Only two other times has there been a situation like Sunday evening where I wanted to push the reset button or wake up from a bad dream. I’ll forever remember where I was and the same drop in my stomach when told the news that mirrored 9/11 and 5/22. While I realize the accident that took Oscar Taveras away from us too soon doesn’t belong on that list, it hit me just as hard.
I was an active duty Marine when the Twin Towers were hit, and my reaction to Oscar’s passing was all-to-familiar. This probably seems odd to most, but baseball in a large part carried me back from Iraq three times. The 2014 season will be deemed a success, so it hurts to even have to type this — OT#18 and the right field lights being on still bring a tear to my eye.
My connection to the Cardinals is in many ways as emotional as anyone reading this. Calling the Southwest Missouri area home now, I became spoiled that ever since 2007 I could watch almost every pitch. Everything changed on a May afternoon nearly 3 1/2 years ago after the sirens went off for maybe the third time on my first wedding anniversary. The lost feeling and disbelief returned after the phone call that reminded me again how fragile life truly is.
Christi and I had family directly impacted by the Joplin Tornado, and that lasting impression is in many ways tied to the baseball teams in the state. Both St. Louis and Kansas City sent representatives down to help start that healing process, and the Royals did a nice job last night of showing how much Oscar impacted the other I-70 club.
When Daniel asked about doing the UCB Radio Show tonight, the NLCS loss was still fresh and talking about baseball wasn’t a huge priority. Out of respect for everything the Blogfather has done for me, I knew getting the gang back together for 30 minutes would not be an issue.
As I wrap this up, however, I’m struck by a simple sense of missing. The time tonight could never be enough to do justice for a man whose smile certainly was contagious and held the promise of greatness to come. I will always be thankful for getting to meet Taveras in Springfield. He was everything you would want in a future star, but 10/26 will never be the same.
Tune in tonight for what is sure to be an emotional ride and would love to hear your story about #18.