MLBlog’s first ever support group gathering

Day 22

 

As you know we are gathered here for one of our fellow bloggers Kaybee to help her through the tremendous loss of Trevor Hoffman.
hands.jpg

Today as we are gathered around in this circle we are each going to express some type of loss in our sports history and relay that to you Kaybee. It’s ok to use feeling words like “scared, angry, betrayed, Scott Boras sucks, or alone,” in your descriptions and to help poor Kaybee through this rough time.

support-group.jpgI will start first today and then we can go around the circle and hear from each of you gathered. Thank you all for coming. Please put on your name tags.

My name is Tom and Kaybee I’d like to talk about one of the first losses I suffered. He’s a little before your time but he was a character and I was dissapointed when he was traded from the Mets. His name was Lenny Dykstra. Lenny D used to spit so much chew in the outfield he would kill the grass. I believe other players used to call it the tar-pit. Opposing teams would be angry and disgusted at the tar pit and no one player would stand near it or hate to run through it if they could avoid it. He helped the magical Mets win the series in ’86 and I loved that guy.


lenny d.jpgThen it happened. In 1989 he was traded to division rivals Philadelphia Phillies. I couldn’t believe this guy was in center field wearing anything other than a Mets jersey. I instantly disliked him at first. Didn’t watch a game he was playing and soon I heard he was leaving the tar-pit in Philly’s center field too so I laughed. Eventually I got over it, but for so long everytime I would see him in center, I would still see that crazy Met. sniffle sniffle. Recently I heard he was being investigated for being a stock scammer. Silly Lenny still up to his antics. (gently whiping my nose with a hankie)

Excuse me miss. Miss. Yes you reading the book Confessions of a She Fan would you like to go next? Miss..Jane?

 Kaybee, it’s so very hard to let go. I know. I’ve been there. And I didn’t just lose a player; I lost a manager when Joe Torre went to the Dodgers after 12 years with the Yankees. Twelve years! I still have a hard time seeing him in that other uniform. But it’s a process.
joe torre.jpg
First, there’s shock (“OMG, he’s really gone!”). Then, there’s anger (“I can’t believe the front office let him leave!”). Then, there’s grief (“I hate life”). But time does heal. And before you know it, a new member of the Padres will win your heart. You’ll see. Take it from me. I’m not saying I love Joe Girardi. I’m just saying I’m giving him a chance to win me over. Here Jane take this box of tissues, it’s alright. Yes, yes of course you can take a bathroom break.

Next, who have we here? You two ladies in the all red attire-this is not  Fenway but who would like to go first. Yes, mamm yes I know they are showing the Red Sox on MLB network today but we are here for Kaybee. Please tell us your story Miss Julia.

Hi. My name is Julia Fitzgerald and I have a problem. I still have trouble when I think about the fact that Kevin Millar is no longer playing for the Red Sox.  He was a member of our team during the 2004 World Series run – our first one in 86 years!  He was a founding member of the idiots and cowboys squad and I still have my Cowboy Up t-shirt – the rallying cry that he came up with during the 2003 playoffs.
kevin millar.jpg 
Millar was an above average player – he played first base (and okay, MAYBE I like Youk a little better there!) but what I really miss is his attitude.  His antics.  His playfulness!  Do you know what he said when the Red Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS?  (After the game when we lost 19-8 to the Yankees!)  He told everyone who would listen -” Don’t let us win tonight. This is a big game. They’ve got to win because if we win, we’ve got Pedro coming back in Game 5 and Schilling in 6, and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.”  HE CHALLENGED THE YANKEES TO A THROW DOWN when everyone else had written us off.  And what happened – we won!  And then when does he do before game 6 in New York??  He tries to get all his teammates to take a shot of whiskey before the game!  To loosen them up!  He always played by his own rules – but you know what?  He had the skills to back up his antics.  And you all know what happened in 2004 – we WON the World Series! 
 
