Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And the baseball world gets a little smaller

Earlier this season, we lost the voice of Fenway when Carl Beane died.

Yesterday, we lost the heart of the Red Sox with the passing of Johnny Pesky.

Despite knowing that he couldn't possibly live forever, I didn't think the end would come this soon. My heart is broken. I'm sure many, many people can relate when I say I felt like Johnny Pesky was my grandfather.

Johnny always had a minute to spare for anyone who wanted one. I met him on a few occasions, and he was always wonderful and accommodating. Johnny once said that his autograph was worth about ten cents, and maybe he's right about that. The autograph may be worth ten cents, but the experience of getting to talk to him for even two minutes was priceless.

I cried when I heard. I always wondered what I would do when Johnny passed away. I didn't expect that the answer would be 'bawl like a giant baby and mess up dinner because I just couldn't properly roll arancini through my grief.' Dinner came out ok despite my inability to roll risotto, but it tasted sad. If you can taste the love put into a meal, you can taste the sadness behind it as well.

My boyfriend laughed at me last night. Maybe he was right to. I probably looked ridiculous sitting on the couch, clutching a tissue, with tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched the NESN special on Johnny. He said he didn't understand why I was getting so upset over the death of someone I didn't even know. I told him he didn't have to understand, he just had to accept.

It eases my grief a little that the last game Johnny attended was a win. Also knowing that he got to play such a prominent part in both the 100th anniversary celebration, Opening Day, and the World Series victories. I am thankful that the Red Sox officially declared the right field pole "Pesky's Pole" and retired his old number 6 while he was still around to see it. I don't think anyone loved the Red Sox, Fenway, or baseball more than Johnny Pesky, and now no one can ever separate Fenway and Johnny. His name, his fingerprints, his stories are all over that park.

Johnny, if there is a ball park in the afterlife, I honestly hope to see you there. And if I do, I suspect that you will be sitting in a folding chair, signing autographs and telling stories. Rest in peace, dear man. You are loved and missed.

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