Last night's Major League Baseball All Star Game was thrilling! I will always love this game because I had a chance to experience the festivities a few years back in San Francisco.
The MLB All Star Game is preceded by the home run derby. If you get a thrill from mosh pits you must take in this event. My wife and I stood in the left field bleachers as Vladamir Guerrero launched hit after hit into our section. People spilled beer on one another, stood arm and arm on their seats, and eventually fell head first into concrete to grab a souvenir. After our section had stumbled over each other three or four homers in a row I stood on my seat and yelled freedom because the experience was so invigorating. I looked down at my wife and she was sitting in her seat crying (she stands 5ft and weighs 100 pounds). I grabbed her up on the seat with me and made her enjoy the madness....at some point I think she understood the chaos.
The day of the All Star Game I woke up, threw on my causal game going gear and boarded a train to my friend Frank Wolf's funeral. The excitement of the game mired in the tragic and untimely death of my true friend and a lover of life. Ryder Kuhl mad dogged me from his car seat as his dad picked me up from the train and we headed to the church. The harsh looks continued through the day as my Fred Perry and Vans were not in keeping with the exquisite dress of the occasion....Frank would have understood. As the pall bearers put Frank's body into the car that would take him to his final resting place, my friend Chris Clinch temporarily lost it. He was overcome by emotion and a feeling of loneliness having lost another close friend. My friend's unadulterated fear and sadness made me cry and I too felt completely alone...I wish I could have hugged him in that moment. Just as my fear grew Dave Lincoln appeared out of nowhere, put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a humble smile. I respected him tremendously for being kind enough to offer me his hand and for being respectful enough not the say anything in that moment. He guided me back to the car and I boarded the train back into San Francisco.
As I got off the train I wondered how I could bring myself celebrate after such a somber event. Immediately my wife rushed up to me and grabbed my hand as if we were headed into Disneyland. She escorted me to a private party where Counting Crows were playing by the Bay, bought a beer that was bigger than her head and trotted to the front row to dance the afternoon away. This effort was not in disrespect of her friend Frank but in tribute to him. The wise young lady helped me once again understand that as we transcend this place our memories are carried in celebration not pity. As I watched the love of my life dance I thought how fortunate I am to have the love of the family I have created, how much I regretted that Frank would not get the chance to experience such a thing and how grateful I was that he did not leave a wife or children behind. The music carried into the sunset, "these lines of lightening mean we're never alone."
The great Steve Fanelli got us perfect seats behind home plate. We heard applause for the misunderstood Barry Bonds and watched Ichiro Suzuki hit an inside the park home run. I looked into heaven to my friend Frank Wolf.
We walked back to our hotel to put our heads down before returning to the reality of parenting, work and life in the hustle.
I will never forget the cheers and songs I heard. Baseball gives us all hope. We see the strength in the mighty men on the field and it helps us feel strong: when the market slumps, when our relationships are challenged and when we lose a friend!
Don't Forget to Remember!