There is a certain segment of the population that looks upon the pursuit of, let alone the arm’s length enjoyment of, stick and ball sports with amused disdain. I feel sorry for those people. Does it border on insanity that some of us allow so much of our existence to ride on the outcome of a season or a game or a pitch? Sure. But I can’t tell you how many friendships I’ve developed and much genuine joy and fulfillment I’ve taken from playing and following baseball, basketball, football, and more.
Sometimes, though, the attachment to a sport and the athletes who play it is anything but enjoyable. Such was the case when we found out Sunday morning about the untimely passing of Jose Fernandez. My knowledge of him is anecdotal at best, but I think that to watch Hernandez pitch was to know him. With a smile that dulled the lights of South Beach and boundless energy that recharged those around him, he was a guy you just had to love.
Take, for instance, this GIF that’s been making the rounds again today. You can’t help but smile when Hernandez only does more of the same in answer to Troy Tulowitzki’s perplexed question.
One of baseball’s brightest lights has been extinguished far too soon and it sucks. I guess I could have been more poetic about it, I just can’t think of a better way to put it. And I can’t think of a better way to honor this man’s life than to enjoy the hell of this upcoming Cubs game and to smile a little more often. My sincere hope is that you are able to do the same.