Game 24 Open Thread: April 30, 2007

wells

suppan

1-4, 4.70

3-2, 2.97

fox sports midwest will air a one-hour tribute to josh hancock before tonight's game; it's a 6:05 p.m. (central time) start time tonight, so tune in to FSN at 5 o'clock.

one of the hosts of that show, joel goldberg, sent me a nice anecdote today about hancock:

My producer, Brad Strabinger, is a lifelong St. Louisan and diehard Cardinal fan. Brad, Josh and I hang out quite a bit on the road. When the parade took place after the World Series, Brad and his friends attended. Hancock was sitting in the truck he would ride in for the parade, and had no family or friends in town with him. So he asked Brad and his friends if they wanted to ride in the parade with him. Brad calls it the greatest day of his life. Imagine, getting to ride the parade route with a World Champion.

On a humorous note, when Hancock took the loss in that 12-inning game in San Francisco two weeks ago, I had about a 10-minute deadline to get LaRussa and a player for our postgame show. Josh was the only one at his locker, so I went to interview him. He has steam coming out of his ears as I'm sticking a microphone in his face; you think he is happy with me for asking him about his former teammate Rich Aurilia? Aurilia had just told me it helped knowing Josh's tendencies, so "Hanc" is pissed. But I had a job to do, and he and I discussed a long time ago that win or lose, I gotta ask the questions. And he said he would always talk, although I preferred avoiding the scowl on his face directed at me.

We finish the interview, and I send him a text message 10 minutes later thanking him for doing it. I know he is pissed, but he'll forgive me tomorrow. 30 minutes later, I get a funny text from Josh --- I know everything is cool.

"Just wanted to pass along some thoughts, because most people really don't know much about my friend," joel adds. he says hancock "was ultra competitive on the field, but off it he had an ability to make people laugh and, most importantly, a heart of gold. . . . I guarantee every Cardinal fan would have loved to sit down with him. He had time for everyone, no matter whether you were a reliever, a broadcaster, or a fan."

thanks to joel for sharing those vignettes with the VEB community. those of us who knew josh merely as a pitcher are sad today; those who knew him as a person are heartbroken.

after darryl kile died, it took a long time before i watched baseball with my accustomed intensity. when st louis got bounced from the '02 playoffs, and again when they were eliminated from contention in '03, co-workers and friends would utter sympathetic words, and i would just shrug and say, "whatever; at least nobody died." it took something truly incredible, something i'd never seen before --- the three months of .700+ baseball the cardinals played in 2004 --- to get my full attention back. i was a new father when kile died, pretty vulnerable emotionally; now i'm a seasoned parent and about as cuddly as a catfish. i don't know how i'll react this time. i know i'll keep watching, and i'll keep writing up what i see; tomorrow or the next day or the day after that it'll be business as usual around here. it won't mean all of us have forgotten; it's just that nothing ever happens the way it's supposed to, but you still gotta keep your appointments. things could always be worse. and for somebody somewhere, they probably are.

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