Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thanks man!

I've heard it a whole lot this morning and yesterday afternoon: Everyone has a Kirby story. Everyone has a memory that stands out from the rest. For some it's watching him play, for others it's simply watching him light up a room. He is that rare case of an athlete that nearly always out-performed his peers on the field, but will be remembered most for who he was off it. It's horribly cliche and it's the kind of thing that's said far to often, but I don't think anyone can argue that in this case it's totally deserved.

I think I speak for most guys my age, when I say that Kirby was THE guy. We all played the game where we jumped up against the wall to "rob homeruns" like Kirby. We all at one time or another, stepped up to the plate and tried to swing like Kirby too. I think as a fan, as someone who grew up looking up to a lot of athletes, you wanted to feel like you knew them. And again, this is what I think set Kirby apart from the rest. I never met him, never had a chance to hang out with him, or see him close-up. But there was something about him that made you always feel like he was your guy.

I could talk all day about some of my fave moments. I was at Game 6. The catch, the homerun, the fist pump. I remember high-fiving the drunk guy next to me about ten times. Milwaukee, 6 for 6. There's just so much. He could hit practically any pitch thrown at him, and usually the worse the pitch, the better the hit. People remember his catches so often. But I remember him pegging guys at home with his absolute canon of an arm.

So I don't mean to get too sentimental. I think people sometimes get overly-emotional and sentimental in times like this. He was just a guy. He played a game. But maybe for the first time in my life, I feel a little that way. He was a good guy, he was a great player. But I think it has more to do with how much he was a part of my childhood. In the good times. In those really crappy, awkward times. Spending time with my Dad. Spending time with my Mom and my Grandma, that's where I remember Kirby. And I'm never gonna forget it.

So touch 'em all my man, we're gonna miss ya!