Henry Wofford/Eyewitness Sports
Indianapolis - A former major league pitcher is back in Indianapolis following a tough personal battle.
Ian Snell returned to Indianapolis last week, back to the friendly confines of Victory Field.
"It's something about this stadium that brings out the best of me. I threw a no-hitter here a couple of years ago," he said. "The fans. It felt really good to be welcome."
With a 96 MPH fastball, he wasn't in Indianapolis for long. Snell has major league talent and that's where he's been the past four years. But earlier this month, he shocked the Pittsburgh Pirates' front office.
"I just made a decision for myself, for my career and better for my life, so why not do it now than wait for later, until everything really blows up?" Snell said after a game in Pittsburgh June 24.
The right hander asked the Pirates manager for a demotion to the minor leagues.
"Whatever anyone thinks, that's totally fine," Snell said in the interview.
"Well, since we never played baseball, maybe you can explain it to us, pal?" a reporter asked.
"I'm just going to get my thoughts together, pal," Snell replied. "You know? I'm not your pal."
The Pirates agreed to send Snell back to the Indians. Sunday, he blew away the competition in his first start with Indianapolis. After walking the leadoff hitter, he struck out 13 straight batters and finished with 17 strikeouts in the game.
"I just wanted to come out and give them my best and try my best, because I had a lot of things going through my head," Snell told Eyewitness News. "A lot of demons to get out of me. The best way to do it is go out and pitch."
But Triple-A hasn't been much of a challenge for Snell. But why is he playing at this level? Snell says he's doing it to save his life. A month ago, he says he contemplated suicide.
"Sometimes people do stupid stuff and I had to fight it, not to do something stupid and take my life for myself and from my family and my parents," he said.
He says, emotionally, he hit rock bottom and has been battling depression. When he had bad games with the Pirates, negative comments from the media or on the Internet bothered him, so he wanted to leave Pittsburgh.
"I just want to say sorry to all the bloggers and media people for saying they don't know anything. But I didn't mean anything by it," Snell said. "I was just upset at the time."
He says family, friends and God helped him get back on track.
"Seek God and positive people around you and look for your true friends and they'll come out and support you," Snell said. "A lot of people support me right now. I'm just grateful, because if I didn't have them, I probably wouldn't be standing here right now."
Snell is learning to live life again and striking out is not an option.
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