I apologize to regular readers for my Joel Zumaya-like track record of comebacks and delays in regards to writing about baseball. After several years of this, it still feels weird to me that other people actually enjoy my idiotic ramblings. So thank you. But my recent personal rough patch just got taken to another level with the shocking death the other day of one of my best friends in the world.
Look for this site to pick back up around Spring Training. I wanted to give those of you that check here daily a heads up. I just don’t have it in me right now to do this for a while. Thank you and I’ll see you in a couple months.
The following is for me. Read on, if you want. But I understand if you don’t. I just feel the need to put these thoughts out there for my own peace of mind. I need to pay tribute to a friend. Jerks have hearts too, you know.
A good buddy of mine likes to refer to me as “an acquired taste”. I tend to come off cranky and mean oftentimes, I guess. Thus, while I’m happy to have so many good people as friends in my life, there are only a very small handful of them that I really consider close to me. I could probably count them on one hand and still have fingers left to both scratch my ass and flip off a White Sox fan with. My friend Tyna, pictured above with goofball ‘ol me at a game last season, was one of those few folks.
We became fast friends through work around fifteen years ago. Over that time, we were housemates for a couple years and I don’t remember us getting into one fight in the entire time we knew each other. We became so close that she could tell how near I was to laundry day just based on whatever I was wearing on any particular afternoon. We knew what the other was thinking without saying a word. As an only child, she became the closest thing I’ve ever known to a having a sister.
She shared my love of baseball and took particular glee in trying to get me to laugh all the time. I don’t really laugh easily and Tyna was one that was always trying to crack me. My explanation to her that she wasn’t very funny just made her try harder. And when she was successful, she’d celebrate like an NFL wide receiver scoring a touchdown while I would pretend to be mad and call her names. In reality, she was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known and we shared a similar twisted sense of humor. We did not, however, share her weird infatuation with former gigantic MLB first baseman Richie Sexson that I never quite understood.
She also loved to mock me for being color blind and that my outfits often didn’t match. We sometimes had a stupid voice that we’d talk to each other in that made others just shake their head. I can think of half a dozen odd inside jokes off the top of my head that we shared. Yet I can’t think of one that I share with anyone else.
In recent years, we didn’t see each other as much due to a variety of reasons. But we talked usually at least once every week or two. She would tell me stories of the odd cast of characters in her life and I’d do the same with her. We’d exchange stupid texts all the time trying to make the other laugh. Her being only two months older than me, I looked forward to a long life of us being friends. Of our kids becoming friends. All that good stuff.
Then she died the other day. Out of the blue. Cardiac arrest leading to other complications. We still don’t know what caused it. All I know is my friend is gone. And it’s tearing me apart. I’ve never had a close friend pass away before. My heart goes out to those of you that have.
Her funeral is this Thursday and I’m going to be one of the pall bearers. I’m honored that her family asked me to do so. If anyone reading this is the kind of person that likes to send out prayers or kind thoughts, focus them on those poor people in her family, not me. Tyna’s mom died just three months ago. Her father and sister were still learning to deal with their grief over that when this tragedy happened. This is all breaking my heart, not only due to my closeness with her, but because they are such good people and don’t deserve this. Neither do her beautiful four year old son or her boyfriend, who like me, doesn’t seem to own a piece of clothing without an Old English D on it. Life is a motherfucker sometimes. No one deserves this.
Thank you for being in my life, Tyna. You brought it more joy than you ever knew. I’m a better person for knowing you, as well. I’ll love you and cherish your memory until the day I die. And I promise to try and wear matching clothes to your funeral. Granted, I’ll probably fail without you to correct me and call me a dipshit afterwards.
Anyone still reading this, please do me a favor. It’s going to be cheesy, but help a brother out. Think of someone in your life that you really care about. Now go find that person in the next day or two, give them a big hug, and tell them you love them. Because they could be taken away from you in an instant. And when they ask what that was all about, tell them “Fuck you, that’s why.”
This way, I’ll have an inside joke with the lot of you now. I think Tyna would get a kick out of that.
Take care of yourselves. Seeya in the Spring.