I Loved This Man
I couldn’t be more excited about the World Baseball Classic. Baseball finally has a true World Series. I’m eagerly anticipating today’s game between Mexico and the United States.
Yet as far as I can tell, I’m the only person in Kansas City who cares. Baseball is an afterthought here, and its popularity is waning in the rest of the country.
Given the state of baseball, it’s sadly appropriate that the game’s best ambassador of my generation, Kirby Puckett, died yesterday. While 40-year-olds Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds continue to rack up mind-boggling statistics superior to Puckett’s career numbers, they’re unpleasant men.
Puckett was different. Not only did the stubby man not look like a star athlete, he didn’t act like one either. The title of his autobiography was I Love This Game! The statement was immediately apparent to all who saw him play with unbridled joy for the Twins in their frequent games against the Royals.
Sure, I’ll cheer for the sullen Clemens and the bitter Bonds today. They’re great players. But I don’t like them. I loved Kirby Puckett.