DEATHS IN THE EXTENDED FAMILY
No, this is not a Di-Jest article today and I have no aspirations to make you laugh. I was working on a piece that will go up in a few days but today has been too sad for that kind of stuff.
The day (Thursday) got off to a bad, but not unexpected start. My son and daughter-in-law live in Philadelphia with my granddaughter Aurora. Since around the time of their wedding seven years ago they had a cute scamp of a cockapoo dog named Henry.
It was discovered some months ago that Henry had serious liver issues and that he was not going to live a long normal dog's life. Things worsened to the point that they had to put the animal to sleep. I know and they know that it was "just a dog." But really he was a big part of their lives and I always enjoyed playing with him when they visited here or my wife and I went down to Philly. He'll be missed.
And then later in the same day my sadness became compounded when we learned of the passing of Ralph Kiner.
Having been a Mets fan since their very inception I was watching on TV when the broadcast team of Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, and Ralph introduced themselves during a few spring training telecasts in 1962. I might have heard of Lindsey Nelson before that. I never had heard of Murph but even at age 13 I knew of Ralph Kiner. And the unfilled in blanks were filled in by my father who could attest to what a ferocious home run hitter Kiner had been in an injury-shortened career.
I won't use hyperbole. Ralph wasn't the best broadcaster I ever heard. He wasn't the most knowledgeable color-man. What he was was totally genuine. We see and hear so many phonies in and around sports, in politics, in the media, that when someone is exactly what he purports to be it is refreshing and reassuring.
Ralph was funny - sometimes on purpose, often by accident. He clearly was a person who knew his stuff. His stories are legend and I wonder how many more he had to hold back because they pertained to subjects one doesn't reveal on TV.
The most we can ask of life is to have a long, successful life filled with friends, family, and respect. Ralph had all that.
I imagine that nearly no one reading this ever met or shook his hand yet who among Mets fans can deny that he was a tiny part of us?
Ralph will be missed. And if he needs a pet in the after world I hope he meets up with Henry.