Last night, Red Sox DH David Ortiz had his number retired by the Boston Red Sox.
If you follow baseball at all, You're probably aware of his accomplishments and at least around this part of the country, there is no doubt that he's headed for the hall of fame.
I know we're not a sports blog, but I can't help myself today.
We've got to go back a ways for this, so bear with me. Having been born and raised in this city, of course it's a natural for me to follow the Carmine Hose. Many generations of my family have had their hopes and dreams crushed by those men. My own crushing came at the hands of Bill Buckner in 1986; despite 30 years and three World Series wins, that still burns.
The year before, I had been caught up in the entire Pete Rose chasing Ty Cobb business, so I had already been following the Reds. Once the Sox folded, I swore them off and became a Reds fan, which was rewarded by a World Series sweep in 1990.
Then came the 1994-1995 baseball strike.
It was almost unthinkable. An entire summer without the American Pastime? I gave up. Like most Americans, I called them all "greedy bastards" and swore off the game.
But not for long. I paid little attention to the game most of that 1995 season. Until an Oriole by the name of Cal started getting closer to one of the "unbreakable" records of the game.
Like most of the country, I watched that game on September 6, 1995 - the number on the facade changed from 2,130 to 2,131 and Cal Ripken became immortal.
But I didn't forgive baseball because of that. Nay, it was the on-field ceremony that truly did me in. Baseball and Team dignitaries made their pithy speeches, and awards were handed out. Then my heart stopped. Joe DiMaggio walked onto the field, and it wasn't lost on me that Joe had played with Lou Gehrig and was now passing the torch to Cal.
No sport that is so in tune with it's own history can possibly be that bad. It was truly cathartic - and I forgave everything that night and became a raging baseball fan all over again. Certain readers of this blog may savor the irony that it was the Yankee Clipper that made everything right again for Your Loyal TriSec.
Last night, the Red Sox pulled off a similar moment. The team had never retired many numbers, but in recent years they have become a little more lax in their own policy. A mere 9 numbers were on the right field wall, alongside Jackie Robinson's #42 in Dodger Blue. A tenth number went up last night.
Every living player who had their number on the wall was present last night, all of them in their old jerseys. Only two didn't show up; Carlton Fisk (who always does his own thing) and Bobby Doerr, who at age 99 is the oldest living baseball player and was too frail to travel.
I didn't shed a tear this time, but once again baseball got it right, and another legend rides off into the sunset. Play Ball!!