Look at Tim Beckham, and you can see anything you want.
You can see pain, you can see hope, you can see promise, or you can see disappointment.
What you don't want to see is a closed book.
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The Tampa Bay Rays infielder is, after all, just 25.
But it seems as if he turned 25 long ago.
Time moves quickly when you are having fun. It can slow to a crawl when life is all about hurdling obstacles.
Beckham was the first overall pick in the 2008 baseball amateur draft.
The Georgia native had stardom written all over him. You could see a little Ozzie Smith, Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, heck even Honus Wagner if you wanted to open up the archives.
That was then. This is now.
Beckham has had eight major-league plate appearances. He is in camp fighting for the shortstop job or anything that will land him on this year's big-league roster.
Beckham can be many things to many people. He is the reason scouts get hired and fired and teams get nervous when they have to hand out big bonus money to 18-year-old kids.
At one time, Beckham was the Six Million Dollar Man, thanks to the Rays.
Unfortunately this is baseball, not football or basketball, where athleticism is often the criteria for success.
If you can't hit a breaking ball, athleticism can only carry you so far.
Beckham is part a victim of misfortune and part a victim of himself.
He missed almost a full season in 2014 because of an ACL tear. He missed 50 games in 2012 because of a positive drug test, which some reports said was marijuana.
When he was a 12-year-old Little Leaguer, Beckman was so impressive an umpire asked for his autograph. He was hitting tape-measure homers in high school and at 14 was batting over .400 against guys who were old enough to vote.
He arguably could've been a Division I receiver or a point guard for an elite team. Instead, he chose baseball.
As a high school sophomore, a day after basketball season ended, he suited up for a high school baseball game and homered. He didn't play basketball as a junior and compiled a .512 batting average. Oh, and he had a 3.0 GPA.
Now he is 25 and the clock is moving fast. He has reached that fork in the road where the wrong turn can take you past the point of no return.
He is battling Nick Franklin and Asdrubal Cabrera and Logan Forsythe for a middle-infield spot. Eight years ago, Vegas would've taken this fight off the boards.
But that was then. This is now.
Beckham is fighting a past he says he doesn't think about. The one constant you hear about Beckham is that he is a hard worker.
He says he is just glad to have an opportunity. He is a positive thinker who seems close to one of those feel good stories.
Those same scouting reports that once put him on Mount Olympus now have him draped in question marks. There is talent, and Beckham is only 25. But he is in a race against the clock.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.