head coach in 2018. Budzinski remains away from the team to spend time with his family.
The Blue Jays held a moment of silence on the field and commemorated Ms. Budzinski before their game on Sunday.
“This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization, and we grieve alongside Bud and his family,” the stadium announcer said. “We ask that you keep Mark, Monica, Josh and Lily in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Mrs. Budzinski’s mother, Monica Budzinski, was clear about how she wanted her eldest daughter to be remembered.
“It was a very happy and joyful day on earth for her — unfortunately, obviously, right up to the end,” said Monica Budzinski. “But it was a happy last day, I had a good time, and that’s how I’m going to remember her, that’s how everyone should remember her: she loved life, she loved being outside, sports, everything.”