My Cowboy & Idiot helped to inspire our rag-tag bunch of players to actually WIN THE WORLD SERIES!  And then what do we do after the 2005 season??? WE TRADED HIM TO BALTIMORE!!  Okay – I mean Baltimore is better then the Yankees, but Baltimore??  I had to see him come back and play in my beloved Fenway wearing another teams uniform!  He still had the same quirky smile.  The same blond hair, that, regardless of the length you wanted to run your hands through it.  Every time I saw him I had to ask – how could we have traded him?  I mean his numbers really were good – 2007 was the first year since 2000 that he hit under .270!  He could have been hitting that for us!  Surely we could have found another role for him when the Red Sox brought Youk up from the minors.  He could have been that guy on the bench that we brought in when we needed infield help; when we needed that bat!  He would have been there to keep everyone laughing and loose and ready to play.  Laughing all the way to another trophy!  And help us he did – because, get this!  When we found ourselves down 3-1 to Cleveland in the 2007 ALCS the Sox brass had to call in all the big guns!  And who threw out the first pitch in game 7 of the series after the Red Sox had tied Cleveland 3-3 in the series??  KEVIN MILLAR! 
 
It is the FIRST time in MLB history that a player on the active roster of one team threw out the first pitch for another MLB team!  And why??  BECAUSE WE NEEDED HIM!  Terry Francona admitted he had no idea how Theo pulled off getting Millar there at the game – but he was sure that Millar would bring down the house!  And he did!  The fans LOVED him – we were all so glad to see him back in Boston.  #15 was home.  If only he had been wearing a Red Sox jersey.  I know that I am happy, delighted even!, when I see Youk run out each night to first base.  But there is this little voice inside of me – that at times rears its ugly head – and I hear it say – “Bring my Cowboy back!”  I know – I have to be a big girl and accept the fact that he is gone, never to return – but I can dream can’t I?  Cowboy up!
 
Thank you Julia that was very inspiring. What’s that? No I don’t believe Miss Heller should take off her Yankee hat with the sparkles. She gets enough attention for that on the rough streets of Santa Barbara. This place is a safe haven. Let’s move on.
I suppose it may be a bit much to finish off the Boston cheering section we have here in the room but let’s have you speak Miss. Elizabeth.
 
It was December 21, 2005, I was in seventh grade and absolutely in love with Johnny Damon. I loved his hair, I loved his beard, he may have been an idiot but he was my idiot! He was truly a Red Sox player, he was one of those guys I couldn’t imagine in another uniform. I thought he would never go to the Yankees! But on that day, when I heard the news… I was in absolute shock.
johhnyd.jpgIt was just a horrible feeling because he really embodied everything I thought of a Red Sox player. It wasn’t just seeing him leave, it was seeing him to go the Yankees. I was in shock, and inconsolable for days. I still miss him a lot, and it hurts when I see him in another uniform, but whenever I see those World Series highlights, and remember that time when I called his grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, I remember all the good times I had watching him. So even though he is on another team now, the complete opposite of the Red Sox nonetheless, I’ve been able to move on, and I know will too.
 
So Kaybee, the best thing you can possibly do is just remember all the good times you had with him, even if it does hurt a little bit. And since he’s not on your “arch nemesis”, you can give him a big standing ovation the next time you see him pitch! Kaybee, we’ll always be here for you!!
 
Thank you Elizabeth, let it out. There there. No Julia, is it not ok if she whipes her nose on Jane’s hat. Again, let’s proceed.
You mamm, are you taking notes? Yes, I understand you are a sports psychologist but this is neither the time nor the place for psycho-analyzing of your support group members. Emily please tell us your story.
 
