Saved by an Angel
Before you hang up the phone, put this in the ole' mental cement. This is not going to be a heart-felt ramble of life being precious and it was "too soon". No weepy piano songs playing in the background - save that for The Masters- or life lessons to post on your Facebook status. It wasn't the tragedy that marked yesterday in history. It was the events that followed.
Thanks to 24/7 news coverage, most people had their beaks within striking distance of a flat screen or monitor as the ticker rolled with the red flash " Breaking News." They watched and wondered as the story of Junior Seau's death was strewn across the networks. Such a powerful event, even the suspension of four Saint's players, former and current, for their roles in the "Bounty Program," and their lame statements following the judgment was swept under the rug to the journalistic idea, "if it bleeds it leads." It was a dark day in the sports world. But, the day was young. Enter an old man - stage left.
Only a few hours later, after several hundred re-runs of NFL Live, another breaking news story flashed. Jason Giambi became the second oldest player to ever hit a walk-off home run. It was a welcomed sight, cutting the monotony of NFL players being interviewed and the term "buddy, buddy" being repeated like a bad Jay-Z song during spring break. Sports to the rescue. It gave reason to crack a beer, and celebrate, unless you were a Dodgers fan. But, the day was still young. Enter another old man - stage right.
At the same time Jared Weaver started warming up the wing, another story broke back on the right coast. A chipper story. The second walk-off home run by a player in his forties? Chipper Jones? No!? Yes!! Crack another beer, the old man still has it in him. Head shakes were now being replaced with hand shakes. But, the day was still young, thanks to a 3-hour time difference. The final act, enter Jared Weaver.
It was fitting the final breaking news of the day happened just a short trip from Oceanside, CA. Angels stadium was buzzing in the 9th inning. There were a few close calls and lucky breaks in the innings before, but the hits flickered, " Zero." Even non- Angel fans, like me, were on the edge of the couch watching every pitch and every swing. Then it happened. A deep, fly ball to right, Hunter goes back, to the track, he catches it. A no-hitter! Crack one final beer, or finish the one you bought in the 7th inning, this was a hell of a day!
It wasn't until the post-coverage, which most didn't get to see, that I realized what a great moment, at a fitting time this was. Jared Weaver, unlike the stone-cold demeanor expected by athletes, was crying. His father popped down from the stands and embraced him. The camera panned the cheering fans of Angel stadium, catching a few "55" Chargers jersey's and smiles of people that awoke to the news of a local hero's death a few hours earlier. It was a welcomed ending to a horrid beginning.
May 2, 2012, and incredible day in sports. Good and bad.