Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kirby Puckett dead at 45

I thought I didn't care about baseball anymore. And, about baseball *today*, I'm not sure that I do. But I just woke up, couldn't sleep, came in to look at the computer and saw about Kirby Puckett -- and my heart just sank. He was a beautiful player, a joy to watch. Well I remember. Hey - when did I ever watch the Minnesota Twins, for pete's sake? -- Oh, yeah, in the mid-to-late-'80's I would often watch Rangers games, and always when they played really good teams like the (heh) Twins or (heh-heh) Royals. And I watched the playoffs and the World Series no matter who was in it. I'd totally forgotten that. And there were good, talented, interesting, beautiful players from those days, but Kirby Puckett was all of that and more. He obviously had some natural talent and grace, and a strong work ethic. When he hit the ball, he was full of energy; his swing followed through and he ran out every ball that I remember. And (being a girl - we don't remember these baseball things quite as obsessively as boys do) I couldn't quite remember for a moment - was he a right- or left-fielder? Then I remembered: Duh! He was a center-fielder! But he covered his territory so well and thoroughly, and kept his mind in the game and his eye on the ball, that he would often be right at the edge of his territory, the ball coming down, and the other guy just puffing into view (and it's not a patch off the other fielders to say this). He was the kind of player people like George Will have in mind when they go on about grace and beauty in the game -- and the Wills are quite right in a technical sense, but even if Joe in the Grandstand don't know much of what George is on about, he knew there was something about a guy like Kirby. I understand he had another side at home, and this morning I pray for his soul, and I pray for his family and loved ones, but I also thank God for him, and for the great joy he expressed about and through our beloved game, and the wonderful experiences I and millions of others enjoyed just watching him play.

Do they still make players like Kirby Puckett anymore?

God rest him.

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Blogger Suldog said...

A marvelous ballplayer. What a shock to have heard about the stroke and the death so quickly in succession, for such a young man. I think everybody who ever played weekend softball or even weeknight softball (both for me) had a special place in his/her heart for Kirby. He looked as though he might have been a refugee from a softball team who somehow made it to the big time! He's playing ball with many other greats now, God love him.

3/07/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Meg Q said...

Jim - word.

3/07/2006 05:26:00 PM  

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