In high school, I was absolutely obsessed with the Colorado Avalanche and all things hockey. It was probably near my obsession with baseball, so much so, I had, at one point, considered getting a hockey tattoo. Oh man, what a terrible idea that would have been, not that my other ideas are any more reasonable…
 
Anyway, my heart had a special place for Steven Reinprecht and Chris Drury, who were on the same line together and it was the freaking best line. Both of them were incredibly phenomenal players. I will never forget, I was watching my high school soccer team play… someone, I don’t remember who, and my mom called me and was like, “Chris Drury was just traded.” My best friend, who also loved the Avs (and especially Drury), and I were like “WHAT?!” My mom really doesn’t know anything about sports, so she had no idea what team he was traded to, but my roommate almost cried. When I think about it, it’s probably one of the worst trades in the history of trades, considering Drury is now the captain of the New York Rangers and the epitome of a clutch player.
 
chris d.jpgAnyway, a season later, I’m on the computer getting ready to surf the Avalanche site, and what do I see? Steven Reinprecht has just been traded too. GAAAAAAHHH!!! WHY?!?! Why must life be so awful?!?! Why does Pierre Lacroix hate me so much?!?! Anyway, I was quite dramatic and then I got tears in my eyes and was like, “no, no, don’t cry, just breathe.” I probably went through all the stages of grief… well, mock-type grief, I don’t know if I could call it real grief because… well, ya know, nobody died, they were traded, so… I guess that’s a bonus. Yeah… I would probably say it was better to be traded than to die. Anyway, if I remember correctly, I think my mom told me, “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” and I was like, “mom… you just don’t understand.” So, while all loves are different, if you need a shoulder to cry on, I understand. 
 
Emily that’s a great outlook and good story. I’m sure Kaybee understands. Thank you.
Alright who’s next? Ah, yes Miss Jenn. No you may not tell a Chicago Cubs joke. I think we all know 100-years of losing is tradition in the wrong direction. Please proceed.

 

Hi, my name is Jen. And I’ve lost someone. In 2005, my love, AJ Pierzynski, came from the Giants to the White Sox. I was so happy. Once he got there, a trio was born. AJ, Joe Crede, and Aaron Rowand formed what was known as the Three Stooges in Chicago. They formed
such a close bond with each other…it was almost like they were brothers. Oh I loved watching these three goof around with each other. And they played with such heart. It was so fantastic. Through the postseason, they celebrated with each other almost
immediately. There are a lot of pictures of the three of them together, celebrating their championship. They even got Steve Perry of Journey to come out to the postseason games after adopting “Don’t Stop Believing” as the 2005 postseason anthem! How awesome is that!

Then November 23, 2005 came. THEY TOOK MY AARON! They sent him to Philly with a couple minor leaguers for Jim Thome and some money. THEY TOOK AWAY MY AARON! Oh my God I cried. Could someone please pass me some tissues? Thank you. Aaron was the most amazing center fielder who started his career here, diving in the most ridiculous
directions to catch balls, running into the outfield fence on numerous occasions. And to add to my hurting heart, Aaron is a beautiful man. They took my beautiful hard-nosed center fielder away from me, and my trio became a duo. I need more tissues please. Thank you again.
joe crede.jpg I didn’t think my hurt could get worse. Oh but it did. On October 30, 2008, my heart broke again. Joe Crede filed for free agency. MY DUO IS NOW ONLY AJ! Joe spent his entire career with the White Sox. That’s eight whole years for my Late-Inning Joe. And now he’s gone because his agent is the devil. He was my Superman, completely laying out to make catches at third. May I have some more tissues? Thank you. He hit home runs when it counted, hence the Late-Inning nickname, his last homer as a White Sox on my birthday when I was at the game. JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOE!!!!!!!!!!!!! And now he’s gone.

Oh Kaybee, I know your hurt. I’m here for you. I’m here. I will cry with you because I’ve cried before. I miss Aaron, and I’ll miss Joe. I can watch them elsewhere, but it’s not right. They’re not White Sox anymore. The same holds true with your Trevor. I’m here for you with tissues. We’re all here for you with tissues, love, and support.

