Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Ever have one of those days?
I had one today. I won't bore you with the details but it started early and went late. I'm busting ass on my book, I'm burning out the Team Health Reports, and there's more B.S. in my life right now than at a West Texas feed lot. In fact, I haven't had much fun writing about baseball since the Winter Meetings.
It's probably just one of those phases, partially from really not enjoying the topic I've spent a good 3/4 of my time. Add in the rest of the drama and it's really worn me down.
So about nine o'clock tonight, I'm trying to salvage the steak I cooked and readying to watch "The Apprentice" when my boy Alex Belth gives me a ring. Alex is one of those guys that just has this infectious voice and enthusiasm, instantly pulling you into the conversation. We talked about our respective book projects, life, music and by the end of the conversation, I had this image in my head -
It's New Orleans, late 2003. The Winter Meetings are going and Joe Sheehan and I are walking back from Riverwalk, where we had eaten lunch and heard about the J.D. Drew deal. The overcast sky, slight drizzle, and low moan of the barges on the Mississippi made it uniquely New Orleans, even without the omnipresent smell of molasses in the distance. Joe and I are walking back to the hotel and we see a guy, dressed in a yellow slicker and old-school, earcup headphones be-boping in front of the hotel. It's Alex.
I turn to Joe, having met Alex just the day before after corresponding for nearly a year. "Dude marches to the beat of his own drummer," I said, smiling.
Joe looks back. He knows what I mean perhaps better than I do, the kismet of these two New Yorkers almost palpable. "Dude's got his own band." Leave it to Joe to turn the right phrase. Leave it to Alex to hear that music.
Alex called at just the right time for me tonight, the mark of a true friend. He let me hear a little snippet of that band he has going. Dance on, Alex. Dance on and don't mind me if my feet start moving.
Alex - and a lot of friends, including many of you - remind me why I do this. God, I love this game and I love the people and talking with them about everything. Baseball gives us a common language and a means to start a conversation that just might never end, going all night and into the stars.
Keep reminding me, friends. You never know when I'll need it.
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