Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Checking in, Jim Thome, Mo Rivera & Rico Petro

Whew. I haven't checked in in a while and it been a pretty eventful couple of months!

I missed an opportunity to congratulate Jim Thome on his 600th Home Run. Thome is one of the last few guys who's still old-school when it comes to the role that athletes should play in the community and he's always been a class act as a teammate on and off the field. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving player. (And given most of the recent 600 clubber's, other than Junior, I'd say it HASN'T since Willie Mays!)

I was saddened to hear about the passing of both Hideki Irabu and Mike Flanagan, both from suicides. Both men saw great highs in their careers, pitching for World Championship teams. Neither should have looked back at their lives with any regrets, but you can never foretell what challenges life will throw at you and how equipped any one person will be to face them. It's a shame that this happened, but I hope that both men have found peace, small consolation as that may be to the loved ones they leave behind. What a shame.

I'd like to congratulate Marino Rivera on breaking the All-Time Save record last night. I'd have been a little sore if the record was still Lee Smith's (who I was a big fan of) but since it was Trevor Hoffman's (who I respect, but... meh, he was a National Leaguer.... LOL) I can tip my hat to guy who beat us (the Red Sox) often enough, even if we had his number more so than any other team. (2004, baby!) Anyway, there are not many Yankees I'll tip my cap to, but Rivera (along with Derek Jeter) is truly deserving. That I cannot deny. Also... It seems that he did to Trevor Hoffman what Smith did to Jeff Reardon a generation ago: Just as it is largely forgotten that Reardon held the All-Time Saves Record for just a single year, few may remember (years from now) that Hoffman also held that title at some point, being that it was also for such a short time. BUT... that's how it goes. I'd put all four of them in the Hall of Fame, but I don't get a vote. (And... that might be a good thing!)

Finally, I had a phone conversation just now that I'm not going to forget for quite awhile. As my father and I were driving beck to his house just now, a friend of his called and asked to speak to me. And when I picked up the phone, Rico Petrocelli was on the other line! No kidding! I was blown away. I was only three years old when he retired, so I never saw him PLAY, of course, but I'm a HUGE fan of Rico from all the history - He was part of the Impossible Dream in '67, in fact he caught the final out of the regular season, the day they clinched the division; in '69 he hit 40 Home Runs as a Shortstop, an American League record that stood until 1998 and (unless I've forgotten someone) remain the A.L. Record for any Shortstops not named "Alex Rodriguez;" in '75 he had a slow regular season, but tagged the Big Red Machine for a .308 Average in the World Series, playing flawless defense at Third along the way; and you know what? He's a hell of a nice guy! So we talked about the Red Sox for a while - how they're doing their best to make a pennant race out things this year, and he told me about his blog: Petrocelli Sports, so, not that he needs my help, there you go, check it out. Anyway, it's not every day you get to talk to one of you childhood idols, so that was... pretty cool.

And here's hoping he was right, and that the Sox will manage to pull it out this year. I'd really like to irritate my co-workers back in Detroit a bit, should there be a Tigers-Red Sox series sometime this October.

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