Well, uhh. Thank you Jen. I hope nobody else has to use tissues as Jen has used up the rest of the box. Oh, well,  that’s very nice of you Jen. She has offered the use if anyone has to blow their nose they can use a Cubs rag she carries around for just that duty.

Mamm, yes you with the Padres hat on. Is this helping you as well? Would you like to share? Thank you Miss Hyun Young.

Kaybee, as an exact Padres fan like you, seeing Trevor Hoffman leave San Diego was the worst thing that has happened to me. I am just as upset as you are but it was time to move on.. Still can’t believe it, right? Gosh, the pathetic front office! Anyways, I couldn’t let go of it either. He has been closing for us since 1993. That’s almost 16 years. IT’S A REALLY LONG TIME. He shared laughs, moments, and histories here, in San Diego. Trevor Hoffman is going to the Hall Of Fame, as Padre. Sure he’s in Milwaukee now, but he will be our Padre, all-time saves leader, in our eyes forever. Cheer up! I know it’s still hard for you but let’s look on the bright side. He is going to be great with the Brewers and just picture him in HOF as a Padre!

That’s the spirit Hyun Young!

How about you two gentleman in the back? You have been very quiet would either one of you like to speak? No sir, I do not know what time it is in Canada right now. No I don’t believe it is hammer time or beer-thirty either. How about you speak Mr. Homer?

At the conclusion of the 2005 season the Blue Jays traded Orlando Hudson to the Diamondbacks for Troy Glaus (which later turned into Scott Rolen).  ‘The O-Dog’ was one my favorite players because of the intensity, joy and team building traits he brought to the field.

orlando hudson.jpg  You could tell the guy was a great teammate, always celebrating a win, joking with other players and really getting into the competitive aspects of the game (at least in his interviews it showed that).   The Jays lacked hitting in those years, so we picked up Glaus.  Nagged by injuries, Troy didn’t perform the way we expected him to.  Through this time, I got to watch ‘the O-Dog’ hit close to .300 every year for the D-Backs, and make the ‘highlight reel’ defensive plays at second base always see him do on a consistant basis.  Now that Hudson is a free agent, the Jays don’t really have a need for him unless Aaron Hill falters.  It was hard to let go of the O-Dog, but you often have to try and give something to get something.  It didn’t really work out well for the Jays in this case.  I would have rather we kept Hudson and had Aaron Hill compete at his natural position of shortstop.  ‘Hindsight is always 20-20 however.’

Very precise and I can see you are hurting. Cough Cough..

Ok. You sir in the bright yellow shirt. You seem very festive and in an upbeat mood and the perfect person to finish off our support group today. Mr. Happy is it? What would you like to say to Kaybee?

 

Jaha and Yohanek (not exactly a law firm) have met several times over the years, with each meeting solidifying a relationship that has gone a bit beyond that of the traditional fan/athlete.

 

 

Mr Yohanek,we can hear you just fine but thank you for your exuberance. Please continue..preferably in a softer tone.

Every boy growing up as a baseball fan dreams of making it to the big leagues.  The reality is that few will ever reach that plateau.  Collecting John Jaha memorabilia is the closest I will ever come to that dream, and that is very special to me.  It is truly a wonderful feeling holding something in your hand that was worn in a game by a professional athlete.

john jaha.jpgHomage was paid to the player (John Jaha) by my Wisconsin license plate…JAHA FAN…this shows everybody that I am a John Jaha fan and proud of it.  My devotion to him as a player and as a person is unparalleled.

I’ve met Jaha on numerous occasions.  He used to recognize me in a crowd.  That recognition means a lot to me and shows that John appreciates his fans and that a little of the devotion I have shown him over the years is being delivered back to me. 

One particular meeting between him and I stands out.  It was in 1998, Jaha’s last season with the Brewers.  It was near the end of the season and he was trying to bounce back from a bad ankle injury.  Injuries had plagued him much of that season and it was hindering his confidence.  I approached J.J. before a game and asked, “How are you doing Johnny?”  His reply was, “I’m fine, but they just don’t want me anymore.”  I stood there for a moment speechless, trying to make sense of what was happening.  My favorite ballplayer had just told me his team had lost confidence in his playing ability.

