Without going into my whole pseudo-sappy, Pee-Wee-esque 'luckiest boy in the world' schtick again, I have to say that in many, many ways, I'm blessed. I mean, my frickin' job is to write about baseball. They pay me money for this. I'm sitting at home in front of my big screen and Tivo typing on my laptop in my underwear. (Nice image, eh?) I went to Games Six and Seven of the NLCS for free. I'm pretty much just an arrogant guy with a bit of talent, some luck, and more balls than brains.
As I've often said, the best part of this job is the people I meet - both in real life and online. To me, somehow, online has become as 'real' as anything I have locally. One of my best friends is someone I didn't physically meet until this summer after years of chatting online. There are people that, if asked, I'd drop everything to help them ... without ever having met them. I probably wouldn't recognize Alex Belth if he passed me on the street. I have a mental image of some people that often turns out to be completely off-base and occasionally dead-on.
To head off this seemingly aimless ramble, all this comes down to how lucky I feel and how helpless I feel when confronted with a situation like what Christian Ruzich is dealing with. His house - his town, actually - is gone; wiped from the earth by the fires. As with the attacks or the war, knowing someone there makes it more than Dan Rather standing in front of a smoked out forest or a pile of contextless rubble. I met Christian last year and had him on my show and now write here by the grace of Ruz.
And as he rebuilds, I'm not sure what to do. I'm not wealthy enough to cut him a check for a new house and most of what he lost can't adequately be replaced. What he didn't lose - his family, his wife, his dogs - are what's most important. The peace of mind and spirit in his home are gone and nothing brings that back but the healing of time. I'm publicly flailing and if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. BP's donating some from our subscriptions to the Red Cross, which will not only help Ruz in some small way, but many of those who may not be as "lucky" as he was.
Over on his site, The Cub Reporter, the feeling of community is palpable. What he's built here, online, cannot be burned. There's not a fire big enough to take us all down. Maybe standing next to him, figuratively, is all I can do. Maybe, that's enough.