Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Just minutes before first pitch, I thought I’d share a voicemail I received today from a longtime fan, Don J. in Michigan. It never ceases to amaze me and humble me when I get emails, calls, messages etc. from fans of the White Sox and I hear just what an important role baseball and the Sox play in some people’s lives.
Don started to write me years ago, usually to ask for an organization-wide roster. I could tell from his hand-writing that he was older, and he mentioned that had served in the military. Over the years, I sent along media guides, schedules, rosters, stats, etc. and Don always offered his appreciation and thanks.
The letters turned into phone calls. Don usually asking about some of our younger players, offering his opinions on the club. It was just nice to hear from a fan who cared about his White Sox.
When I heard his voice today, it reminded me that I hadn’t heard from Don in March or April.
He sounded tired and a couple of sentences into his message, I heard the wheezing.
“I’ve had a tough go of it lately,” he said. “My health hasn’t been good. I’ve been tied to this oxygen hose. And my wife died this week. Now, I can’t attend her funeral because I can’t get around.”
OK, by now, I’m feeling awful for Don and am kicking myself that I missed his call.
“But I still get to watch the Sox,” he says. “We really need to start hitting, but I know we will.”
And with that, Don ended his call.
“I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be around,” he said. “If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know. I appreciate what you’ve done over the years, thank you.”
Wow. How is that for a two-minute voicemail/punch in the gut? Nothing like baseball, and more importantly our great fans, to always put things in perspective.
Don, I absolutely do hope and expect to hear from you again this summer. A White Sox season just won’t be the same without hearing your voice. We’ll have a whole new draft class to discuss in June.