I then gave him a pep talk…I told him that he should keep his head up and that he would get back to where he was a few years before. 

That was the last time I saw Jaha as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

A few weeks later, it became official when the Brewers declined to offer Jaha a contract for the 1999 season and he became a free agent.  The Brewers felt his injury problems were too much of a gamble and that it wasn’t worth the risk.

Six months later, the Oakland A’s signed Jaha to a one-year contract. 
Jaha went on to have the best season of his career by winning Comeback Player of the Year honors-hitting .276 with 35 home runs (career high) and 111 Runs Batted In. 

Jaha got the last laugh…


Moral of the story:
  Even when you know someone close to you is leaving-support them in their future endeavors and wish them great success.  In this case of John Jaha, it was the Milwaukee Brewers who decided they didn’t want him, not Jaha.  He wanted to stay in Milwaukee.

Here’s to Trevor Hoffman getting 600 saves in a Brewers uniform!
Cheer him on!

WEll, thank you “Happy” aka Nick Yohanek for that spirited tale of loss and redemption. Very moving.

Thank you all for coming today. No for heavens sake Julia, Jane does not have to be the last person to leave the room because she has on a Yankee cap. Next session we will tackle rivalries and destroying lives when you can’t let go. And no there will be neither Yankee nor Sox gear worn in the room! That concludes the first ever MLBlog’s support group and Kaybee hoping it helped!

If anyone else has a story they would like to share with Kaybee and the “group” please do.

 

Programming note: Tomorrow will bring another Timeout at the plate where we look to the tropics for some northern baseball love.

 

 
 
 
 

 

19 Comments

Tom & Jane – I am SO sorry for being so rude at the group meeting today. And you were both so nice, not making comments about how pink hat wearing ladies aren’t real sports fans! Jane – I promise I’ll speak up nice & loud when I go to pick up your book! And I will leave my Red Sox hat home next time. I’ll bring my Celtics one instead. Kaybee – I hope we helped you today! Oh and Tom, the cookies after the meeting were tasty!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Well thank you Julia, I love nothing more than baking fresh baked cookies. Your story was moving and in life we must all Cowboy Up once in awhile!
tom

Tom, I think you should get your degree as a psychiatric social worker. You moderated the session with skill and sensitivity, and nobody had a meltdown. Good job!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Thanks Jane. We had to support Kaybee today and that was the overwhelming spirit of the group. I’m still emotionally shaken by everything said. Excuse me while I take a bathroom break. Maybe you should also think about getting a Don Zim style military hat with your sparkly Yankee logo. Just sayin.
-tom

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

That was amazing! I feel so much better than I did before I read this. You guys are the best support group ever! Wow, I would ask for tissues, but it looks like they are all gone. This is so cool! I was on the front page of MLBLOGS and I saw Tom’s blog on the top of the list of recent activity, so I just clicked on it. My first reaction was laughter. I was laughing so hard because you guys have been talking about getting me a support group and then you actually did it! And then I was still laughing with all the things in between. Sounds like it was a great session! Then I went back and read it again, and your stories and concern just touched me. THANK YOU!!!! This was just what I needed! I can’t say I won’t be doing any more tributes to Trevor, but I certainly feel a lot better about him leaving. You guys are amazing!!! Oh, man. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate this!! Thank you so much Tom, Jane, Julia, Elizabeth, Emily, Jen, Hyun Young, Homer, and Happy!! It really made my day. I know exactly how you all feel about losing you favorite player (duh!). But your stories really touched me, and they sound so much like mine! Again, THANK YOU!!!!! Go Trevor!!

http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Glad it helped Kaybee. With all the odes to Trevor you have been cranking out I thought maybe we should organize. This support group is here for you. Understand the next step is an intervention. So be aware, you have help as long as you need it!
tom

Oh and Jen has that Cubs rag she offered to the group. I’m sure she has many more so feel free to take her up on the offer.
tom

That one was for the O-Dog. This one is for all the fallen homies from other teams. Hoffman, John Jaha, Aaron Rowand, Johnny Damon etc…
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Glad we could help Kaybee! It was great that you did this Tommy! God those stories are tough to read. Front management can be so difficult, as well as the players and their agents. It’s heartbreaking to see people go.
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Fallen homies indeed J- poor it out brotha. Great participation in the group today.

