Thursday, October 12, 2006


Just before 3 p.m. yesterday a plane crashed into a condo on East 72nd Street in New York City, conjuring up images of the horrific attack on the city five years ago. This time it was different. It wasn't a terrorist organization attacking the USA. It wasn't an action planned to hurt a single American. It was a case of a small plane flying off course and, with the worst possible result, colliding with a building. All the technology in the world couldn't have stopped it from happening.

The pilot of the plane was a pitcher for the New York Yankees, Cory Lidle. I remember seeing Lidle pitch when he was a Blue Jay, and often jeering at bad decision and earned runs or whatnot by the man. That's what you do when it comes to sports. You cheer the people you like. You jeer the people you don't. You sit back and claim that you could do better, even though you can't last five minutes on a treadmill or break 70 mph on a fastball that throws your arm out.

And then, something like this happens.

As an avid fan of almost any sport, I'm guiltier than most in verbally abusing players which I'll never meet. Players who will never know what I have to say about them and their performance. I rarely think twice about doing it, because I'm a fan and as a fan I feel I have a right to voice my opinion. After all, it's a game, not real life.

And then, it gets real.

Lidle leaves behind his wife, Melanie and a six-year old son, Christopher. The fact that he was 82-72 with a 4.57 ERA over nine major league seasons, with seven organizations, doesn't matter to them. What matters to them is that Lidle was a good husband and a good father.

And then, finally, it matter to us all. As it should have from the start.

I think that Rick Peterson, the pitching coach for the New York Mets (and a former coach of Lidle's) summed it up better than anyone could possibly have. When interviewed by ESPN, he said "I think it just goes to show how insignificant some of the things that we think are significant really are. We're about to play a baseball game, and how important is that, really?"

Those words go well beyond baseball.

Truer words are rarely spoken.

No comments: