Monday, September 26, 2016


Yesterday was so much more than just being a Yankees fan....or even just a baseball fan. Yesterday was a reminder that there is a human element in baseball. The exciting post season chase at this time of year means nothing without the love and compassion that go with it. Some of us get to watch, listen or play for many years while some of us are taken far too early. I was reminded of that yesterday.

Vin Scully is the voice of baseball and there is no other way to put it. In 67 years he brought baseball into our lives. He was the voice of our parents and grandparents, our hopes and dreams. So as I watched and listened to the last home game Scully would ever call at Dodger stadium on Sunday it hit me.....this was the end of an era. No one else will ever be a Vin Scully. He is something that just can't be replicated. 

We have all seen some amazing games as sports fans, but Scully has seen things some of us never will. My grandfather died when I was very young, but I remember stories about the love he had for the then Brooklyn Dodgers. Scully has been announcing for the Dodgers since 1950 so he has seen the Dodgers evolve over the years. He saw Jackie Robinson break into baseball and watch the game transition from the tension we had years ago to where we are today. Between his days in Brooklyn and Los Angeles he has called about 9,000 baseball games. He's called 20 no-hitters, three perfect games and 12 All-Star games. Simply put he is a legend.

Scully will say goodbye to baseball ironically the same way he fell in love with the game....watching the Giants. The world fell in love with baseball as they tuned into their transistor radios to listen to Scully call a game. He is the voice that no one else can ever replicate. He will be missed in that booth next year and for Dodgers fans, games will never be the same.

While some of us get to walk away from the game on our own terms after long careers with life long memories some of us are not so lucky. The baseball world is also mourning the loss of Jose Fernandez, another baseball icon. This is a reminder of how short life is and how everyone has to go out everyday and give their all because tomorrow is never guaranteed to us. There isn't always another game tomorrow. Tragically early Sunday morning, Jose Fernandez lost his life in a boating accident.

We have been following Fernandez here at BYB for a long time now. We have always admired him because with his young talent....who wouldn't? But after hearing the news this morning I was brought back to reality that he was more than just a great young arm who had a very promising career ahead of him. MLB Network spoke with other players who also had fond memories of him. As I listened to David Ortiz talk about how much joy and energy and how he was always smiling. He really appreciated the opportunity to come here from Cuba and play the game he loved. It made me realize that he really touched a lot of people not only for his amazing gift, but for his spirit. Freddie Freeman shared his own stories of Fernandez saying just how approachable he was. He was always talking to everyone not only on the bench but players from other teams on the field. He brought a compassionate side into the game. He was a people person.

While the Marlins did not play yesterday other teams hung a Fernandez jersey in their dugout. I was touched to see Yoenis Cespedes hang a Mets jersey in the dugout with Fernandez written on the back of it.

As I listened to more stories from people working within the organization it hit me even harder. This was a 24-yea old young man who was about to be a father. I heard stories about how how amazed Fernandez was when he first came to the United States about automatic hand dryers and water faucets in a public bathroom. He had a real appreciation for the little things in life and took nothing for granted. It is a spirit like his that will be missed in such a great game. Like many have already expressed, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and the organization.

So yes, we lost two baseball greats yesterday. Baseball is more than just a game, Scully reminded us that it is the little pleasures in life like baseball that bring more life to our stories. Fernandez reminded us that life is precious and to enjoy what we have and never take it for granted. Baseball is just a game with many different outcomes, but there is always a deeper story then just a stupid game.

Fellow BYB writer Dan Lucia will have a powerful piece about more of this, specifically Jose Fernandez tomorrow. It's been chosen as tomorrow's BYB feature.  Please be sure to check it out.

 --Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer & Editor
  Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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