Yes Elizabeth but others come to replace and we try to love them the same way.

-tom

More cookies, Tom, more cookies! I love cookies. :) Sorry for using all the tissues, guys. I do have those Cubs rags if you REALLY need them. Please burn them when through. Hahahaha! I’m kidding…or am I? :) Aaron and Joe are my favorites after AJ, as you might have noticed. Glad we could help you, Kaybee! (And yay for a new timeout…I LOVE those!)
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Sorry to be taking notes, the psychology nerd in me can’t help it. But I’m glad that we could all understand each other. And thank you Tom for being such a first rate mediator. I definitely agree with Jane that you should probably do this professionally.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Tom – congrats! You’re #17 on the Latest Leaders List!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Jen- I can only do so much, work with me here. I lead the support group and bake cookies. It takes a toll :)

Emily- I did work in a social setting and maybe I could be a group moderator if I wanted to, but I think I’ll try the whole writing thing again and if it doesn’t work out…ya know :)

Julia- Ha, 17 I’ll have to be creative with that one. Congrats on being numero quattro again!
-tom

Congrats on #17, Tom. I’ll bake cookies next time, and you run the meeting. Unless it’s my intervention. Then you’re on your own with the cookies. :)
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Tom…that was excellent. I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it to the session. I was afraid that such an open dialogue would unleash the repressed grief I have over Aaron Miles being a Cub. I’m hoping he’ll shave, so I don’t recognize him next year. That somewhat worked for Damon.

Hang in there, Kaybee!
-Kathy

http://redbirdchatter.mlblogs.com

I’m really glad this worked out great! Kaybee was really, really happy to hear that. Hopefully, we can have more support groups. And congrats on making #17!
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Hey, Tom …

“Congratulations” on your #17 ranking on the latest “Leader’s List” !!! … I look forward to your dedication in honor of your #17 ranking !!! … Great support for Kaybee, as its not easy when your favorite players are traded away or sign with other teams … My biggest disappointment was when my favorite player, Bobby Murcer, was traded away to the SF Giants for “Bobby” Bonds at the end of the 1974 season … But, after playing for the Giants and then the Cubs for a few years, Murcer was brought back to the Yankees in 1979, and played a few more years on the team until George Steinbrenner asked Bobby if he would retire and become part of the Yankees broadcasting team to make room on the roster for a new rookie, Don Mattingly … Murcer said it took him about a minute to say “yes” to Mr. Steinbrenner, and that stated Bobby Murcer’s second career as a broadcaster !!! … Bobby continued in the Yankees broadcast booth for about 20 years, carrying on the great Yankee tradition with Phil Rizzuto, and after Rizzuto retired … Bobby Murcer passed away in the middle of last year after a long courageous battle against cancer … Through the years, Bobby Murcer brought much joy to all Yankee fans [as a player] and then, as a Yankees broadcaster, and is greatly missed by all Yankee fans; but, we all had the pleasure of Bobby being part of the Yankees family for about 40 years !!! … So, maybe, this will also be the case with Trevor Hoffman — he will return to the Padres at some point in the future [maybe another year in the bullpen, and, or, maybe as part of the Padres broadcasting team], and Kaybee, and all Padre fans will experience the joy of having Hoffman part of their family once again !!! … Nice Post, Tom !!! … Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L” http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

wow…that’s all I can say…wow..a well thought out and meaningful….wow.

http://cobf.mlblogs.com

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